At the Local Area Committee meeting in Listowel, the decision handed down was to give the nets 67.5% of the Total Allowable Catch and 32.5% to the anglers. From any point of view, this has to be seen as a massive kick in the teeth to anglers. If the net catch is divided evenly between the 38 nets, they are being given 51 salmon per boat. The salmon allocation for anglers works out at 2 salmon per angler. As the modern youth would say, “Go figure!”
The contribution to the state from Net licences is around€15,000 while the anglers licences contribute at least €25,00. And that is only the beginning. All the clubs on the river have committed huge sums to the protection of the banks and development of the spawning areas. This investment was in cash and in labour, which was given freely. This work is done on an annual basis and it would not be unreasonable to put a figure close to €500,000 as the investment from the five clubs on the river.
The IFI board was set up to transform salmon management in Ireland. Their mission statement spoke of a professional business like approach to the management of the catch. The dogs in the street know that the value of a rod caught salmon is at least €1000. A ten pound salmon from the net will return around €80 to the netsman. Where is the economic benefit to the state in giving nets the bulk of the salmon harvest?
A just system would give the different disciplines a pro rata return for their investment to the state. Based on the licence fees alone, this would give 60% to the rods and 40% to the nets. This does not even address the investment by the clubs in the fisheries they manage.
It is time the anglers took action against this injustice!