IFI re­sponds to crit­i­cism

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Letters -

The re­cent let­ter pub­lished in your mag­a­zine by Mr Den­nis Moss (Septem­ber 2018 is­sue) en­ti­tled “Ire­land’s game-fish­eries un­der threat” is lit­tered with mis­lead­ing state­ments and fac­tual in­ac­cu­ra­cies and In­land Fish­eries Ire­land would like to take the op­por­tu­nity to clar­ify a few points. In­land Fish­eries Ire­land con­tin­ues to de­liver its re­mit to con­serve, pro­tect, de­velop, man­age and pro­mote Ire­land’s in­land fish­eries and sea-an­gling re­sources. In­land Fish­eries Ire­land has not with­drawn from con­ser­va­tion works as al­luded to by Mr Moss. Since 2011, along with do­ing con­ser­va­tion work it­self, In­land Fish­eries Ire­land has made fund­ing avail­able to al­low stake­holder in­volve­ment in both con­ser­va­tion and de­vel­op­ment works. We have de­liv­ered two mil­lion eu­ros in ad­di­tional fund­ing since 2016 through the Na­tional Strat­egy for An­gling De­vel­op­ment. Both rounds of cap­i­tal fund­ing, 500,000 eu­ros in De­cem­ber 2016 and 1.5 mil­lion eu­ros in De­cem­ber 2017, were over­sub­scribed by stake­hold­ers. Projects un­der the Na­tional Strat­egy for An­gling De­vel­op­ment fund­ing are pro­gress­ing as ex­pected, which is en­cour­ag­ing given the com­plex na­ture of many of the projects. In ad­di­tion, In­land Fish­eries Ire­land and the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works have an agree­ment in place to fa­cil­i­tate works and pro­tect fish­eries re­quire­ments in drained channels. As a State agency, In­land Fish­eries Ire­land op­er­ates to the re­quired high stan­dards of gov­er­nance, both en­vi­ron­men­tal and fi­nan­cial, and is held ac­count­able for all of our ac­tiv­i­ties. This is re­flected in the rules per­tain­ing to project work un­der­taken by In­land Fish­eries Ire­land it­self as well as in third-party projects. Moss refers to our an­glers as hav­ing no true stake­hold­ing. UK trout-an­gling stake­hold­ers must pur­chase a li­cence an­nu­ally in or­der to en­joy trout an­gling and this pro­vides a sig­nif­i­cant, and sus­tain­able, source of in­come to that sec­tor. This is not the case in Ire­land, nor is it even a con­sid­er­a­tion. Fund­ing for trout con­ser­va­tion and de­vel­op­ment works comes from the cen­tral ex­che­quer, which means that In­land Fish­eries Ire­land is in di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with hous­ing, health, ed­u­ca­tion and other high-pro­file ar­eas for lim­ited fund­ing. In ad­di­tion, ex­che­quer fund­ing may only be spent on the spe­cific use for which it was made avail­able. In the case of the two rounds of fund­ing via the Na­tional Strat­egy for An­gling De­vel­op­ment, “cap­i­tal fund­ing” was made avail­able to IFI and there­fore could only be spent on cap­i­tal works: eg, an­gling ac­cess and improve­ment works, such as walk­ways, ac­cess roads etc. In or­der to have a longer-term main­te­nance pro­gramme, a sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tain­able source of in­come for the sec­tor should be iden­ti­fied. Re­gard­ing At­lantic salmon, un­for­tu­nately the species is in de­cline in­ter­na­tion­ally due to wider en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. Salmon an­glers ap­pre­ci­ate the strict man­age­ment regimes that al­low for salmon to be har­vested from rivers where there is a sur­plus. They are the only an­gling group in Ire­land that re­turn a log­book of catch data, and this fa­cil­i­tates more in­formed man­age­ment of salmon fish­eries. In­land Fish­eries Ire­land is work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with fish­ery users, or­gan­i­sa­tions and other state agen­cies to en­sure that fish stocks and an­gling in­fra­struc­ture are pro­tected and en­hanced, in a con­ser­va­tion-fo­cused man­ner, for both their eco­nomic value

and the recre­ational ben­e­fit to the com­mu­ni­ties and vis­i­tors they serve across Ire­land. Dr Ciaran Byrne, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, In­land Fish­eries Ire­land

The Jock Scott, top right, was tied by well-known Hardy tyer, Paxi Saun­ders.

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