Dáil Éireann - Volume 599 - 10 March, 2005
Written Answers. - Fisheries Protection.
Ms O’Sullivan Ms O’Sullivan
69. Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has given any more consideration to the possibility of a buy out of commercial salmon licences and to the estimated costs of a buy out in view of the experience of several of our EU partners; if he has any plans to move to a single stock river management system and to eliminate  drift netting from the salmon ecosystem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8207/05]
Mr. Gallagher Mr. Gallagher
Mr. Gallagher: The Government has consistently ruled out buy out as an effective means of achieving the restoration of salmon stocks. Since 2002, it has instead promoted the application of quotas on commercial fishing and bag limits on angling to achieve catch reductions as the best instrument available to achieve this objective. While I have no plans to introduce a single stock management system for the commercial catching of wild Irish salmon, I intend to keep the matter under review in the context of the policy outlined above.
No convincing case has been advanced as to the advantage to the public good of a publicly funded buy out of commercial salmon licences. I have previously stated that the cost of buying out commercial salmon drift net licences in Ireland could be as high as €75 million based on buy out proposals implemented in recent years in Northern Ireland and the north east of England. The cost of buying out up to 56 licence holders is understood to have cost some 3.25 million sterling. On this basis, I have assessed the cost of a similar voluntary buy out scheme in Ireland, with special consideration of the cost if such a scheme were to be taken up in full by the 887 licensed drift net operators. The cost would increase substantially if all other commercial fishing nets were to be included.
I am sure the Deputy agrees buy out proposals on such a scale are impractical. We must caution against excessive expectations of significant amounts of compensation. As I have previously indicated to the House, I am prepared to keep the matter under review. I am open to any relevant proposal whereby stakeholders benefiting from a reduction in commercial catch identify themselves and indicate a willingness to fund any compensation that might arise.
Dáil Éireann 599 Written Answers. Fisheries Protection.