Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (693)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

693. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans in relation to the culling of seals (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7675/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I refer the Deputy to the replies provided in response to his previous questions, PQ31811/18 and PQ36101/18.

While seals are a protected species, my Department may issue licenses to cull individual problem seals, and affected persons can apply for such licenses. My Department has no plans to undertake a general cull of seals.

However, on 5th February 2019 representatives of my Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service met in Killarney with fishermen and representatives of the commercial fishing industry based on the Dingle peninsula.

The detailed discussions covered a broad range of issues including current inshore fishing practices and trends, seal predation, behaviour and numbers, as well as the by-catch of seals in fishing gear and the management of seal-fishery interactions.

At the meeting, NPWS undertook to further investigate solutions for deterring seal interactions with static fishing gears and to continue their collaboration with the Marine Institute and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to investigate such problems and their solutions in partnership with the fishing industry.