THE future of the fishing industry remains very bleak, with scientific advice not matching the reality of what fishers are witnessing – an abundance of fish in our Irish fishing grounds.
That’s according to Patrick Murphy, head of the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation.
Mr Murphy said there was ‘clear evidence’ showing many stocks in our zone could allow for far higher catches and sustainable quotas for Irish fishers ‘many of whom will be forced to leave the industry if the Common Fisheries Policy remains in favour of our visiting fleets.’
‘We ask for no more than equal rights and equal opportunities for Irish fishermen in Irish waters,’ said Castletownbere-based Mr Murphy.
He said the group felt the usual ‘déjà vu’ as nothing had changed after the conclusion of the annual Council of Ministers meeting held every December in Brussels.
‘Each year, we put forward credible, fair and sustainable requests for justifiable increases in a few key white fish stocks, hake, haddock, monk and sole in the Celtic Sea to the minister of the day and his Department officials who negotiate with their European counterparts up and down the corridors of Brussels through the long hours of the night,’ he said.
‘Nothing changes, and let’s be clear, the fish we are asking for are only those found in our waters, but once again we are informed this is too much to ask for in Brussels at this year’s December Council.’
He praised Minster McConalogue for starting the campaign for the return to Ireland of mackerel quota of 12,000 tonnes granted to Denmark by the EU 40 years ago adding: ‘Finally we see our minister batting for Ireland in Europe.’
However, he asked the minister discontinue with the current ‘unfair’ mackerel policy ‘because 13% of Ireland’s mackerel quota are being asked to decommission to allow more whitefish be available to the remaining whitefish fleet.’