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Salmon issue still unresolved.

 Angler warns of potential rod war

A LEADING angling figure, who recently spent four days in prison for refusing to pay a fine, has warned of another ‘rod war’ by angry anglers.

Richard Behal, 69, from Killarney, said there was great resentment among salmon anglers who felt they had been betrayed by successive fishery ministers.

"Anglers are now worse off than in the days of drift netting, which has been banned," he claimed.

"Irish salmon anglers are becoming an endangered species as lease and licence costs are leaping up.

"Ordinary anglers will end up being priced out of their traditional waters and denied their rights to fish.

"The financial institutions and chequebook anglers will take over."

Mr Behal endured jail rather than pay a €65 fine for failing to return his unused angling tags and logbook to the South Western Regional Fisheries Board.

The veteran campaigner said he opted to serve time in Cork Prison as a protest against what he claimed were years of broken promises by ministers.

Such promises, he insisted, included a guarantee that there would be no prosecutions against anglers until a review of licence tags and logbooks had been carried out.

"Something that’s really annoying people is that the new draft-netting regulations have failed to benefit either recreational, or tourist, angling," he said.

Under the new restrictions, he said, anglers were prepared to accept restrictions and make sacrifices in the hope of there being a return to abundant salmon angling.

However, the reality now was that the point of slaughter had moved from the drift nets at sea to draft netting in the estuaries where the majority of fish were being taken, as was being evidenced on the Feale in north Kerry.

Mr Behal, who was on the 14-member committee which organised the anglers’ rod war in 1989-’91, said we could soon see a similar confrontation.

The rod war was against a proposal to introduce a licensing system.

Donal Hickey

© Irish Examiner May 2007

kerry driftnetters defy their Fianna Fail masters.

 ‘We’ll go to jail over drift net ban’

FISHERMEN in Kerry will return to sea this year and face going to jail in defiance of the ban on driftnet fishing for salmon.

Hundreds of fishermen and workers in the fish processing industry  claim they are facing an end to their livelihoods because of the government ban on driftnet fishing.

(Rubbish-they are almost all partimers with a variety of business interests) 

But a war at sea is now looming as fishermen in West Kerry are vowing to take to the seas, ignoring the ban and facing possible jail sentence in defence of their livelihoods.

But the authorities responsible for policing the seas and for implementing the ban are taking a no-nonsense approach to the fishermen’s threat.

The simmering war at sea carries echoes of the bitter battle of 30 years ago when fishermen were pitted against authorities over illegal salmon fishing.

"It is illegal for anybody to fish for salmon without a licence and no licences will be issued this year, a Department of Marine spokesman told The Kerryman.

And the authority with most responsibility for policing the ban, the South West Regional Fisheries Board, said it will be working with the gardaí and the navy to ensure that the law is upheld.

Routine surveillances involving fisheries patrol vessels, the navy and air patrol will be used to ensure that driftnet salmon fishing is no longer a part of the fishing industry.

However, in Dingle last weekend, fishermen emerged from a day-long meeting on the ban in united voice. Despite calls for them to engage in meaningful talks about compensation and future options, they instead vowed to break the law and suffer the consequences. Fishermen were angry and frustrated over the loss of their livelihoods. They wanted to know why all salmon fishing wasn't banned and why they had to pay the price for declining stocks.

After a private and brief side-discussion on Saturday evening with the meeting chairman, TP Ó Conchúir, the fishermen decided they would return to sea and risk going to jail.

"They were disgusted to learn that they were not responsible for the decline in stocks when all the fingers were being pointed at them. They were sceptical about all the options for future prospects that were presented here today. So they’ve decided to go back to sea and face going to jail unless the Government comes up with something better for them," Mr Ó Conchúir said.

Aidan O’Connor and Ted Creedon

© The Kerryman

Wanton waste makes woeful want.

The history of the salmon war.

Above; Phantom Salmon with two lovely, ghostly well paid Bailiffs..(Fianna Fail party members)

It is ironic that the Department of the Marine pays 20 million euros per annum to staff who's task is to protect salmon rivers and estuaries, while the 877 part time drift-net licensees in Kerry ,Donegal and elsewhere ...decimate 70% of the fish stock before they even reach the rivers to spawn.!

