I thank the Deputy for tabling this question. The national strategy for angling development, NSAD, devised by Inland Fisheries Ireland, IFI, is the first comprehensive national framework for the development of Ireland’s angling resource. It aims to increase the economic contribution of angling from €836 million to €932 million annually, an increase of €96 million. It also aims to increase the number of jobs to over 12,800. Angling and the jobs it supports are of critical importance to the economy.
In December I announced funding of €2.2 million under the NSAD. This funding is facilitating 114 development projects across 23 counties nationwide which are expected to be delivered in 2018. I propose to circulate a full list of the projects awarded funding in the December round. The three strategic objectives of the NSAD are making angling accessible and attractive through the provision of information, infrastructure and support, tourism development through the promotion of the angling resource and recognition of angling as a key leisure and recreational pursuit.
In 2017 IFI also provided funding support for 79 projects under its angling sponsorship scheme. The initiatives which are supported by the scheme include large international competitions which showcase Ireland’s angling; novice angler events and training courses which increase participation; information to promote fisheries awareness, conservation and protection; funding of transport hire for participants to facilitate attendance at novice angler events; and angling teams representing Ireland at international events.
Last month, Inland Fisheries Ireland invited applications for this year’s sponsorship scheme. The applications are currently being considered. In addition to funding, IFI also provides logistical and personnel supports for community run angling competitions in areas such as bio-security and competition management.
Inland Fisheries Ireland also supports other initiatives aimed specifically at young people. The Something Fishy education programme is aimed at fifth and sixth class primary school students and teachers. Last year, 113 schools participated involving input from some 3,500 children.
The Dublin Angling Initiative is a programme for youth and novice angling run by IFI with the help of volunteers. IFI also supports 17 angling hubs for Youth Development Ireland nationwide.