Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 550 - Answered on 17 February 2015
Brian Walsh, TD (Galway West, Fine Gael):
To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the total amount paid out each year under the mink bounty scheme, since it was introduced in 2012; a breakdown of that amount, by county, of where the mink were located.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys
Wild mink are not a protected species under the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012 and can be controlled by farmers, landowners and others.
A study commissioned by my Department, and published in 2009, estimated the population of mink living in the wild in the State could reach a total of between 20,500 and 33,500 individuals, and identified ground-nesting birds as the species most vulnerable to mink predation. In this regard, my Department is concentrating its resources with control measures on land it owns or manages so as to protect the nesting sites of rare and threatened bird species, including red-throated diver, corncrake, grey partridge, waders and terns, from a range of different predators. Some €90,000 was spent on control measures in 2014, which covered many predatory species in addition to mink, including grey crows, magpies and foxes.
In 2012 a one-off grant of €20,000 was provided to the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) to stimulate increased control of mink by game shooting clubs. Thus there is not, as such, a mink bounty scheme which my Department administers. However, I consider that this one-off grant offered a useful addition to the general predator control measures already being taken by my Department.