This money could be used to fund the estimated €30m required to compensate drift-net fishermen who having fattened themselves on easy money for years and destroyed the salmon stock,with government approval, and would love a golden handshake from Bertie- on their way out the door.!

But the problem is ,can the 20 million payroll really be withdrawn from the Fianna Fail boys who have these unusual jobs of guarding 'phantom' salmon.? Or is this another job for life,for Bertie's folk in the public service.?

(From the snug of a pub in Kerry town?)

Some 200,000 salmon are caught in the nets of Ireland's commercial fishermen during June and July. It is a catch worth about €3m. You might ask what is the problem with that? Well, the simple answer is that these fish could be worth so much more to our country. If the salmon were allowed to complete their epic voyage, their presence in our rivers would attract tourist anglers who would spend 40 times as much. And most of the fish would not even be caught or killed. So we're talking €120m as opposed to €3m. And that is only part of the problem. Our salmon are threatened with eventual extinction by the walls of nets they face.

The government is under significant pressure to stop drift-net fishing, which threatens salmon stocks in the UK as well as in Ireland. The European Union recently warned the republic that if it did not curb volume fishing off its western coast it would face prosecution.

A new Oireachtas report is expected to form the basis of government policy on the issue. A decade ago, 1m salmon returned to Irish shores every year to spawn, but now the number is below 500,000. Global warming has been partly blamed but the primary cause is commercial drift-net fishing, which catches salmon before they have a chance to return to their spawning grounds. Record salmon runs have been recorded in Norway, Scotland and other European countries following recent drift-net bans.The report is expected to recommend that commercial fishermen sell their licences or accept compensation for giving up commercial fishing during a five-year review period to study the impact on stocks.

Sources involved in the drafting of the report, which is due to be discussed before a final version is submitted next month, say it will advise the adoption of a principle of singlestock river management, where a river’s stock be counted before fishing is allowed. Noel O’Flynn, a Fianna Fail TD who is chairman of the committee, refused to comment on the content of the draft report and said the government was under no obligation to act on its recommendations.

Destruction as usual from rogue councillors in the Soldiers of Destiny show, and you the taxpayer will pay the fines and legal costs of Brussels bringing Bertie,s gang to boot.!

In the summer of 2005, ten thousand objections were lodged,protesting against the destruction of the wild salmon flow in irish waters. It included a comprehensive submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee of the Marine by the ‘Stop Salmon Drift Nets Now’ organisation. Pissing against the wind..
This proposal detailed every aspect of the issue and spelt out the methodology of a €25 million buyout over a five-year period in a 22-page document. This included a provision of €6.25m by anglers over that period funded by a €50 increase in the recreational salmon fishing licence. The minister’s response was that he had yet to hear from anybody with serious proposals about buying out drift net fishermen.

What happened next was disastrous. The drift netting season runs from the beginning of June to the end of July.

The salmon drift nets returned a catch of less than 50% of the 2004 figure - not much more than 70,000 fish. Clearly this, to say the least, is not viable and is economic and environmental madness.

However it is heartening to see that fianna Fail are not buckling under to the demands of salmon fishermen in Donegal and elswhere, and offering to buy them out , now that they have virtually destroyed the stock of wild salmon. Bertie is to be commended,as it is rare that Fianna Fail refuses to throw money at their supporters in the agricultural or fishing industry.Who knows,perhaps he will even tackle the powerful semi-state unions next.!

Maybe he is spending so much money compensating the McBrearty clan, that the cupboard is bare.?

However the terms of the buy out will include a clause giving the licence holders a "right of return" as soon as stocks increase again.!!    Thats what I call win win for the fishermen.

(1) destroy the stocks.

(2)Get a massive payout to take a "salmon sabbatical"

and (3)return to plunder again in a few years time.!

An excellent suggestion recently proposed, in the newspapers-to boycott the trade in Irish wild salmon-may be unsuccessful without government support and prohibition of exports to other countries.

Fianna Fail have no intention of opposing fishermen (or any other organized lobby with a few hundred votes, in the coming election).

