A meeting of the Cabinet of the Irish Government has accepted the report of the Independent Salmon Group established to examine the implications of alignment with the scientific advice for the commercial salmon fishing fector in 2007 and beyond.


This means a complete cessation of drift net fishing or any other form of harvesting outside rivers and estuaries.


Set out below are:  


The Government’s statement of 1 November about the end of drift netting for salmon in Irish waters;


Stop Now’s initial response to the statement


I would like to thank all of those who have contributed in however a small or large way to this outcome. 


Tiday is a momentous day for Irish salmon angling.


But it is not a time for triumphalism.  It is rather a time for contemplation on the heavy responsibility that now rests on the shoulders of those of us who have campaigned for the ending of drift netting to ensure that the potential for the restoration of salmon abundance that is now presented to us is realised.


We will set up an opportunity in the near future of deciding what the continuing role for Stop Now in salmon conservation may be.

Niall Greene – Chair
Stop Salmon Drift Nets Now


Dublin,, 1st November 2006

Noel Dempsey T.D., the Minister for Communications, Marine & Natural Resources, today announced that the Government has adopted the key recommendations of the report by the Independent Working Group on Salmon. The key recommendation of this report is the creation of a hardship fund for those affected by the compulsory buy-out of drift net fishermen.
The Government’s primary motivation in adopting the report is that of conservation of the wild salmon species, which has long been regarded as one of Ireland ‘s most prized fish, instilled in our traditional mythology as the Bradán feasa, the salmon of knowledge, and valued as a cultural and economic resource.
Expert scientific advice available shows marine survival of salmon in the North Atlantic has decreased significantly in the past decade. Less than half to one third of the salmon returning to rivers in the 1970s and 1980s are currently returning to Irish rivers. In this regard it is vital to afford every protection to the remaining stocks and to clearly prioritise conservation over catch. The current imperative must be to maintain stocks above conservation limits or at the very least halt the decline.
The Government realise that these proposals will entail hardship for commercial fishermen and vulnerable coastal communities. To offset this they have established a hardship scheme for those affected. This fund, worth over €25 million, will give each fishermen a payment equal to six times their average annual catch over the period 2001-2005 multiplied by the average price per salmon over the period (€23). Each fisherman will also receive a payment equal to six times the current licence fee. Although the scheme is compulsory for drift net fishermen the scheme will also be open to other commercial Salmon fishermen who use nets such as snap and draft.
An additional €5 million fund will be available for a community support scheme. This support scheme is designed to aid the development of those communities where the impact of the cessation of drift netting will be hardest felt and provide alternative employment and economic opportunities for those affected.
From now on we can expect our management of wild salmon will be based on an individual river basis. This is a quantum leap from our previous management of the fishery and will ensure that we can optimise the potential benefit of returning salmon, as well as ensuring that in each river salmon stocks will in time return to a healthy status.
This means that the harvest of salmon, by any means, will be restricted to those stocks of rivers that are judged by the scientific advice as meeting their conservation limits. Commercial fishing and recreational angling can continue only on the scientifically identified exploitable surplus.
However in the region of 68,000 fish that might otherwise have been taken in the at-sea drift-net fishery in 2007 will be available for redistribution to their natal rivers. As a consequence of the redistribution of the foregone at-sea drift-net catch up to ten rivers, which would otherwise not meet their conservation limit in 2007, will now have a surplus over the conservation limit requirement.
The National Salmon Commission, in the context of the report, will now bring forward advice to the Minster on measures for management of the wild salmon fishery in 2007. Regulations governing the management of the 2007 season will be published for public consultation before the end of the year.