FISSTA clarify policy and Support sister federation TAFI

Thanks John Buckley for posting on my timeline and bringing this letter to the notice of FISSTA. Just to confirm that on 25th November 2013 the CEO of IFI Ciaran Byrne at the National Inland Fisheries Forum in Athlone presented their intention to impose a state angling contribution or what we understood to be a new rod license replacing our present salmon one at a reduced rate for us. Following intense and a united lobbying from both FISSTA and TAFI this proposal was withdrawn by Ciaran Byrne at a specially convened meeting on Dec 8th in Lucan Spa Hotel under instruction from Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd TD. This impasse is now removed and discussions are ongoing on the drafting of the new fisheries legislation without any reference to a state angling contribution. The FISSTA submission to IFI DCENR and the Minister repeats our long established policy of protest against a Rod license imposed on us by legislation. But we must pay one to fish or we would be breaking the law. We have campaigned for many years for the state to remove the unfair and anti competitive license to allow us compete with license free Scotland for to increase tourism revenue. Instead, and at a time when state management should have protected our sector to flourish as the driftnets came off, we got penalised as rivers closed and our Rod licence cost trebled over a 4 year period to 2007 to Ôé¼120 losing over 70% of our salmonid members to non license angling waters. To this day, our clubs are just surviving from kind donations and hard fundraising work to pay for private and state waters to fish every year. Along with the major threats of pollution, salmon farms, commercial netting in estuaries, we continue our campaigning to protect our angling rights to waters we have fished for generations. We expect IFI and the state to protect our wild Atlantic salmon and sport which is valued overall at Ôé¼755m to our economy and supporting over 10,000 jobs. Sadly, we find ourselves alone in our campaigns to survive and no additional number of state rod licenses sold will change the present policy that is firmly wiping out the sport that we hold dear. With over 90 of our 153 rivers still closed to taking a salmon or seatrout for the pot, our fisheries are bleeding to death and require urgent management action. So, we need new legislation to turn it around fast and we value the support of our angling clubs who endorsed our policies on 24th November 2013 at our last agm and every agm to date. We communicate with and speak for all our clubs on the future of our sport and stocks. We withdrew from state funded Angling Council of Ireland and take no money from them or any other state body that try to silence or influence us against serving the angler on their water. At international level, FISSTA punch well above our weight and were honoured to to be voted to present the NGO statement to the nineteen salmon countries in attendance at the 30th Nasco conference last June. Fissta organised over 20 public awareness events last year against Minister Coveneys ten mega salmon farm plan and have the support of Nasf Chairman Orri Vigfusson who we invited here to lead our Galway city public demo last March 2nd 2013. That is why we lead all the charges against bad fisheries planning and mismanagement wherever we find it and we ask all clubs with salmon and seatrout in them to register with FISSTA for 2014. In Donegal, both Federations campaign against IFI policy in the taking of our waters and the legal challenge is ongoing to the Supreme Court at present. We encourage all FISSTA clubs (if they can afford it) to cross affiliate with TAFI and support the conservation of our wild stocks while we still have a some left.