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Fishermen stay resilient despite returning to port

April 1st, 2020 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

The ‘Anders Nees’ berths at the pier in Castletownbere last weekend after fishing boats were called ashore when the Covid-19 outbreak caused fish prices to crash. (Anne Marie Cronin Photography)

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BY HELEN RIDDELL

CASTLETOWNBERE fishermen insist their resilience will see them through the Covid-19 crisis.

Their fishing fleet is back in port, with no imminent date of return, and on landing last week, as a gesture of goodwill to the local community, they gave away €4,000 of fresh fish to locals.

Damien Turner, skipper of the Roise Caitriona and chair of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation said fishermen made the decision as their way of saying ‘thank you’ for the support of the local community.

With much of the local fleet tied up since the start of the year due to bad weather, the past couple of weeks was the first time many had been able to head out fishing, said Mr Turner.  ‘We’ve really had a double-whammy this year.’

Negotiations are ongoing with fish processors and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on how  to deal with current challenges.

This week Social Democrat Cork South West TD Holly Cairns called on Minister Creed to set up a task force involving all stakeholders, from those fishing to the processors and retailers.

Mr Turner said the crisis in the industry was affecting all of them: ‘I have seven crew on my boat that I’m responsible for, but fishermen are resilient, and we are a resilient nation and together we will all come through this. The Irish fishing industry will get through this, we have a fantastic product and we will make sure we get fresh fish to the dinner tables of Ireland.’

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