Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
662. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to lift the salmon and the drift net ban; his further plans to carry out a further study in relation to salmon stocks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34543/16]
The status of each of Ireland 147 individual salmon stocks is reviewed each year. The Standing Scientific Committee (SSC) for salmon provides independent advice to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) as regards the annual individual stock assessments for Ireland’s wild salmon fisheries. This independent scientific advice underpins the annual management decisions and advice of IFI as regards all aspects of the angling and commercial season for salmon on an individual river basis.
The SSC is a statutorily independent committee comprised of scientists from IFI, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Loughs Agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Marine Institute, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (Northern Ireland), and other State bodies and third level institutions.
In 2006 a decision of the Government determined that the wild salmon fishery is to be managed in line with the scientific advice in the interests of conservation of stocks. Since 2007, the harvest of salmon, by commercial and recreational (angling) means, has been restricted to those individual river stocks that are meeting their conservation limits.
The individual river management strategy is based on the fact that each of Ireland’s salmon rivers has its own unique stock of salmon which migrates to sea as juveniles and returns to the same river in adulthood to spawn and create the next generation of fish exclusive to that river. Fisheries are only considered in rivers where the estimated returns are above the conservation limit for the river.
The annual Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations, made pursuant to Sections 69 of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010, provide for the management of Ireland's wild salmon and sea trout fishery by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). These Regulations are revised on an annual basis, taking account of advice from IFI, the SSC and any submissions received from a 30 day public consultation for the following season. I have already commenced the 30 day public consultation for the 2017 Regulations.
A copy of the draft regulations, which are available on the Department’s website, www.dccae.gov.ie, is open for public inspection at the offices of the Department in Cavan and also at the offices of Inland Fisheries Ireland. Any person may submit observations on the draft regulations at any time during the period of 30 days concluding on 11 December, 2016
The commercial (draftnet and snapnet) season commences in May each year and conservation measures for the fishery will be introduced in advance of the season under the Control of Fishing for Salmon Order and associated bye-laws.