THE latest Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) data relating to the Department of Agriculture’s voluntary decommissioning scheme for boats has been described as an alarm bell sounding the death knell of the Castletownbere fishing fleet.
Deputy Michael Collins made the declaration after BIM confirmed that that there are now 42 fishing boats to be scrapped, an increase on the 20 boats that were part of the scheme last month.
‘It is being reported that the single largest number of applications to decommission came from fishermen operating in Castletownbere. It is also understood however that this data relates to a total of 57 letters of offer that were issued to 64 fishing boat owners who initially applied to the scheme when it opened in 2022. What is unfolding right before our eyes is the death spiral of the West Cork fishing sector and the Irish fishing sector in general,’ said Deputy Collins.
He said it was ‘a direct result, and the end point of years of political neglect and an utter failure to prioritise and properly incentivise the sector.’
‘To add insult to injury it is very likely that fishermen and fisherwomen who participate in the absurdly named ‘”voluntary” scheme will not be able to recoup the full value of their boats.
‘What is happening here is Government imposed cruelty born of ineptitude and appalling levels of departmental lethargy around supports like the fuel subsidy which our fishermen have been crying out for.’