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Written Answers. - Fisheries Protection.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 302. Cecilia Keaveney Information on Cecilia Keaveney Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern  the role that the seal plays in conservation of fish stock; the proposals within the Fischler plans to deal with this aspect of sustainable development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23309/02]

[252]Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern Regarding the role that the seal plays in the conservation of fish stocks, seals eat a wide array of fish and invertebrates, although their diet appears to vary considerably depending on location, time of year and the abundance of available prey. Studies undertaken by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, BIM, off north Mayo indicate that commercially exploited whitefish species such as whiting can form 50% to 80% of seal diet. I stress however that the interaction between seals and fish stocks is a complex one.

The proposals for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy do not specifically refer to the role of seals in the conservation of fish stocks. In so far as national management of the seal population is concerned, this falls to be considered under the wildlife acts, which are administered by the Department of the Environment and Local Government.


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