Local fishers ‘ignored’ in seafood taskforce report

October 30th, 2021 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

The Castletownbere fishing fleet on a sunny day (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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MEMBERS of the Irish South & West Fish Producers are furious after they claimed none of their submissions were included in a report designed to safeguard their livelihoods after the impact of Brexit.

That’s according to Patrick Murphy, head of the Castletownbere-based organisation, who was speaking after a government taskforce last week recommended that the fishing industry be given just over €423m to help it deal with Brexit-related losses.

The taskforce was established by agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue to examine the implications of the EU/UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA) for the fishing industry and coastal communities, and to consider initiatives to address them.

‘Despite attending and partaking in the formal work of the task force on 14 occasions, while often spending long hours preparing for those meetings, and working far into the night on many occasions as we drafted and redrafted submissions and papers for its benefit and, we hoped, for the ultimate benefit of Irish fishing communities, we are left feeling both frustrated and disillusioned by the fact that not one of our submissions or suggestions on how best our industry might prepare for an uncertain future was adopted or accepted,’ said Mr Murphy.

He was also unhappy with the recommendation that 60 fishing boats, amounting to just over one quarter or 26% of Irish whitefish boats registered in the polyvalent and beam trawl segments of the fleet, should be decommissioned.

‘It also proposes that an average of only just over €1m be paid in respect of each boat being decommissioned from the Irish fleet, which is scandalous and should result in resignations,’ he said.

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