Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The benefits and the threats

There is no doubt that tourism is a major contributor to the Irish economy. With overseas tourist visits for 2008 estimated at 8.2million people, foreign exchange earnings for the same period were at €4.9 billion, and the tourism and hospitality sector is currently supporting 12% of jobs in Ireland.

An International market research report has revealed that Ireland is a key competitor in the market for British, French and German anglers. The report, commissioned by the Marine Institute, will be launched by Mr. Fahey T.D., Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, at an Overseas Angling Tourism Seminar in Galway. (2002)
£24 million has been secured for the development of the Tourism Angling over the next 5 years under the National Development Plan", said the Minister. "This report will help underpin a focused approach to marketing and promotion to ensure that this money is invested effectively, by matching Ireland's angling product to the needs and desires of the target markets", he concluded.
Key attributes identified by foreign anglers that could give Ireland the competitive edge are the unspoilt nature of the environment, the availability and quality of wild fish stock, the possibility for seclusion and the famous Irish welcome.
Source the Marine Institute

The future success of the tourism industry, however, is inextricably linked to the quality of our environment. Our scenic landscapes, coastline, rivers and lakes, and cultural heritage are the bedrock upon which Irish tourism has been built. The economic viability and competitiveness of the Irish tourism industry can only be sustained if the quality of this raw material is maintained. Ireland’s tourism industry now, more than ever, relies on strong environmental and sustainable policies.

Some of the major opportunities that lie ahead for the marine sector in Ireland include:

Exploiting growing international markets for seafood products, especially health foods;
Exploiting new niche global markets in marine environmental technologies; Developing new tourism offerings in angling, boating and water sports that provide exciting experiences in a quality marine environment;
Source the Marine Institute

The angling tourism sector is now particularly vulnerable and is at risk of loosing a huge part of that marine opportunity and the current benefit to the economy and existing jobs. The latest FIF proposal to re-open commercial bass fishing in this country is without doubt the greatest single challenge that angling tourism has faced for many years.

The biggest challenge that angling tourism faces is the one that presents itself with a fa├žade of pseudo responsibility, effective resource management and job creation whilst at the same time hiding behind a veil of expected and anticipated public sympathy when times are tough. Why should we have sympathy for an industry that marches from the decimation of one species to the next and then holds its hands out for subsidies with the shocked and surprised look of ‘where did all the fish go' whenever the latest resource dissappears?

Sean Connick TD is now the Minister for Fisheries. Deputy Connick has spoken about some issues recently –extracts from his website @ http://www.seanconnick.ie/

Local Fianna Fail TD Sean Connick spoke about the fishing industry in Wexford at a number of recent meetings of the Oireachtas Committee on European Scrutiny. Deputy Connick, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Committee on European Scrutiny, used the opportunity of these meetings, which were addressed by the Federation of Irish Fishermen and the Minister for Fisheries, Tony Killeen TD, to raise issues which are of concern to local fishermen.

Among the issues raised by Deputy Connick at these meetings were:

Consultation with fishermen over stock “Are fishermen ever consulted on the question of fish stocks? Many fishermen complain to me about scientists’ estimates of stocks. While scientists say cod stocks are depleted, fishermen will say they are leaping out of the sea. Similarly, fishermen complain that they have not been allowed to fish bass for ten years although they are obviously plentiful. Are fishermen consulted on the question of what species can or cannot be fished?”

Deputy Connick also mentioned the need to re-open fishing in sea bass, eels and cockles; the difficulties criminal sanctions against fishermen pose when administrative sanctions should be used as an alternative; and the difficult relationship local fishermen have with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

Deputy Connick informed the Oireachtas Committee that the fishing industry in certain ports in Co. Wexford had been decimated in recent years “There are a number of fishing ports in Wexford in which I am acutely aware of the decimation of the industry. Decimation is the only word we can use in discussing what has happened to the fishing industry here in recent years. The same is true of what has happened upriver, forms of fishing on rivers, including eel, salmon and cockle fishing are now either banned, about to be banned or cannot be engaged in.”

There is much to be learned from the above.

It is absolutely vital that anglers now take this opportunity to write to or visit Deputy Sean Connick immediately to express their feelings about

How much they spend on their Bass fishing and how much it benefits people in remote costal communities.

How much it means of the sheer enjoyment of been able to go and catch some fish and the possibilities of angling in one of Europes greatest saltwater resources

The importance of maintaining sea Bass as a recreational resource is the only way to manage the species. Commercial fisherman have already demonstrated they cannot sustainably manage the species. Why else did the government close the commercial fishing in 1987?

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Between 1985 and 1995 Bass numbers in Irish waters reached their lowest levels. estimates, based on anglers’ catches, suggest populations were 1.4% of their levels prior to 1967. In 1987 a ban on commercial fishing was introduced but five years later, Irish-caught Bass were still on sale in shops and restaurants. The ban on sale and on (commercial) fishing appears to have arrested the decline and, in the following decade, Bass numbers increased threefold. Illegal fishing has not however been eliminated.

Source Ed Fahy 5th March 2010

Bass angling is an €8 million annual, sustainable and growing industry. It employs hundreds of people all over the country directly and indirectly and can continue to grow and develop and be sustainable and those jobs and the fishery must be protected.

At which point in time are anglers going to realise they are important, much more important than they can realise - this is the time for that realisation.

Write to :Minister Sean Connick Priory Lane The Quay New Ross Co. Wexford

Email: sean.connick@oireachtas.ie Mobile: 087 2564576

New Website

The beginning AND the end…

Forwarded to - The Irish Bass Policy Group (David McInerny, John Quinlan, Shane O Reilly, Mike Hennessy, Dr William Roche, Dr Nial O'Ma...