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Fisheries Protection.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 16 November 2005

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Ceisteanna (138, 139, 140)

Ciarán Cuffe

Ceist:

173 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the annual cost to the State of the provision of monitoring, inspection and enforcement of the fishery management system; the most recent estimated annual gross revenue of fish landed in ports here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34538/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

177 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the annual cost to the State of the provision of monitoring, inspection and enforcement of the fishery management system; the most recent estimated annual gross revenue of fish landed in ports here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34533/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 173 and 177 together.

The cost of providing the monitoring, inspection and enforcement of Ireland's sea fisheries management system is borne by both the Department of Defence and by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. The Department of Defence makes budgetary provision for the Naval Service and for the Air Corps, who in turn monitor and control fisheries. The Naval Service discharges a number of roles as a constituent part of the Defence Forces. Its primary task in peace time is to provide a fisheries protection service in accordance with the State's obligations as a member of the EU. In excess of 90% of the day to day activities of the service is devoted to this task at present.

The estimate of the total cost in 2004 of the Naval Service is approximately €97 million. The Air Corps also provides fishery protection services, the estimated total cost of such services in 2004 is €13 million. The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has a number of sea fishery officers and administrative personnel engaged in the inspection work related to fisheries conservation and food safety regulation. The inspection work in both areas is generally given equal time and attention. An adjustment to the total annual expenditure for this work to allow for this dual inspection function indicates that the total cost to the State for the provision of inspection and enforcement of fisheries was €2.1 million during 2004.

The costs above cover the cost of fisheries control in respect of all EU and third country fishing fleets in Ireland's 200 mile zone as well as the cost of participating in fisheries control programmes outside the 200 mile zone mandated by the European Commission. The requirement for comprehensive fisheries control in respect of all vessels in the Irish 200 mile zone is a mandatory obligation on the State under European law. The disproportionate burden which this imposes on the State relative to the size of the Irish fishing industry was recognised at the outset of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

The value of landings into Irish ports at first point of sale from Irish and non-Irish fishing vessels was approximately €198.2 million for 2004. Irish fishing vessels would also make significant landings in a number of other EU member states and third countries. The value of exports from Irish seafood companies during 2004 was in excess of €377 million. The value at final point of sale of seafood sold in Ireland or exported from Ireland is almost €700 million. It is estimated that there are up to 15,000 persons employed directly or indirectly in the seafood sector.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

174 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the new regulations for the National Salmon Commission; his views on introducing legislation to ban drift net fishing in view of a call by MEPs for such a ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34447/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The National Salmon Commission is a statutory body established to assist and advise me, as Minister with responsibility for the marine, in regard to the conservation, management, protection and development of the wild salmon and sea trout resource in Ireland. The salmon commission includes representatives of the commercial salmon fishing sector, the angling sector and other relevant stakeholders, and provides the primary forum in which the vital issues relating to salmon conservation can be considered. As such, I attach significant importance to the role of the commission in the management of this important natural resource.

Earlier this year, when setting the commercial salmon quotas for the 2005 season, I accepted the outgoing commission's recommendation and gave a firm commitment to fully align the exploitation of salmon, both at national and district levels, on the scientific advice by 2007. With this in mind, I have asked the new National Salmon Commission to advise me as to how best this alignment can be implemented and, in doing so, to propose how an objective balance between competing interests in the salmon fishery may be obtained within the framework of the conservation management mechanism as necessary.

To assist it in this task, I have provided specific terms of reference for the National Salmon Commission which are set out in the National Salmon Commission (Terms of Reference) Order 2005, S.I. No. 627 of 2005. While I am aware of calls for a ban on drift net salmon fishing in Ireland, the Deputy should be aware that the latest scientific advice available to me has not recommended an outright or immediate cessation of drift net fishing for salmon. Such a cessation is not regarded as necessary to protect the biological health of salmon at a national level as there remains an abundance of fish nationally and the scientists recognise that determining the balance of exploitation at this level between different fisheries is an administrative and political choice, to be taken having full regard not just for the biological perspective but also for the wider socioeconomic considerations. The scientific advice is clear, however, that the priority must be to align exploitation on the scientifically recommended conservation levels as quickly as possible. What is also certain is the Government's commitment to the scientific advice and to the adoption of the scientific recommendations on conservation limits by 2007.

I can assure the Deputy that I will examine carefully all recommendations, including those relevant to drift netting, made to me by the National Salmon Commission in this regard.

Question No. 175 answered with QuestionNo. 103.
Question No. 176 answered with QuestionNo. 148.
Question No. 177 answered with QuestionNo. 173.
Question No. 178 answered with QuestionNo. 121.
Question No. 179 answered with QuestionNo. 113.
Question No. 180 answered with QuestionNo. 139.
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