Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
171. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he receives regular reports on the implementation of the River Tolka water quality management plan; if he receives reports of any spillages into this river; the way in which these are investigated and matters such as restocking of the fish life are dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32476/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Gallagher): Under the Fisheries Acts, primary responsibility for the conservation, protection and development of inland fisheries rests with the regional fisheries board, in this case the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board. I am advised by the chief executive officer of the board that responsibility for the implementation of the Tolka water quality management plan rests with Fingal County Council. I understand however that the council undertakes this responsibility in consultation with a number of bodies, including the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board. According to the chief executive officer, however, the plan does not include any requirements for reports on its implementation to be produced.
The chief executive officer advises me that the fisheries board itself receives reports from anglers, the public and also the county council on spillages and pollution incidents. These are investigated by the professional staff of the board whose policy it is to initiate a prosecution where sufficient evidence of pollution is found. According to the chief executive officer, polluters have paid substantial compensation in the past, which has contributed to rehabilitation and restocking.
The chief executive officer further advises me that the Tolka has suffered a number of pollution incidents in the last decade and the board, together with the Tolka anglers, have restocked the river on numerous occasions. In this regard I am advised that the board generally tries to stock fingerlings so that the fish have a better chance of acclimatising to the river whereas the Tolka anglers generally stock catchable size fish.
I am assured by the chief executive officer that the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board makes every effort to ensure that fishery concerns are placed high on the agenda when works impacting on the Tolka are proposed to take place.
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