Irish people need a united front and a well organized campaign to isolated this thoughtless, greedy minority within the community.A leader is desperately needed to organize this boycott.

We owe it to our fellow citizens of Europe who are outraged by the apathy of our politicians in this matter.Extensive publicity abroad might enforce a full boycott and eliminate the drift nets now plundering this endangered species.Fishermen must not be paid one penny for the inevitable withdrawal of their licences. The taxidrivers-many of whom paid large sums for their licences-were not given a penny when they were made worthless overnight.Why should part time fishermen many of whom are in receipt of government sponsored subsidies and have been recently exposed as tax cheats,- why should they be privileged with more taxpayers money.?

Next story please: more Rogue fishermen.

Massive overfishing,by a small number of Irish "Supertrawlers" based in Killybegs and Castletownbere.

These boats were recently catching five times the irish national quota of Mackerel,for example,with complete immunity,from any punishment, thanks to Fianna Fail,s indifference to the plunder of our national fisheries. The EU Committee for Common Fisheries Policy recently introduced a Bill, known as The Sea-Fisheries and Marine Jurisdiction Bill 2005, which all EU Member States were required to bring before their parliament. This bill is described as a long overdue piece of legislation designed to modernise EU laws, including of course Irish law, and to bring it into line with the new EU regulatory system.

It was pointed out that the need for such a bill was emphasised by two Supreme Court cases which exposed loopholes in the existing law and showed how hard it was to deal with the problem of illegal fishing.

It was against this background that this new bill was drafted and published early October with the Dáil debate on the bill timed to take place on Thursday, October 13. However, on the night before it was due to be debated in the Dáil, this very important piece of EU legislation to protect the future of Irish fish stocks was pulled by the Government.

The reason for this was because our local representative in the Dáil, Bantry-based Deputy Denis O’Donovan, said that he would defy the Government whip and vote against this new bill.

Although Deputy O’Donovan has the backing of a few other Fianna Fáil backbenchers, as well as Fine Gael’s John Perry and Tommy Broughan, the Labour Party spokesman on Marine, it is common knowledge in fishing circles that these objections to the bill come from a powerful small number of the large super trawlers. Powerful "Friends of Fianna Fail".

The decision to pull the bill had now left the Irish fishing grounds open to overfishing by native and foreign factory trawlers and has exposed the Irish taxpayer to massive EU fines.

"That the Government abandoned its plans to protect the national interest and instead capitulated to a small vested interest group of wealthy trawler owners, backed by a handful of Fianna Fáil TDs, is a salutary tale about the way the clientelism in Irish politics works against the common good."

The European Common Fisheries Committee is already involved in seven European Court cases against Ireland in respect of alleged overfishing or inadequate control and enforcement over the past ten years. It’s rather amusing to find that both the Fine Gael and Labour parties are colluding with the Government against the interests of the Irish taxpayer, not to mention the environmental destruction involved. While Deputy O’Donovan opposes this bill to restrict overfishing, he agrees with the salmon anglers that a bill should be drafted which curtails drift net fishermen.

A FAILURE to hire enough fisheries staff left Ireland with another embarrassing defeat in the European Courts December 2005.

The Court backed the complaint from the European Commission that Ireland hadn't been able to provide adequate statistical data on fisheries catches for two years, in 1999 and 2000, In its defence, the Department of Marine offered mitigating circumstances, explaining that it didn't have enough personnel at the time and that its computer system wasn't able to provide some of the complex information it should have done. But neither argument impressed the 25-judge court, which ordered Ireland to pay costs.

While irish fishermen have been a law unto themselves for decade,ignoring every rule on catch limitation,and virtually wiping out Cod species in Irish waters,Mr Joe Walsh T.D. has called for a new Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill to be amended and to decriminalise the majority of fishery offences so that only very serious fishery infringements should attract criminal proceedings?!,

Mr.Joe Walsh T.D. said that the punishment should fit the offence. Pointing out that as it stood the provisions of the Bill were contrary to the European system of dealing with fisheries offences where 86% of them are dealt with "administratively" !, Mr. Walsh said he understood that the EU Commission favoured administrative sanctions over criminal proceedings.

