Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - 13 February, 1996

Written Answers. - Seal Population.

225. Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for the Marine if the seal population in the Irish Sea is affecting fish stocks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3192/96]

Minister for the Marine (Mr. Barrett): A three year (1995-98) scientific study on the comparative distribution and migration patterns of grey and common seals in Irish waters is currently under way. The project, which is jointly funded [1084] by the Department, BIM and the Wildlife Service, will provide key data on seal population levels and migratory patterns. The results will enable us to quantify and assess more accurately possible impacts of seal populations on fish stocks around the Irish coast. Pending completion of the scientific assessment it is not possible to substantiate the extent to which such impacts do occur.