The Future for Atlantic Salmon in Northern Ireland; A consultation response

A vision for the Future for Wild Atlantic Salmon in Northern Ireland, or the North.

(whatever you prefer)  

Readers may or may not be aware that there is a public consultation document to discuss the future for the management of salmon in Northern Ireland.

Basically this involves deploying a new structure for fisheries protection and management in Northern Ireland. The Fisheries Conservancy Board in its old form is to be amalgamated into the Department for Culture arts and Leisure. The consultation is a vital opportunity for you to have a say in the development of your fishing in Northern Ireland. Therefore it is vital that as many of you as possible contribute to the recent consultation document perhaps through your local club which will begin the process of returning salmon in abundance to the rivers of Northern Ireland.

The successful drift net buy out provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on the increased runs to our rivers to ensure a better future for salmon in Northern Ireland. We all need to do what we can to build a sustainable abundance of salmon and trout in the rivers of Northern Ireland.

If you wish to have any further information please contact me as below or look at www.dcalni.gov.uk

www.naturallivingassets.com

Vision

 

What is your vision for Atlantic salmon in Northern Ireland?

The review of salmon management in Ireland needs to be visionary and commit to maximising the remnant potential of our greatest natural living asset which is wild Atlantic salmon.  Northern Ireland has incredibly unique assets to support a vision of future abundance where rivers are full of salmon, for anglers to catch and to inspire anglers, non anglers and tourists alike.

Planning for future abundance

The time is ripe for Northern Ireland to go on a journey to further develop its huge potential for abundant wild Atlantic Salmon and trout. A vision supported by a realistic plan is required to guide us there.

Recent successes and future opportunities

There are many recent examples of good works implemented by angling clubs and professional fisheries managers. For example hatchery regeneration projects, in stream habitat improvements and pollution prevention projects that are beginning to bear fruit. The hard working, committed and undervalued innovators of these works would welcome plenty of support and recognition for their work. The vision needs to be forward looking and ambitious. There are numerous rivers and streams not achieving their full potential. For example all the Lough Neagh Rivers, Lower Bann Rivers, Lough Erne System, The River Bush, the Glens and all the rivers rising in the Mournes and the river Lagan can all contribute to future salmon abundance. Strangford Lough and perhaps Larne Lough could be world class sea trout fisheries and probably once were.

Goals and Outcomes

It would be encouraging to see goals and outcomes planned over 5 to 10 years as most things in fishery management are long term projects. Projects should be accounted for by their future sustainable future value. Salmon and trout are a renewable resource that have been around since before the last ice age when they re colonised our stream in Ireland.

I do hope that you will consider contacting your club and taking the opportunity at club meetings etc to discuss your future angling prospects in Northern Ireland.

You may like to consider the following.

             Fisheries

            *Fisheries Act Northern Ireland 1966 and as subsequently amended.

            *Law of the land re Fisheries in Northern Ireland.

            *Public Estate Fisheries.

            *Private Estate Fisheries.

            *Revenue raising system. License as in Ireland and England or a Riparian Tax as in Scotland.

            *The market place for Angling and the needs of local communities.

            *Water framework directive

            *EU policy

            .

            Policy

            What non statutory structures are already in place to facilitate a vision for   fisheries and how do these need to be modified to secure a realisation of your            Vision. For example Angling Clubs, Fisheries Commissioners, Associations,   Forums, statutory, nonstatutory groups, Non government organisations.

            Processes

            What processes can DCAL put in place to deliver your vision and assist in achieving your development plan?           

           

            Representation?       

            How can DCAL function as a representative organisation? Who will they   represent and what will they be responsible for?

 

            Interdependent Management          

            Where does DCAL have overlap responsibility within the Lochs Agency    district and what can they learn from them?

           

            Fisheries Protection

            What are the goals and aims of fisheries protection and how are these         implemented?

 

            Designing for best practice

            To what extent are the resources of Fisheries protection aligned with           need.   Is there a vision for a way forward? Should there be a complete             review of Fisheries management in Northern Ireland.

