Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General - Press release VFM examination report on Management of Inland Fisheries

Press Release

Report on the Management of Inland Fisheries

12 November 1997

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. John Purcell, has carried out an examination of the management of inland fisheries by the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources and the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards. A report on the examination is being presented to Dáil ?reann today and a copy is enclosed for your information.


The overall administration of inland fisheries is the responsibility of the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources. The Central Fisheries Board provides specialist services and coordinates the activities of the Regional Fisheries Boards which are, in turn, responsible for managing the fisheries of their respective regions.

The Exchequer and the European Union provided four fifths of the ?12.8m spent by the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards in 1995; the remainder came from the Boards’ own resources.


The examination focused on the:

  • overall management of inland fisheries
  • management of specific fishing products
  • management of fisheries protection
  • management of water quality.

The main findings of the examination, under each of these headings, are summarised overleaf.

Publication Details

VFM Report No. 18: The Management of Inland Fisheries (Publication reference: Pn. 4099) will go on sale in the Government Publication Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 on 13 November 1997.

For further information about the report contents, please contact:

Derrick Rapple at (01) 6793122

Main Findings

Overall Management

  • Planning was judged to be poor at all levels. The Central Fisheries Board and four of the seven Regional Fisheries Boards did not prepare five-year development programmes despite being legally obliged to do so.
  • All organisations involved need to redefine their roles and objectives.
  • Most of the recommendations contained in two independent studies, commissioned to resolve organisational and management deficiencies, have yet to be implemented.
  • Overseas promotion of angling is minimal because it is not the specific responsibility of any one agency.
  • Funds allocated under the Tourism Operational Programme 1994-1999 may not be fully expended as levels of activity and spending are substantially behind target.

Management of Specific Fishing Products

  • An analysis revealed that resources were not allocated according to the relative economic and social value of the three fishing products: coarse fishing, game fishing and sea angling.
  • The marketing of these fishing products has been inadequate.

Management of Fisheries Protection

  • Although all Regional Fisheries Boards are active in issuing prosecutions and in seizing illegal nets, the use of patrol boats for protection work is not consistent across the regions.
  • To improve the efficiency of fisheries protection a fulltime national protection coordinator has been appointed, the ban on the use of monofilament nets has been lifted, and restrictions have been placed on commercial fishing.

Management of Water Quality

  • Significant duplication was found between the activities of the Regional Fisheries Boards and the local authorities in the management of water quality in areas such as investigations/inspections, issuing advice/warnings, initiating prosecutions and monitoring water quality.
  • A coordinated approach involving all of the relevant public bodies is required to eliminate inefficiencies and to reduce pollution levels.

The contents of this page were last updated on 26/09/03