Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Tom Fleming (Kerry South, Independent)
Question 420: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will open Lough Fadda and Barfinnihy Lake fisheries at an earlier date this year in order that similar fishing opportunities and facilities are available to tourists who visit County Kerry in March and April as are available in other counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9540/12]
Fergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
The opening and closing dates for lakes are fixed annually by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) on the basis of assessment of demand from anglers and resources to manage those lakes responsibly.
IFI seeks to ensure that the resource and opportunities are available to recreational and tourist anglers at peak times at a reasonable number of lakes.
Over the years the demand in the early part of the season varies and is generally lower than at other times of the year and hence resource management imperatives mean that all lakes do not open at the same time.
IFI, while recognising that there is some off peak demand for the lakes in question, must, in common with all public sector bodies, operate responsibly within overall budgetary constraints. As part of the balance between these constraints and assessed demand, it is necessary to manage the lakes within the resources available and in that context it is not currently in a position to open the lakes referred to any earlier than proposed.
IFI advises that Lough Fadda and Barfinnihy Lake are community managed trout lakes. They are run effectively as put and take fisheries (i.e. IFI stock the lakes prior to opening for fishing on a pay per use basis). In this regard they are no different from any other ‘put and take’ fishery in the country. They are managed on a commercial basis in that IFI endeavours to at least cover the cost for the stocking and management of these lakes from the permits fees derived from anglers.