Mr. Walsh concluded by saying, "Speaking to fishermen, I know that they are in the depths of despair, they are struggling financially and now they see this Bill as the final nail in the Regulations for the Industry, but we, as Legislators, cannot preside over draconian measures."

Indeed.!

Footnote

February 2006; THE Government last night agreed a major last-minute concession to rebel backbenchers to ensure the smooth passage of the controversial Fisheries Bill through the Oireachtas.

In a move which will be portrayed as a significant climbdown by opponents, Communications Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey, told an emergency meeting of Fianna Fáil TDs last night that he will bring forward extra legislation to introduce a system of administrative penalties for "technical" and "minor" fishery offences.

The promise was also referred to in a letter from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to several Fianna Fáil TDs yesterday.

The contentious Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill has caused bitter debate among Fianna Fáil TDs from coastal constituencies and prompted a sustained backbench campaign against proposed measures to criminalise illegal over-fishing. The introduction of a paralell system of "administrative penalties" will render impotent the new legislation: create work for lawyers in the courts. and ensure that the rogue fishermen will continue to evade justice and the E.E.U. dictates re illegal fishing and quota abuse.

When Fianna Fail are forced to introduce any kind of reforms /legislation,whether relating to planning pollution or poaching , by the E.E.U., their first act is,invariably, to emasculate it.!

Examiner :30 August 2006

Anglers soft target as nets scoop the catch

ANGLERS are now being informed by the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards that certain districts must exercise catch-and-release of all salmon caught in these areas from September 1 to 30. They say this is to conserve salmon stocks.

Is it not amazing that both drift and draught nets were allowed to take to 500,000 salmon out of the system up to the end of the net season with no thought for conservation?

Once again, the angler is the easy target. Great fishing was had once again this year by the north-west area anglers as their salmon came direct from their feeding grounds with very few drift nets to avoid.

To get to the Kerry and Cork rivers, the salmon have to try to pass every drift net on the west coast. The few that manage this feat then have to negotiate the licensed draught nets in the estuaries and rivers, as well as the poachers’ nets.

Figures for June and July last year gave the Moy system approximately 350 salmon per week and the Ballysadare river 100-plus per week. I would guess that all the Kerry rivers together would have been hard pushed to produce 50 salmon for this whole period.

In the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards’ information sheet just received by post, it states that Kerry anglers are allowed to take one salmon per day.

However, on the reverse side of the sheet it states that the river Feale comes within the catch-and-release area. Is not the river Feale in Kerry? Another Irish solution to an Irish problem.

David Moriarty
12 Cahill’s Park
Tralee
Co Kerry

"Poor" fishermen.and Fianna Fail.

 

And now the for the "Tour-de-Force, Massive overfishing, by a  number of Irish "Supertrawlers" based in Killybegs and Castletownbere.

These boats were recently catching five times the Irish national quota of Mackerel,for example,with complete immunity,from any punishment, thanks to Fianna Fail,s indifference to the plunder of our national fisheries. The EU Committee for Common Fisheries Policy recently introduced a Bill, known as The Sea-Fisheries and Marine Jurisdiction Bill 2005, which all EU Member States were required to bring before their parliament. This bill is described as a long overdue piece of legislation designed to modernise EU laws, including of course Irish law, and to bring it into line with the new EU regulatory system.

It was pointed out that the need for such a bill was emphasised by two Supreme Court cases which exposed loopholes in the existing law and showed how hard it was to deal with the problem of illegal fishing.

It was against this background that this new bill was drafted and published early October with the Dáil debate on the bill timed to take place on Thursday, October 13. However, on the night before it was due to be debated in the Dáil, this very important piece of EU legislation to protect the future of Irish fish stocks was pulled by the Government.

The reason for this was because our local representative in the Dáil, Bantry-based Deputy Denis O’Donovan, said that he would defy the Government whip and vote against this new bill.

Although Deputy O’Donovan has the backing of a few other Fianna Fáil backbenchers, as well as Fine Gael’s John Perry and Tommy Broughan, the Labour Party spokesman on Marine, it is common knowledge in fishing circles that these objections to the bill come from a powerful small number of the large super trawlers.

