It is proposed to introduce a new Inland Fisheries Act to consolidate, update and amend existing legislation which governs the conservation, protection, management and development of the inland fisheries and sea angling resources. The Minister of State, with responsibility for Inland Fisheries at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Fergus O’Dowd T.D., has undertaken to engage in public consultation in relation to the proposed Bill and now wishes to elicit the views of all who may have an interest in its content. The Minister of State wishes to ensure that the new legislation is easily understood, adaptable and proportionate and the intention is to present Heads of Bill to the Government for approval in the coming months. The primary policy objective is to enhance and develop the inland fisheries and sea angling resource and maximise the economic and social return from the sector. Interested parties are invited to submit written proposals or observations for consideration prior to presenting Heads of Bill to the Government. There are currently 13 separate Acts, the first of which dates back to 1959, governing inland fisheries and submissions are invited on any aspect of the existing legislation. For further information on Inland Fisheries Acts please click here.In particular, the Minister of State would also welcome the views of interested parties on the following matters:
- The need to broaden the scope of legislation to adequately protect all species of inland fish (including recreationally angled marine fish species) thus allowing the Department to regulate, develop and increase the value of domestic and overseas recreational angling to the Irish economy and to augment employment in the sector;
- How we can empower local communities, users and beneficiaries to be involved in the development of the fisheries resource, its management and conservation; and to contribute to the funding of the resource;
- How to address the complex ownership and title issues which have hampered the development of fisheries and how to maximise the return from the fisheries sector to both the state and local beneficiaries, in terms of social, economic and environmental benefits;
- How the current penalties and offences system can be improved to more appropriately deal with minor breaches of fisheries law and to reduce the number of cases being prosecuted before the courts, while still acting as a sufficient deterrent;
- The measures required in primary legislation to protect the native fisheries aquatic eco-system and riparian zone from invasive species and what bio-security measures need to be introduced in primary legislation; and
- How the current rates system for private fisheries can be reformed to make the system more equitable.
This consultation process presents stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute to the consideration of new and modern legislative measures. Minister of State O’Dowd is intent on receiving a comprehensive range of views to inform, in as far as possible elements of the new draft legislation. Submissions received will be published on the Department’s website following the conclusion of the consultation process. Submissions may be e-mailed to IFLegislation@dcenr.gov.ie, or posted to Mr John Donohoe Inland Fisheries Division Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Elm House Earls Vale Road Cavan