A FIANNA Fail local election candidate has apologised for comments he made about Asian fishermen trying to catch duck for Chinese restaurants.
Joe Crowley, who is standing in City North at next year’s local election, believes groups of fishers are trying to snare the river animal - for “crispy duck in the Chinese restaurant tonight”.
But his claim has been dismissed as “incredible” by Cllr Jim Long, who chairs the Limerick-China forum.
Mr Crowley saw three Chinese men with fishing rods at the platform of the shallow Westfields Wetlands, off the North Circular Road this week.
But they were not seeking seafood, he said.
“To my mind, fishing from this platform can only spell one thing: these guys are out to get ducks.”
Asked what for, he said: “Crispy Duck in the Chinese restaurant tonight”.
He added: “You have three or four inches of water - so it isn’t worth fishing there anyway. They are putting bread on a hook - that goes into a river. You can imagine the swans, the ducks and the cygnets all come over towards them”.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader from the wetlands, Mr Crowley said: “I have got about 40 ducks on this viewing platform - and more are coming towards me now. If I cast my rod there, once it huts the water, everyone comes towards it - there is no question.”
Mr Crowley says northside residents are fed up of the situation - and want action now.
“The priority at the moment is that we don’t want people fishing there. I spoke to residents there last night, and we don’t want it,” he explained.
Cllr Long urged Mr Crowley to report the catching of any ducks to the Gardai.
“All wildlife is protected. In the cases of ducks and mallards, at this time of year, they are out of season. So if Mr Crowley has any information that wildlife is being taken and killed for domestic use in any way, shape or form, it should be deemed a legal matter and passed to the Gardai”.
However, he does not believe that Chinese restaurants in Limerick are sourcing their duck from the Wetlands.
“I would find it incredible that our Chinese community would indulge or engage in that practice. I’m sure their [restaurant] suppliers are reputable. I feel it is very unwise to attack a particular group who have given tremendous service to our city,” Cllr Long added.
Mr Crowley says he is raising the matter in the hope that Limerick City Council will erect ‘No Fishing’ signs around the wetlands site.
Under Limerick City Council bye-laws, there are no legal restrictions for fishing for small fish on the city’s waterways.
There are, however, restrictions, on the type of bait you can use.
However, it is an offence to try and snare ducks and other river-based creatures.