Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Petition - "For the future of fishing in Northern Ireland"

For the future of fishing in Northern Ireland
"Opened on January 02, 2012

A petition to express concern over the exploitation of indigenous fish species, including salmon, where stocks are no longer sustainable.

It is important to strike an appropriate balance between the conservation of fish stocks and the protection of the local fishing industry, which is a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy. It is a sad fact that there are cases where indigenous fish species are being exploited to the point where stocks are no longer sustainable.Particular examples include the overfishing of salmon where conservation limits are not being met and the illegal netting of fish province-wide

It must be recognised that the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, in partnership with other relevant Departments and following consultation with key stakeholders, can do more to tackle this problem. This may include the development of an action plan, which includes actions required by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation as well as the redrafting of the outdated Fisheries Act to provide further clarity in this area."

If you share the concerns of the organisers you can sign the petition here.

You can find ministerial answers to questions asked in the Northern Ireland Assembly by clicking this link. Tick 'Flexible Search'; tick 'Session' for the most recent administration or 'Mandate' and choose the one you're interested in; enter 'Keyword/Phrase' such as 'salmon' or 'drift net'; and click Search. Tick 'Display all answers' when results appear.

Added 14 January 2012

Fisheries Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is asking fishermen and the angling community to support voluntary measures aimed at restoring stocks of wild Atlantic Salmon in the North. ..
Announcing the measures, the Minister said: “The continued commercial exploitation of wild Atlantic salmon and killing of salmon caught by rod and line in the DCAL jurisdiction is currently untenable. ..
Long term monitoring of the survival of salmon during the marine phase of their lifecycle at Bushmills Salmon Station shows a decline from around 30% prior to 1997 to less than 5% today. ..
The Department is asking operators of coastal fishing engines not to apply for 2012 licences. It is writing to the Lough Neagh draft net licence holders asking them to not take salmon in 2012. It is also asking anglers to practice catch and release when fishing for salmon rather than killing them.
The Minister added: “It is hoped that stakeholders can find common ground in the interests of recovery of stocks and we can all join in the shared aim of a return to sustainability of all salmon fisheries. .."

What happens if licence holders don't co-operate? Will DCAL refuse to issue licences? What happens if salmon from the DCAL jurisdiction end up in Billingsgate Fish Market?