Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (14)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

14. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a breakdown of the number and location of fish counters in our rivers to count returning salmon; his views on whether there are adequate counters to provide scientific advice on fish returns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11505/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Fish counters are a component element of the assessment array in use by the independent Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon. In carrying out salmon stock assessments the Committee draws on a number of data sets including rod and commercial catch data, fish counters and catchment wide electro-fishing. Salmon stocks are assessed in the majority of rivers using salmon rod catch data. These data are used in conjunction with an angler exploitation rate to assess the total salmon stock. This assessment is then correlated with the salmon Conservation Limit which is the number of adult fish required to spawn and sustain a healthy population for each river. Any commercial salmon catch is also included in this calculation.

Fish counters are a component element of the assessment array in use by the Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon and are particularly useful in cases where rod or commercial data is not available. Of the rivers assessed for the 2014 season, fish counters were used on 31 to assess the upstream salmon run against the conservation limit and facilitate the Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon in formulating its advice for those particular rivers. I am advised that, given the availability of catch records on the majority of rivers, and other indices the number of fish counters in use is considered sufficient as a component within the array of methodologies available to the Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon. However the requirement for additional counters is continually reviewed, as it is recognised by all that counters provide additional granularity on the status of salmon stocks.

The following table lists the location of the counters. For other rivers, catchment wide electro-fishing is used to determine the abundance of juvenile salmon in a catchment as an indicator of adult salmon presence.

Location of Counters

River

Fishery District

16

Cashla

Connemara

1

Dee

Dundalk

17

Ballynahinch

Connemara

2

Fane

Dundalk

18

Owenglin

Ballinakill

3

Boyne

Drogheda

19

Dawros

Ballinakill

4

Liffey

Dublin

20

Culfin

Ballinakill

5

Slaney

Wexford

21

Erriff

Ballinakill

6

Bandon

Cork

22

Bunowen

Ballinakill

7

Kerry Blackwater

Kerry

23

Burrishoole

Bangor

8

Waterville

Kerry

24

Owenduff

Bangor

9

Maine

Kerry

25

Munhin

Bangor

10

Feale

Limerick

26

Owenmore

Bangor

11

Mulkear

Limerick

27

Ballisodare

Sligo

12

Shannon

Limerick

28

Erne

Ballyshannon

13

Dunkellin

Galway

29

Eany

Ballyshannon

14

Corrib

Galway

30

Eske

Ballyshannon

15

Boluisce

Galway

31

Clady

Letterkenny