Written Answer. - Bird and Fish Species.

Thursday, 12 July 1973

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 267 No. 6

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Mr. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  asked the Minister for Lands if he will list all the species of birds and fish to be found in the area under the jurisdiction of the Irish Government; the number of each present now as compared with the number three years before the latest available estimate; if such estimates apply to Irish areas of control for mammals, reptiles or amphibians; and if there has been a reduction in species or numbers in surviving species; if so, if he will give reasons for this reduction.

Minister for Lands (Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick,: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Cavan): Records are not available in my Department in such form as would enable the precise information sought by the Deputy to be furnished.

As regards birds, the best sources of Irish lists are A List of the Birds of Ireland (Father Kennedy, S.J.) and Ireland's Birds (R. F. Rutledge).

A comparison between the present position regarding numbers of species generally in Ireland as a whole and the situation three years ago is not feasible but the following estimates in relation to particular species may be of interest:—

Species 1970estimate 1973estimate
Greenland Whitefronted Geese 9,000 8,000
Brent Geese 11,500 10,500
Greylag Geese 800 1,100
Barnacle 4,500 4,250
Peregrine Falcon (breeding pairs) 16 23

[955] It would appear that some wildfowl species, for example, snipe, are declining, due mainly to drainage of habitat and changes in agricultural practice in marginal land. The peregrine falcon had also shown a decline for some years past, due apparently to the ingestion of persistent organochlorine pesticides but surveys sponsored by my Department indicate that this species has recovered somewhat in recent times.

Casual variation in numbers may arise from year to year as a result of good or bad breeding seasons, weather conditions, et cetera.

My Department are not responsible for fish.

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