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Old 08-14-2004, 02:31 PM
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Willie Gunn Willie Gunn is offline
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Location: Spey, Deveron.Brora, Ness, Connon, Beauly
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Perhaps you could keep a fish if you were so inclined.

The Government has told fresh water anglers that they will be allowed to keep only one salmon per day in the peak fishing month of September, down from three per day this month.

The measure is designed to protect stocks of the fish, which are under threat, while avoiding the introduction of an outright ban on the retention of salmon by rod anglers.

The development was sanctioned yesterday by the Minister of State for the Marine, Mr John Browne, after a recommendation from the National Salmon Commission.

The commission, which is the statutory advisory body comprising representatives of the wild salmon fishing industry, held a special meeting yesterday to discuss a sharp fall in the run of salmon this summer.

Despite the fall, angling industry interests are understood to have told the Minister for Tourism, Mr O'Donoghue, that an outright ban would have a "devastating" impact on their business next month.

With up to 40,000 anglers visiting Ireland each year, the business is said to be worth some 55 million.

Mr O'Donoghue is understood to have written to the Minister for the Marine, Mr Dermot Ahern, and Mr Browne to express concern about the possible impact of such a ban.

He urged his colleagues to take such concerns into account when deciding fishing limits for next month.
Mr Browne said yesterday that the new measure was a "practical mechanism" to protect stocks of the fish "while acknowledging the important role angling played in attracting tourists to Ireland".

The commission is considering options to protect the long-term viability of salmon stocks.

While the daily limit of three salmon will continue to apply until the end of the month, the combined limits for August and September will still be subject to a maximum of 20 salmon per angler per season.

Given the pressure on salmon stocks, Mr Browne has urged all anglers to voluntarily fish on a catch-and-release basis for the remainder of the season.
The Minister of State believes this will ensure an increased survival rate for spawning purposes later in the year.

"The recommendation made by the Salmon Commission, which I fully endorse, will afford the continuation of the season for tourism angling into September but at the same time minimise the impact on our valuable wild salmon stocks," he said.

While the deterioration of stocks has been such that drift net fishermen have been unable to meet their quotas, the Government has already rejected demands for an extension of the commercial season.

Mr Ahern and Mr Browne are known to have consulted Bord Iscaigh Mhara about the poor run of fish this summer. They were told that the most recent data suggested there will not be a late run of salmon in August or September.

Arthur Beesley
The Irish Times




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