            Socio economic outcomes

            What economic and socio economic measures are used to assess outcomes and       funding. 

           

            Funding

            The FCB was supposed to be financially self sufficient via licensing. What             other suggestions do you have to provide funding and or support for you clubs           goals? 

           

I look forward to hearing the results of your discussion and responses and to abundant runs of salmon and trout in the years ahead.

Yours sincerely

Brendan Kerr

Natural Living Assets

www.naturallivingassets.com

07852 685 854

58 Central Avenue

Bangor

BT20 3AW 

Answers to specific questions in section 4


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 4

 

 

DEPARTMENTAL

PROPOSALS

AND QUESTIONNAIRE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This completed Questionnaire should be returned to the Response Co-ordinator in the pre-paid envelope provided, by the consultation closing date of  11th April 2008.

 

 

 

4.1  Introduction:

The Department has already developed some proposals for a new stakeholder forum which are outlined below.   The Department would welcome your views on each of these and has included some pre-set questions which you may like to consider. There is space to expand your answers if required

In developing these proposals, the Department has analysed various existing Forums (some of which are detailed above) and theoretical stakeholder models.

4.2  Proposed title of the new Stakeholder Forum:

The Department is proposing to name the new Forum as follows:

The Salmon and Inland Fisheries Forum (NI)

  • Do you agree with this proposed title?

 

 

No

 

 

  • Have you any other suggestions for a title?

 

 

 

Salmon and Inland Fisheries Forum for Sustainable and Abundant salmon stocks in Northern Ireland to maximise socio economic and environmental value.

 

 

 

 

4.3  Proposed composition of the new Stakeholder Forum:

The Department is proposing that the composition of the new Forum include some of the stakeholder groups currently represented on the FCB.  However, it is further proposed that current representation from CBI, Sports Council or NITB should not form part of the new Forum as these are not direct stakeholders and have other official means of communicating directly with Government. The proposed stakeholder interests are listed below:

  • Affiliated anglers
  • Unaffiliated anglers
  • Commercial Fisheries
  • Representatives of Commercial Fishermen
  • Fishery Owners and operators
  • Landowners
  • Fishery Management Interests
  • District Councils
  • Environmental Non-Government Agencies

 

  • Do you agree with this proposed list of stakeholder groups?

 

 

No. Anglers need to be more strongly represented. The number of positions and the balance of vested interests require to be rebalanced. For example now that salmon netting has been mostly removed form the coast of Northern Ireland to promote sustainability of salmon stocks in Northern Ireland, a greater weighting needs to be allocated to angling clubs and their representatives. Other bodies responsible for the sustainability of wild Atlantic Salmon should also be represented and enabled to influence a strategy.

 

The size of the opportunity from angling clubs needs to fully, and fairly assessed to ensure more abundant Atlantic Salmon stocks returning to Northern Ireland’s rivers and to fulfil the promise of sustainability. Angling clubs working with DCAL or other departmental organisation need support to deliver sustainable outcomes. 

 

  • Are there any other stakeholder groups that you think should be represented?

 

An independent body responsible for the holistic promotion of salmon abundance within the context of broad socio economic value of Atlantic salmon would add future value to the Natural Living Asset that is Atlantic salmon in Northern Ireland.

 

There is a need to accommodate NGO groups to facilitate progress and management of the resource.

 

There needs to be promotion of an interdependent approach to the management and development of the wild Atlantic salmon resource in Northern Ireland. One individual proprietor for example would benefit from co operating with other parts of the system to facilitate a holistic improvement of all fisheries within catchments. For example it would be useful to have an umbrella group for the development of all Lough Neagh Tributaries in addition to lower Bann fisheries to the benefit of salmon and the socio economic value they create. Such a group should be represented.     

 

 

  • Are there any of the proposed stakeholder groups which you feel should not be included?

