Written Answers. - Fishing Schemes.

Brian O'Shea


244 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he is fully committed to a set-aside scheme for salmon fishermen on the Suir and Blackwater estuaries; the way in which he will finance the scheme; if he will require 100% participation for the scheme to be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20253/00]

Matching funding has been provided for a pilot scheme for the set-aside of salmon draft nets and a salmon trap on the Munster Blackwater. This scheme is being administered by the Southern Regional Fisheries Board in co-operation with the relevant stakeholders. The scheme is based on agreements by the holders of salmon fishing licences with the Southern Board not to exercise their rights to fish in exchange for monetary compensation.

In addition, discussions are taking place involving the Southern Board and all relevant stakeholders on a similar pilot set aside scheme for drift nets in the Suir and Blackwater estuaries. My Department has indicated that it is favourably disposed in principle towards such a pilot scheme. I understand that the southern board, the salmon licence holders and the other stakeholders hope to be in a position to present a fully developed and costed proposal for consideration by my Department prior to the commencement of the commercial fishing season 2001. A voluntary scheme, if agreed, will be considered for matching funding, having regard for all relevant criteria – including level of participation – and in consultation with the National Salmon Commission.