Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
532. Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason the Central Fisheries Board introduced a new compulsory licence on the River Suck more than four years ago for course angling; the basis of the implementation of such a licence on the River Suck; the further reason it was found not necessary to have a similar licence on other course angling rivers elsewhere here; the number of tourist angling accommodation units which have ceased trading in the River Suck region since the introduction of the new permit; the amount of revenue generated by the licence permit system over the past four years in the region; the cost of enforcing and administering this particular scheme on the River Suck over the past four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28099/09]
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Conor Lenihan): Under the Fisheries Acts 1959 to 2001, the Regional Fisheries Boards are empowered to apply a permit charge for angling on fisheries under their control. The application of such a permit charge is a day-to-day operational matter for the relevant Board, in this instance the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board (ShRFB). Within the region, the ShRFB controls 27 fisheries including the River Suck.
I am advised by the ShRFB that it has had a permit charge for trout angling for over 50 years on fisheries under its control. I understand that the fisheries board, in reviewing its management and the fees charged for its fisheries in 2002, decided to extend the permit charges to cover coarse angling on the Board controlled fisheries, on the basis that it was unfair to charge one angler to fish for one species while another angler fishing for a different species, on the same water, was not charged. The cost of managing these fisheries has increased over the years and the ShRFB is of the view that coarse anglers who utilise the fisheries should contribute to the cost of their upkeep.
I am advised by the Board that the revenue generated by the licence permit system over the period 2005-2008 in the region is €317,146. The ShRFB assures me that the permit income is reinvested in the conservation and day-to-day management and development of these fisheries. I am informed that the duties of the staff of the ShRFB are multi-disciplinary and in the circumstances it is not possible to identify the cost of enforcement and administration on a particular stretch of water within the fisheries controlled by the Board.
It has been the Board’s experience that where tourist anglers are informed that funds raised through angling permits, which entitle them to fish on all 27 fisheries controlled by the ShRFB, are reinvested in the fishery, they are willing to contribute.
The Board has no information on the number of tourist angling accommodation units which may have closed or for what reason. The ShRFB, in conjunction with the other fisheries boards and Fáilte Ireland, has taken many initiatives to address the decline in angling tourist activity in this area. The prospects for the future of tourist angling accommodation units will, I believe, be supported by the river restoration programmes, the preservation of healthy stocks through protection and environmental work undertaken by the regional fisheries boards and the marketing initiatives taken at regional and national level.
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