 

The weighting given to organisations interested in the commercial exploitation of salmon (and trout) needs to be balanced against a greater socio economic need and the opportunity for enhanced salmon angling in Northern Ireland. Other bodies set up to deliver a supportive habitat improvements would add value and therefore need to be represented on a fisheries protection forum.

 

 

4.4  Proposed Organisations from whom nominations will be sought:

 

The Department proposes to seek nominations from the following Organisations to sit on the new Salmon and Inland Fisheries Forum (the proposed number of nominations to be sought is also included): 

 

 

Stakeholder Group

 

Proposed Nominating Body Number of Nominations sought
Unaffiliated Anglers To be filled from public advertisement 2
Affiliated Anglers NI Angling Advisory Council 2
Commercial Fisheries Toome Eel Company Ltd

Lough Neagh Fishermans Co-operative Society Ltd

1

1

Other Representatives of commercial fishermen Lough Erne Fishermen’s Association

Lough Neagh Commercial Fishermen (through advertisement and invitation) )

North Coast Drift Net Association

North Coast Salmon Fisheries Federation

1

1

1

1

Fishery Owners and Operators Bann Systems Ltd

Other Fishery Owner (to be filled from public advertisement)

1

1

Landowners To be filled from public advertisement 2
Fishery Management Interests Institute of Fisheries Management 1
District Councils NI Local Government Association 1
Environmental Non-Government Agencies Freshwater Task Force 1

 

( NB: The Department would wish to retain the right to alter the makeup of the Forum to take into account issues such as persistent non-attendance of representatives, changes in the relative interest and strength of existing groups and the emergence of new issues/pressures and relevant groupings).

 

  • Do you agree with the nominating bodies listed?

 

There needs to be many more spaces available to anglers. Angling clubs can be a vital cog in the development of sustainable salmon fisheries and need to be represented strongly as a key vested interest. Whilst many clubs can be represented as affiliates it would be preferable for a more diverse group of angling clubs to be represented as well. There are many current strategic issues such as the European Water framework Directive the, Nitrates directive, and sustainability targets that require input into the structure of a future fisheries protection forum.

 

There needs to be at least 7 Angling representatives (perhaps regionally based along Water Framework Directive boundaries) to facilitate an effective policing and conservation organisation for fisheries protection.

 

  • Are there any other nominating bodies which you feel should be included?

 

An umbrella organisation that is responsible to assess socio economic return from the resource and which is responsible for the development of sustainability and the promotion of socio economic value from natural resources.   

 

 

  • Are there any proposed nominating bodies which you feel should be excluded and why?

 

Short term focused commercial operations need to be aware of the imperative for sustainability and the development of long term sustainability plans that accommodate the needs for socio economic gain for the greater good. We are now in a period of increased environmental awareness where sustainability of natural living assets like salmon is crucial. The balance therefore needs to on future sustainability including salmon abundance limited only by bio diversity and habitat constraints.    

 

  • Do you agree with the number of nominations sought from each nominating body?

 

No; needs to re balanced in favour of organisations that pursue sustainability and future abundance at the heart of their goals.

 

 

4.5  Proposed method of Nominations by stakeholder groups:

 

The Departments proposes that each Stakeholder Group will be invited to self-nominate representatives to sit on the Forum.  Where there is no recognised body to nominate, as in the case of unaffiliated anglers, nominations will be sought by the Department by means of public advertisement and interview if more than the requisite number of applications are received.  It is further proposed that representatives are appointed for a 3 year period which may be extended if necessary.

  • Do you agree with the proposed method of selection as outlined above?

 

Need for strong and thorough representation perhaps via a regional structure along Water framework directive lines.

 

 

 

  • Do you have any other views on how selection should take place?

 

Democratic appointment from regional angling clubs and nominations from other central agencies.

 

 

  • Do you agree with the proposed period of appointment?

 

Yes

4.6  Proposed location of Stakeholder Forum:

 

It is proposed that the meeting place for the new Fisheries Forum will be the current Headquarters of the Fisheries Conservancy Board at Mahon Road in Portadown.  Many of the proposed stakeholder groups are already familiar with this location from attendance at FCB meetings and the infrastructure is already in place to facilitate such meetings.

