asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he intends to take to eliminate mink from Northern Ireland; and if he will give an estimate of how widely they have spread and what are their approximate numbers.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978], gave the following reply:Escaped mink have become established in Northern Ireland and it is unlikely that they could be eliminated altogether. Although control of vermin is the responsibility of the occupiers of the infested land, I am concerned about the problem; officials from the Department of Agriculture are prepared to give advice on trapping, and traps may be borrowed from county agricultural offices in Tyrone and Fermanagh. It is not possible to make an accurate estimate of the wild mink population, but most concentrations appear to be in Tyrone and Fermanagh where, being a semi-aquatic animal, they are spread mainly along watercourses.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimate of the effect of mink on the wildlife in Northern Ireland.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978], gave the following reply:In the areas where they are concentrated, wild mink have depleted game fish and bird stocks. Fish such as trout and salmon form the main part of their diet. They also kill wild duck, water hens and other game birds as well as small animals. However, their effect on wild life in Northern Ireland as a whole is not thought to be very significant, bearing in mind the apparently limited size of the mink population in relation to other species.