AT the recent NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation) conference, the NGO’s put forth their concerns about the
In support, the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) states it is time for the
This action will help protect seriously declining Atlantic salmon stocks and help maintain recreational angling opportunities.
While Minister Browne, who is responsible for Irish Marine and Natural Resources, promised in a 2003 press release “to do nothing is not an option”, little is happening.
The Irish Drift Net Fishery continues to take in over 135,000 Atlantic salmon a year. Over the past 20 years the number of wild Atlantic salmon has halved and continues to decline (NASCO 2004). They are listed as an endangered species by the European Union.
For the Atlantic salmon stocks to recover, the recognized international scientific body, ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Seas) emphasises the urgent need to end drift net fishing by Irish nets.
All these countries are spending significant sums of money and effort on in-river restoration programmes. These efforts are being “partially negated by the Irish drift nets” says
The Atlantic Salmon caught in commercial Irish Nets are salmon destined for rivers that are already too short of returning spawning salmon to sustain their populations. 70% of the rivers in
Many of these rivers have the EU conservation designation as SAC (Special Areas of Conservation), which means the Atlantic salmon is a protected species. “The Irish may be in breach of European Directives” states
Not only is the commercial fishery harmful, it only provides a marginal socio-economic benefit when compared with recreational angling. Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon & Trout Association explains that “The Indecon Report of 2003 valued an Irish rod caught salmon at something over 22 times that of a netted fish, proving the overwhelming socio-economic advantages of angling over commercial fishing.”
Ecological protection is needed. “In
Paul Knight continues, “We heard that the Irish are heading towards a Total Allowable Catch for 2005 in line with scientific advice, yet this will still maintain a drift net fishery exploiting 135,000 salmon a year, together with a significant number of unrecorded fish stolen for nets by predators.”
“Taking into account ICES management advice to end mixed stocked fisheries, and the need to protect marginal numbers of Salmon, together with the recent success of the