§ Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied that the interests of salmon conservationists have been properly taken into account in planning the drainage scheme for 1.6 miles of the upper reaches of the Owenkillew River in County Tyrone ; that the purity standard of the water in this section of that river will be determined and tested before the scheme is allowed to proceed ; and that effort will be made to minimise the damage by the drainage machinery to the natural stock of pearl-holding freshwater mussels in this river bed.
§ Mr. David Howell
The Northern Ireland Ministry of Agriculture, which is the drainage authority for Northern Ireland, is required by statute to provide protection for fisheries which may be affected by drainage work and in practice consults in advance the appropriate fisheries interests.
The Foyle Fisheries Commission has been consulted about the proposed works on the Owenkillew River, which are of a relatively minor nature. The commission. on the understanding that adequate protection will be provided at all stages and 171W that any necessary rehabilitation measures will be taken, has raised no objection.
Inevitably some damage, usually temporary, is done to fisheries when drainage work is carried out. Every effort is made by the Ministry to keep such damage to a minimum and this will apply in the case of the Owenkillew as regards mussels and all other fish species.