I propose to take Questions Nos. 277, 279 and 280 together.
As previously indicated in response to questions tabled by the Deputy project applications are made to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) under funding schemes within National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD) which opened earlier this year.
I am advised by IFI that projects are in the final step of the process and awaiting IFI Board approval in line with the process for administering the funding schemes. I also understand that there is one completed third party project application to the Midland Fisheries Fund.
I would expect that details of projects that have been successful in their applications to Inland Fisheries Ireland in 2019 and have been approved by the Board will be notified to my Department and I will be happy will to announce details of the projects shortly.
Sustainable funding schemes available to IFI for disbursement include the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund, due to the State through the sale of salmon and sea trout licences and the Midland Fisheries Fund, gathered through the sale of permits in the midland fisheries area. Some 50% of this State funding is made available for works related to the funds. The Midland Fisheries Fund does facilitate in-stream fisheries enhancement work in trout fisheries and I understand that works undertaken to improve habitat for salmon and sea trout also benefit other salmonid species.
The Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund is confined to these species in respect of which a licence fee is required. A further sustainable funding mechanism to fund projects related to trout and other species nationally could be considered to if there were similar requirements for those species.
The IFI budget for 2020 has yet to be finalised and I am advised that IFI allocate budget to priority works across the country. IFI has previously undertaken lagarosiphon weed control and stock management in the Western Lakes and is working on the Owenriff for example, and these initiatives are expected to continue.