SALMON CURRENTLY PASSING THROUGH FERMOY WEIR
The following is a statement from the secretary of Fermoy Town and District Angling Club, Chris O’Donovan regarding the ongoing controversy surrounding the weir in Fermoy.
“It gives me great pleasure to see salmon and other fresh water creatures going through Fermoy weir. It also gives me time to reflect on our journeys to Brussels and to the Dail where I humoured the people present when I stated that salmon were being caught right through the season above Fermoy bridge as recorded on an angler’s log book, pointing out that they were hardly getting the bus up from Youghal.
“I can also recall the first meeting in The Grand Hotel with the Southern Fisheries Board, when they had a video recording of salmon failing to clear Fermoy weir in 2003. The reality that year was that it was a long and dry summer.
"The Fishery Board were quickly on hand that time with members of a local fishing association to lay sand bags on the weir to help the salmon to get up. This was a disaster as they failed to tie the sand bags and they were washed down to litter the riverbed. They also ordered two timber and metal fish passes at a cost of €38,000 - these were rejected by a higher authority.
As far as I know they are buried in a landfill, what a waste. Our club members and friends asked the town council for more sand bags the next day and tied them off, placed them in a zig zag fashion on the weir and salmon were smiling as they passed us up the weir. Why can’t the Fishery Board film the salmon now passing through Fermoy?”
OUR CAMPAIGN AND COSTS
“As a small organisation, our costs also ran very high. We are totally a voluntary body and every cent is important to us. In response to councillors asking us to fundraise or pay for use of the river, they really should do some homework first. We pay taxes on our highly successful wheely boat; we also pay stamp duty on our salmon licence.
"We do not ask people to pay for fishing unlike other bodies that demand €100 to fish for the year on local water. Why not ask them to pay or fundraise, as they have done nothing to encourage tourism.”
SALMON CONSERVATION STAMP DUTY
“Salmon stamp duty is a form of poll tax on an angler with a local licence costing the individual €29 and a national cost of €60. With 3,000 licences issued on the Blackwater, the annual figure is approximately €90,000. This is far greater in national figures.
"Now we ask the councillors why they have not enquired about such funding? The Central Fishery Board clearly states that this funding is available for such projects; we just want to know has anybody made contact or even spoken to the Central Fishery Board? It is quite clear the town council is governed by the senior civil servants, therefore it’s in their interest that the OPW carry out the work on the weir.
"It is also becoming clearer that the unions of such civil servants will favour the more expensive option, the rock fish pass. The sad part is they will use the stamp duty to pay for this and keep themselves in high paid employment. This, in reality, is pure white collar crime with no regard for the organisations that have worked so hard to save the weir.”
SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION
“As an angling body, it is in our interest to ensure that the river is healthy and that salmon do get up the river. Fermoy is a special area of conservation and protected under the EU Habitat Directive. People, animals, birdlife, insects, fish etc., have evolved since 1175 on this unique waterway.”
“Therefore, the destruction of Fermoy weir would have a devastating impact on this environment and be in direct violation of the EU law. Then I quote Minister Conor Lenihan at a meeting in the Dail, if the water level drops above Fermoy weir in excess of the proposed level, (I will rebuild the original weir). We just ask ye to stop this madness and repair the weir.”
Thursday 22nd July 6:17pm