In the last three years, the Department has spent the following amounts on restocking the public angling estate: £218,603 in 2007-08, £194,381 in 2008-09 and £294,103 in 2009-2010.
I thank the Minister for his answer. Has he had any recent meetings with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency about the restocking of polluted rivers? I ask him to do everything that he can to lobby the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Justice to ensure that repeat polluters are severely dealt with by the law.
I agree that pollution of rivers is a particular problem. I have not had any meetings recently with the Environment Agency about restocking and supporting fishing activity in the rivers, but I am aware of the ongoing problems in a number of rivers. For example, after a recent fish kill, DCAL restocked the Ballymartin tributary river to the Sixmilewater with 1,000 trout. We are conscious of the impact of pollution on a number of the rivers. The Member’s question may be better directed at the Minister responsible for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The Minister touched on the question that I want to ask, which is about the pollution in the Sixmilewater over the past couple of years. Will he outline any other programmes that have been undertaken in the Sixmilewater? What other stocking measures have taken place there in the past three years?
Using Peace I and Peace II EU funding, DCAL has funded the Antrim and District Angling Association, Ballynure Angling Club and Doagh angling club for rehabilitation work, which includes a fish pass at Barbour’s weir. As I said, we restocked the stretch from the Ballymartin tributary river to the Sixmilewater with 1,000 trout. DCAL is also working with Ballynure Angling Club and Antrim Angling Association under the salmonid enhancement programme to remove brood stocks to Bushmills Salmon Station for restocking purposes.
I am not sure about the connection between the Member’s question and the restocking of the rivers. However, the point is well made: we should endeavour to do all that we can to help those with disabilities to access fishing stands. That is taken into account by those who install fishing stands.