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Councillor Sean Doorley

Laois/ Offaly

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Progressive Democrats Propose Salmon Drift-Net Ban

Monday 10th October 2005

Progressive Democrats Senator John Dardis has announced that the Party will actively seek a ban on salmon drift netting at sea.

 “We have looked at the data on fish stock levels, the economy, tourism, and the international context and the message is clear. The Progressive Democrats policy is to stop salmon drift netting before its too late”, Senator John Dardis said.

“I have conducted research and consultation over the summer months, and produced an extensive policy paper. Ireland is the only jurisdiction of any significance permitting the exploitation of salmon stocks at sea, there has been a steep decline in salmon numbers in recent years, and the widely held view is that this is primarily due to over-fishing at sea. The practice has to stop”, the Kildare South representative said.

Contrary to the approach currently pursued by Government, the Progressive Democrats propose to buy-out commercial fishing licences altogether, through a mechanism that compensates licence holders. The present system whereby the Minister for the Marine sets the annual allowable catch is not working. The balance of national interest is overwhelmingly with salmon angling, not salmon netting. Angling tourism contributes €55m to the economy annually, but visitor numbers have halved in five years. We are also becoming a pariah among our international neighbours, the EU and international bodies”, he said.

Asked about the cost of compensating commercial license holders Senator Dardis said that the Progressive Democrats propose a mechanism that compensates these licence holders on the basis of projected loss of income from salmon fishing. The cost of such a scheme may be as little as one quarter of the €70 million quoted by some parties.”

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