THE challenges facing Irish fishermen were discussed at a meeting between the Irish South & West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) and the EU Fisheries Commissioner last week.
The organisation’s chief executive, Castletownbere-based Eibhlin O’Sullivan said the meeting, with EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella and Irish MEP Liadh Ni Riada, highlighted difficulties and indeed dangers being faced, with particular empahsis on the whitefish fleet.
‘The IS&WFPO also discussed the lack of a level playing field in terms of control and enforcement currently being experienced by the industry,’ said Ms O’Sullivan.
‘At the meeting there was also a lengthy discussion in relation to the implementation of the Landing Obligation and in particular, the complexities of same from a whitefish fisheries point of view,’ she added. She said the organisation told Comm Vella that if the industry is not supported in the implementation, it will not survive.
‘Again, we reiterated that the lack of a level playing field, already highlighted by us, may lead to increased difficulties in this implementation for Irish fishing vessels,’ she added.
‘Issues such as the current national ban in Ireland on fishing for seabass and compensation for fishermen, when severe weather prevents them from fishing for extended periods of time, were also discussed with the Commissioner. Commissioner Vella demonstrated a welcome knowledge of the industry and the challenges facing it and an openness to listening to any viable solutions.’
And she said the organisation would like to thank Liadh Ni Riada for actively highlighting the issues facing the Industry and her commitment to her work on the Fisheries Committee.
Meanwhile, Minister Simon Coveney TD last week said he welcomed an EU Commission proposal for a comprehensive prohibition on commercial fishing for seabass in the Irish and Celtic Seas which, he said, ‘underpins the conservation actions already taken by Ireland with regard to this vulnerable stock.’
Minister Coveney said the scientific advice for seabass is very worrying and we must all do our utmost to protect this stock. ‘Ireland has been to the forefront in being the only EU Member State to afford maximum protection to this stock and today’s proposal will enhance that protection.’