The decision to pull the bill had now left the Irish fishing grounds open to overfishing by native and foreign factory trawlers and has exposed the Irish taxpayer to massive EU fines.

"That the Government abandoned its plans to protect the national interest and instead capitulated to a small vested interest group of wealthy trawler owners, backed by a handful of Fianna Fáil TDs, is a salutary tale about the way the clientelism in Irish politics works against the common good."

The European Common Fisheries Committee is already involved in seven European Court cases against Ireland in respect of alleged overfishing or inadequate control and enforcement over the past ten years. It’s rather amusing to find that both the Fine Gael and Labour parties are colluding with the Government against the interests of the Irish taxpayer, not to mention the environmental destruction involved. While Deputy O’Donovan opposes this bill to restrict overfishing, he agrees with the salmon anglers that a bill should be drafted which curtails drift net fishermen.

A FAILURE to hire enough fisheries staff left Ireland with another embarrassing defeat in the European Courts December 2005.

The Court backed the complaint from the European Commission that Ireland hadn't been able to provide adequate statistical data on fisheries catches for two years, in 1999 and 2000, In its defence, the Department of Marine offered mitigating circumstances, explaining that it didn't have enough personnel at the time and that its computer system wasn't able to provide some of the complex information it should have done. But neither argument impressed the 25-judge court, which ordered Ireland to pay costs.

While irish fishermen have been a law unto themselves for decades.ignoring every rule on catch limitation,and virtually wiping out Cod species in Irish waters,Mr Joe Walsh T.D. has called for a new Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill to be amended and to decriminalise the majority of fishery offences so that only very serious fishery infringements should attract criminal proceedings, Mr.Joe Walsh T.D. said that the punishment should fit the offence. Pointing out that as it stood the provisions of the Bill were contrary to the European system of dealing with fisheries offences where 86% of them are dealt with "administratively" !, Mr. Walsh said he understood that the EU Commission favoured administrative sanctions over criminal proceedings.

Mr. Walsh concluded by saying, "Speaking to fishermen, I know that they are in the depths of despair, they are struggling financially and now they see this Bill as the final nail in the Regulations for the Industry, but we, as Legislators, cannot preside over draconian measures."

Indeed.!

 

"Draconian Legislation" at last..!

Fishing group bemoans legislative minefield
Tuesday, 8 April 2008 09:05
The Chairman of the Federation of Irish Fishermen has said fishermen are being penalised by what he described as a minefield of legislation, which he said could lead to the risk of criminal prosecution.

Michael Walsh claimed fishermen are being pursued like criminals for trying to make a living.

There is a huge level of anger in the fishing industry which has not decreased since the inclusion of fishing offences in the Criminal Justice Bill.

Other European countries apply penalties under an administrative system, but the Government here decided to make fishing offences criminal.

That led to strong protests and the umbrella organisation for all fishing organisations has raised the issue again.

It has put a document with proposals to the Government, pointing out that, faced with what he described as a 'minefield of legislation' coming from the EU, fishermen can find themselves with a criminal record that affects their entire lives for minor fishing offences.

Mr Walsh said that this was now an issue at the top of the agenda for the FIF because it was a disgraceful way to treat men living in coastal areas, trying to earn a living in a tough, dangerous occupation, who were treated in a deplorable way that was a travesty of justice.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008 17:42
Fishermen face tougher enforcement of catching regulations with the introduction of the new Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

It was officially launched this afternoon by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The authority's chairman, Peter Whelan, said it would enforce a 'culture of compliance' every hour of every day to end illegal fishing.

The SFPA is the latest hand of enforcement on the fishing industry - independent of Government and effectively a police force for EU regulations, which themselves are becoming increasingly complex and which fishermen claim are squeezing the life out of the industry.

Its headquarters are at Clonakilty in west Cork and its inspectors have already been active in reporting fishing boats and onshore operations for breaches of regulations and threatening prosecutions.

Mr Whelan denied allegations it was heavy-handed and appealed to the industry to work with the authority to end illegal fishing.

While fishing industry representative organisations say they also want an end to illegal fishing, they have expressed some reservations about the actions of authority inspectors.