Dáil Éireann - Volume 414 - 10 December, 1991

Written Answers. - Fisheries Research and Development.

51. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine if he has any plans for the provision of proper research and development facilities for the fishing industry; the number and weight of vessels at present involved in research and development; his views on whether this is sufficient in view of ongoing needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson): The provision of additional research and development facilities to support the fishing industry is being funded under the STRIDE (Science and Technology for Regional Innovation and Development in Europe) Programme for Ireland which I launched last October, the details of which I described to the House on 6 November last, to which reply I would refer to the Deputy. This funding will support and complement existing expenditure by my Department on fish stock assessments and other research to support development of the fishing sector.

A key measure under the investment programme will be the provision of specialised navigational measuring and sampling equipment for the national marine research vessel, the Lough Beltra. This will considerably improve the vessel's capability for field data collection. The Lough Beltra (115 GRT) is the main research vessel available to Irish marine interests — a smaller half-decker (13.9m.) is available for inshore and estuarine work.

I am satisfied that the efficient application of the resources available, which are now being significantly boosted under the STRIDE programme, will meet our ongoing needs and will ensure that the rational exploitation of our fisheries resource continues to be enhanced over the next few years.