Dáil Éireann - Volume 546 - 11 December, 2001

Written Answers. - Fish Stocks.

86. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources his policy in preserving fish stocks in the Shannon system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31757/01]

87. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the measures he is putting in place to restock the River Shannon system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31758/01]

89. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources his policy on the conservation and policing of fish stocks on the Shannon system; the personnel and resources involved in policing this system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31760/01]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): I propose to take Questions Nos. 86, 87 and 89 together.

Under the Shannon Fisheries Act, 1938, every fishery and every fishing right on the Shannon above Corbally Weir was vested in the ESB. They [628] are responsible for managing, conducting and preserving the Shannon fisheries. This responsibility is expressed to be subject and without prejudice to the primary function of maintaining, developing and working the Shannon hydroelectric works.

The Shannon Regional Fisheries Board informs me that the ESB, as primary owners of the fishery rights to the River Shannon, undertake restocking of the system with eels and salmon. The Shannon board in conjunction with the Central Fisheries Board restock those parts of the Shannon system under the management of the fisheries board with trout and coarse fish. I have asked my Department to request the ESB and the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board to provide specific details of their conservation and restocking operations directly to the Deputy.

Under the Tourism Angling Measure of the Tourism Operational Programme 1994-1999 the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board invested in excess of £2 million in the development of fisheries in the Shannon catchment, including flagship projects on Loughs Sheelin and Ennel where some £800,000 was invested. The Shannon board also inform me that they are in the course of the preparation of a plan for the further development fisheries under their management and control. This plan will form the basis for funding proposals under the new tourism and recreational measure of the NDP.

88. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources his plans to introduce a strict catch and release system on all river systems and lakes here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31759/01]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): I have no plans to introduce a strict catch and release system in angling for salmon or other fish on inland waters. The National Salmon Commission has advised me to introduce a bag limit of one salmon per angler per day during the months of January to May with any additional fish caught being immediately released alive. I will be making the necessary by-law to come into operation on 1 January 2002.

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 86.