Anglers in Kerry criticise licence increases

 

Anglers in the south-west have strongly criticised the increases in salmon rod angling licence fees announced the day before Christmas Eve.

The extra €350,000 from the increases is to go to the regional fisheries boards which control the inland sector and is to be spent on the maintenance and protection of fish habitats. They have been welcomed by Mr Bill McLysaght, chairman of the Central Fisheries Board.

A bag limit of one salmon or one sea trout over 40 cm in length per angler per day has also been introduced under bye-law. The bag limit will be increased to three fish per day between June and the end of the season "subject to a total allowable catch of 20 fish in any year, commencing on 1st January 2003," according to the statement from the Central Fisheries Board.

There had been no consultation with anglers on the new measures, said Mr Jerome Dowling spokesman for the Killarney Valley Angling Federation and newly-elected PRO for the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers.

Anglers caught only 3 per cent of wild salmon and they would refuse to prop up a system that had failed to protect the fish, he said.

They would most likely refuse to pay the increases until there was a buy-out of the commercial sector.

Anglers had been given an undertaking by Mr Fahey when minister for the marine that tags would not be used as a means of putting quotas on anglers. Now they would be, Mr Dowling claimed.

"It's a carbon copy of what happened in the last rod war, brought in in the dead of night," he said.

Only 18 per cent of anglers in the south-west have returned log books and this is mainly because of difficulties with the South Western Regional Fisheries Board over the catchment management system and what anglers see as an attempt to erode their traditional rights and ways of fishing.

Poaching was not being effectively fought and with cutbacks fishery officers have only €10 a week petrol allowances to patrol important rivers in Kerry and Cork, Mr Dowling said.

In Kerry the seven year lease of the Laune and Flesk Rivers to the clubs in the Killarney Valley Angling Federation has not yet materialised.There were problems also in Donegal with catchment management.

Under the increases ordered by Mr John Browne, Minister for State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural resources, current fees in most categories will go up by over half. Some were last increased over ten years ago.

The salmon rod annual ordinary licence goes from €31.74 to €55. It was last increased in 1998. The salmon rod 21-day licence, last increased in 1992, has gone from €12.69 to €20. The district licence increases from €15.23 to €25. The salmon rod one-day ordinary licence is to be €10, up from €3.80. There has been no increase in the annual juvenile licence.