ANGLING TOURISM UNDER THREAT

June 24th, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has called today for increased fishery patrols to tackle the scale of illegal fishing. Deputy Breen claims that increased surveillance is required to deter the pilferage of our fishing stocks and reduce the incidents of pollution which is threatening Clare’s angling tourism industry.

“There is no doubt that illegal fishing is now a major problem and the future welfare of Clare’s Angling Tourism Industry is dependant on reducing the number of such incidents. While members of the Shannon Fisheries Board cannot be on every bank and river it is important that unannounced patrols are increased. I recently received figures from the Ministerof Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan T.D. in response to a series of parliamentary questions which I had tabled on this matter showing the numbers of on the spot fines increasing from zero in 2005 to 13 in 2008 to date. This is welcome and proves that it is the more effective deterrent for dealing with this problem.”

“I am surprised though that there have been no prosecutions for pollution offences in the first quarter of 2008; this is in spite of the fact that there have been reports of illegal dumping at several lakes throughout the county most notably in recent times at Doon Lake and Kilgory Lake in East Clare.”

“The importance of the angling tourist to County Clare should not be underestimated and efforts must be intensified to protect this important tourism business for the local economies of many areas of this County. We have the laws to combat this crisis, what we need to ensure is that we place a greater emphasis on policing the laws. Key to achieving this is ensuring that the Shannon Regional Fisheries board have the resources to tackle the problem, the Board has been allocated exchequer funding of €3.137m in 2008 and I hope that we will see a tangible increase in the number of unannounced surveillance patrols to stamp out this problem. ”

 

Please see Parliamentary Questions Underneath for your Information.

 

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of prosecutions which have been taken by the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board in each of the years, 2005, 2006, 2007 and to 31 March 2008, for County Clare in relation to its statutory functions, including that of prevention pollution; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 17th June, 2008.

Ref No: 23133/08

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount which was recovered by the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board in relation to fines and expenses in each of the years, 2005, 2006, 2007 and up to 31 March 2008 for County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 17th June, 2008.

Ref No: 23134/08

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the cost of prosecutions undertaken by the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board in each of the years of 2005, 2006, 2007 and up to 31 March 2008 for County Clare; and the percentage of this cost taken from the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board budget.

– Pat Breen.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 17th June, 2008.

Ref No: 23135/08 ______________________________________________________________To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the plans to increase the budget of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board, the need to increase surveillance to tackle the scale of illegal fishing and the disregard of regulations and bylaws which is affecting the angling tourism industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 17th June, 2008.

Ref No: 23136/08

 

REPLY

 

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr E Ryan)

 

I propose to take questions nos. 944, 945, 946 and 947 together.

 

Under the Fisheries Acts, primary responsibility for the management, conservation, protection and development of the inland fisheries resource rests with the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards, in this case the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board (ShRFB).

 

The information on prosecutions and fines sought by the Deputy has been provided by the ShRFB and is outlined in the following table.

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION Nos. 944, 945, 946 and 947

 

Number of Prosecutions for County Clare

2005

2006

2007

Q1 2008

Fishing Offence

2

2

1

0

Pollution offence

0

0

1

0

On the spot fines for County Clare

nil

nil

6

13
         

 

2005

(€)

2006

(€)

2007

(€)

Q1 2008

(€)

Fines

300

300

nil

nil

Costs and expenses recovered

1,525

821

nil

nil
         

 

2005

2006

2007

Q1 2008

Total Costs of prosecutions excluding staff costs

1,758

1,711

312

nil

 

 

The total costs of prosecutions taken during the period as a percentage of the ShRFB’s budget is negligible.

 

I have been informed by the ShRFB that inland fisheries protection patrols continue to be maintained in the region. The Board enforces fisheries laws and regulations with its available resources. The Board has been allocated Exchequer funding totalling €3.147m in 2008.

 

In regard to the County Clare fisheries, these hold good stocks of coarse fish which are utilised by both local and tourist anglers. The Board is very aware of the importance of angling tourism to the area and has worked with Shannon Development, Fáilte Ireland and others, to maintain and increase the number of angling tourists.

 

As regards the protection of coarse fish stocks, my Department introduced the Conservation of and Prohibition on Sale of Coarse Fish Bye Law No. 806, 2006 and the Conservation of Pike Bye Law No. 809, 2006, which control fishing for coarse fish. These bye-laws provide for a number of conservation measures including limiting the number of fish that may be taken by anglers and were introduced to prevent over exploitation of coarse fish and pike in rivers, canals and lakes. In the Shannon region, the ShRFB has been working with local anglers and communities to implement these bylaws and additional resources have been red

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