Dáil Éireann - Volume 412 - 06 November, 1991

Written Answers. - River Moy (Mayo) Fishery.

45. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the low salmon catches by rod anglers on the River Moy and the excessive take in traps and nets by the State fishery company; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

48. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for the Marine if he proposes banning netting by the State fishery company on the River Moy and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson): I propose to take Questions Nos. 45 and 48 together.

Commercial netting has been part of the management of the Moy Fishery for well over a century and it is closely monitored by the staff of my Department.

The Deputy will be pleased to know that redd counts and checks on smolt production clearly show that the stock of salmon in the Moy is in a healthy state. Since my Department acquired the Moy Fishery a number of conservation measures has been introduced. One of these conservation measures involves a longer close season for draft netting. The season now opens on 1 May instead of mid-March.

Earlier this year a group was established in my Department to consider the future management/development of the [439] Moy Fishery and the system as a whole. The group comprises representatives of my Department, the Moy Fishery, the North Western Regional Fisheries Board and the Central Fisheries Board. The group have been considering all aspects of the fishery, including the commercial fishery and while I do not wish to preempt the findings of this group I must point out that the question of ceasing the netting operation at the Moy Fishery is not a simple one and must be assessed in the context of (1) a scientific programme which would monitor the effects of increased escapement and determine the appropriate levels of escapement and (2) the drawing up and implementation of a development plan for the river as a whole involving all fishery owners.

With regard to the catch by rod anglers on the River Moy I wish to say that catches in the Moy have held up well in recent years when one considers the general decline in salmon stocks nationally and internationally. It can be seen from the statistics in respect of the number of salmon taken during 1991 by the commercial operation and rod and line at the Moy Fishery, which I supplied to Deputy Higgins in reply to a parliamentary question on 23 October 1991, that the commercial operation does not adversely affect the catch by rod and line.