Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Ceisteanna (390)

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

390. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the progress made by Inland Fisheries Ireland in developing the tourism potential of our inland rivers and lakes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9691/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The functions of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) are the protection, management and conservation of the inland fisheries resource, which contribute directly to the development of the sector’s tourism potential. IFI actively promotes the potential of our inland fisheries resource, and on its establishment in 2010, set up a Business Development Division to further develop the potential of the inland fisheries sector with a special interest in promoting the tourism potential of the sector. IFI also works with Tourism Ireland to promote angling tourism.

The following promotional activities are undertaken by IFI on a routine basis:

- Daily updates to the www.fishinginireland.info website with the latest information for anglers. In 2012 80,000 referrals were made via the IFI website. Frequent updates to FACEBOOK and Twitter. FACEBOOK currently provides a reach to 750,000 individuals.

- Weekly publication and circulation of the IFI online magazine Angling Ezine in providing information on the best angling available in Ireland to a very wide group.

- Up to 15 Trade Shows are attended by IFI annually in Ireland, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and the US promoting Ireland as a prime angling tourism destination.

In addition, IFI has produced a number of new angling guides, maps and leaflets, reprinted a number of guides and produced high quality promotional material. The most recent of these published are:

- Mayo Game Angling Guide

- Sligo Game Angling Guide

- Boyne Valley Angling Guide

- Lough O’Flynn & River Suck Angling Guide

- South West Angling Guide

Guides are produced in hard copy and electronically and a number are available in French and or German. Staff in IFI support visiting angling journalists, up to 30 a year, in promoting the best of Irish angling through various articles and blogs in Irish, UK, European and US Press.

In 2012 IFI commissioned a major survey of recreational angling in Ireland. This important research focuses on domestic and overseas anglers, fish species of interest, estimates of expenditure and other data with a view to improving the quality of angling and to benchmark the Irish angling experience against competitor destinations.

In addition IFI will shortly launch a revamped website and an angling App which will provide information on angling resources nationwide. IFI also operates a pilot sponsorship programme and a large variety of events have been sponsored including major competitions such as the World Pairs, The Rosslare Small Boats Competition, The Dutch King of Clubs and the upcoming World Youth Fly Fishing Championship. These events bring hundreds of visitors to Ireland.

In addition to these direct measures, IFI is working with my Department on a major project to modernise, consolidate and simplify the law pertaining to inland fisheries, which is well advanced and which will serve the sector well into the future. The review of legislation will go to public consultation in the near future. A key overriding objective of this project is to put in place the legislative basis to allow IFI to develop the potential of the sector, mainly by increasing the number of anglers utilising the resource, empowering stakeholders to take an active role in the development of the resource and to maximise the returns from the inland fisheries resource to local communities and the State.