Last October at Slow Fish in Genoa, Italy questions were asked about why Slow Food were apparently supporting a fish product which was being caught in an unsustainable fishery. The product was Irish Smoked Wild Atlantic Salmon. The unsustainable part was all about the interceptory and multi-stock nature of the Irish Drift Net Fishery.
Today, November 1st 2006, will be regarded by all interested in the conservation of Wild Atlantic Stocks as being the day when commonsense eventually prevailed and the Irish Government agreed to the ban of the Drift Net fishery around the coasts of Ireland. Ever since mono-filament nets appeared in the 1960’s, the wild salmon have been under threat. During the 1970’s and 80’s millions of salmon were taken by these invisible ghosts.
Governments of all persuasions have prevaricated over decisive action for fear of losing coastal votes. The facts have been there for all to see, certainly in recent years, but still the politicians have delayed. Catches of Wild Salmon have dropped by half in the last five years.
It has taken the threat of heavy fines from the EU to persuade the Government to take this action, nothing to do with the preservation and conservation of the wild salmon. Is it simple cynicism on my behalf, but am I not wrong in believing that it is only votes which politicians think of, not conservation, not preservation, not making the place a better place to live, just simply votes?
And only the threat of fines or brown envelopes make them think otherwise!
But back to the title – with today’s decision, the Irish Wild Salmon fishery will be sustainable and Ummera will buy wild salmon again. Not many, but they will be from sustainable stocks, from rivers which have a surplus to their spawning capacity.