Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications

Depletion of Inland Fish Stocks and Impact of Estuary Poaching: Inland Fisheries Ireland

9:55 am

Photo of Michael ColreavyMichael Colreavy (Sligo-North Leitrim, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I apologise for missing the beginning of the presentation but I have another meeting to attend on Wednesday mornings. I will have to review my arrangements. I hope the witnesses will forgive me if the questions I ask were answered in advance of my arrival.

I will explore a number of issues. The goals of Inland Fisheries Ireland are to improve the protection and conservation of the resource, develop and improve wild fish populations, increase the number of anglers and generate a better return for the economy from the resource. If we take these objectives as key performance indicators, how is Inland Fisheries Ireland performing?

My next question is more specific and relates to eels fisheries. I am informed by those who used to be involved in eel fishing that Ireland is probably the only country in Europe that has imposed a ban on eel fishing. A number of families made a fair proportion of their income from this activity. They have been prevented from continuing to fish for eels and have not been offered compensation. They question the scientific evidence on what contribution the cessation of eel fishing is making to the overall eel population. I ask the witnesses to comment.

Inland Fisheries Ireland focuses strongly on poachers. Is pollution not at least as great a problem as poaching? The River Tolka was poisoned recently and the anecdotal evidence suggests that one industry is causing this pollution. It appears, however, that no action is being taken to address the issue.

On value for money, if expenditure from the public purse on Inland Fisheries Ireland and other organisations involved in the preservation of the water base, fish stocks and the amenity value of our rivers were matched against the income generated from the enjoyment of these resources, would one conclude that we are delivering value for money?

What working arrangements does Inland Fisheries Ireland have with other organisations involved in the preservation and promotion of our inland waters, for example, Waterways Ireland? I should point out that many years ago, when I fished the rivers and lakes of south Leitrim, I was blissfully unaware of Inland Fisheries Ireland or any similar organisation.


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