  • Do you agree with the proposed meeting place for the new Fisheries Forum?

 

Could also consider more central offices and select from a number of suitable venues for appropriate assessment and selection.

 

 

  • Do you have any alternative proposals as to where meetings of the new Forum could take place?

 

Since Lough Neagh drains nearly 40 % of Northern Ireland’s rivers it would be worth considering venues around Lough Neagh.

 

 

4.7  Proposed leadership structure of Stakeholder Forum:

 

It is proposed that a Chair and Deputy Chair would be elected by representatives at the first meeting of the Forum.

  • Do you agree with this method of selecting a Chair and Deputy Chair?

 

No should be open to a wide democratic and transparent selection process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Can you suggest any other methods of selecting candidates for these two posts?

 

4.8  Proposed frequency of Stakeholder Forum meetings:

 

It is proposed that the new Forum should meet on an Annual basis with ad-hoc meetings as decided by members or at the request of the Department.

  • Do you agree with the proposed frequency of meetings?

 

 

Should meet about 10 times per year and perhaps less when the newly formed forum has a chance to become established and functions effectively. How wilt hw context for success be determined?

 

 

 

 

  • Can you suggest any other meeting schedule?

 

10 times per year. ie more than once a quarter until well established and functioning as a truly organisation achieving effective conservation goals developmental and sustainability targets.

4.9  Attendance at meetings:

 

It is proposed that the selected representatives should attend all meetings as scheduled.  If they are unable to attend, a substitute representative can attend in their place.  All such substitutes must be agreed with the Chair or Deputy Chair.

  • Do you agree with the proposal above?

 

Yes,

There should be scope for reasonable excuse to be allowed but not beyond missing three meetings in a year.

 

  • Are there any other attendance issues which should be considered?

 

Northern Ireland is blessed with a unique geography and has the potential to develop a future where environmental and sustainable development priorities ensure that the salmon fisheries in and around Northern Ireland flourish to achieve abundance, biodiversity and add value to local communities. The tourism market and local communities would benefit from a forward looking and ambitious target for the new agency.

4.10  Proposed role of the Forum:

The view of the Department is that the role of the new Forum should be a consultative one.  The Department will consult with the Forum as appropriate on policy issues and seek advice and guidance on policy options if required.  The Forum will also be encouraged to discuss any issues relevant to salmon and inland fisheries and forward proposals for consideration by the Department.  The Forum must reach consensus on issues before forwarding any view to the Department for consideration.

The Forum would have the power to set-up specialised sub-committees formed for particular issues as they arose and their view brought to the main Group for agreement and forwarding to the Department.  Outside expertise can be co-opted to such committees to assist as necessary.

  • Do you agree with the proposed role as outlined above?

 

Yes in the context of promoting the sustainability and future abundance of Wild Atlantic salmon in Northern Ireland.

 

 

  • Do you have any other views on the role of the Forum?

 

4.11  Proposed Secretarial support:

Secretarial support for the new Forum will be provided by the Department. The Forum will liaise with appropriate staff to organise paperwork and any other secretarial duties as and when required.

  • Do you agree with the proposed secretarial support structure outlined above?

 

The aims of sustainability and abundance would be met by detaching the functioning of the forum from departmental control by facilitating an independent charity structure to promoted sustainability and abundance. Angling clubs as major users of the resource would have a large role to play in facilitating abundance and sustainability. A vision for future abundance articulated by local clubs associations and leading salmon development organisations and DCAL could help define best outcomes.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Do you have any other suggestions for secretarial support?

 

 

Professionalise secretarial support for angling clubs to support the agency responsible for fisheries protection. 

 

4.12  Remuneration of members:

Members will not be paid but may claim expenses for attendance at meetings or any other expense incurred.

  • Do you agree with the proposal above?

 

Yes

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