Flanagan welcomes proposed simplification of angling licenses
Sinn Féin Tourism Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has welcomed news from the Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, that she intends to explore the possibility of the introduction of a single licensing system on the island of Ireland.
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:
"As someone who comes from Garrison and has spent my youth fishing on Lough Melvin, which is renowned around the world as a destination for angling tourists, I am all too well aware of the difficulties presented by having two different systems of licensing in Ireland.
"For someone to go fishing on Lough Melvin or any other waterway that straddles the border, that person either needs to purchase two different sets of licenses or be very careful that they do not stray across the border, which is quite challenging.
"Most people in the angling fraternity have long argued that the licensing system across the island of Ireland is overly confusing and prohibitive for tourists. There is excessive and unnecessary duplication and I first raised the issue with the Minister back in December and again in February, so I am glad that the process has begun to address this.
"Three different bodies provide at least twenty different types of fishing licenses in Ireland. The licensing regimes are all different and it makes no sense for there to be such a complex system, particularly when we are trying to increase the number of tourists we attract.
"The number of fishing licenses issued here annually has dropped from 4,978 in 1999 to 2,811 in 2010, so it is evident that there has been a sharp drop in demand. We need to ensure that proactive action is taken to address this decline and that must include adequate promotion of the area as a world class fishing destination. That has most definitely not been the case to date but it is something I will continue to campaign for."