Written Answers. - Draft Net Fishery.

Tuesday, 11 March 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 476 No. 2

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  286.  Mr. Martin  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   asked the Minister for the Marine  Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett   the reason he decided to shorten the draft salmon fishing season; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6516/97]

  287.  Mr. Martin  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   asked the Minister for the Marine  Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett   whether he intends to compensate draft fishermen in view of his decision to shorten their season, cutting their salaries as a result. [6517/97]

Minister for the Marine (Mr. Barrett): Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I propose to answer Questions Nos. 286 and 287 together.

The new conservation regulations introduced for the 1997 season in respect of salmon and trout conservation complete the first phase of implementing the recommendations of the salmon management task force. There has been, at [445] home and abroad, general acceptance that the measures introduced for 1997 are necessary to halt the decline in salmon stocks. The measures contain compensatory gains as well as losses for the draft net sector in the interest of optimising the resource itself.

In view of expressed concerns about the specific and localised impact on the draft net fishery of the new conservation measures, it has been decided not to restrict these tidally dependent fisheries to daylight hours only. The weekend close period has also been staggered between the drift and draft net fisheries which will allow the draft netsmen one clear day each week when there is no drift net activity.

In addition to actively encouraging a local catchment management approach to cater for specific needs in each area, the overall concerns and needs of the draft net fishermen and others engaged in the estuarial salmon fishery are currently being assessed from all perspectives and further consultations are under way on the matter.

All legitimate salmon interests, including draft netsmen, will benefit from the survival and recovery of salmon stocks which is the underlying objective of the new conservation measures. The question of financial compensation for the introduction of enhanced management strategies, which are of themselves designed to maximise the returns from the salmon fishery, is not under consideration.


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