IRELAND is in danger of losing 30 more fishing vessels from its already tiny fleet with an estimated loss of 360 jobs from our rural community, according to the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation.
In early 2016, the IS&WFPO and its colleagues in the fishing industry were informed by senior officials in the Department of Marine that our tiny fishing fleet is still too big for our nation’s meagre fish allocations from the European Union in, predominantly, our waters that produce some 30% of all fish landed in Europe. They were told that cuts were required to be made to the whitefish fleet of 30 boats measuring between 12 and 23 metres.
This followed two previously-completed decommissioning schemes, already implemented on our tiny whitefish fishing fleet that is only 2% of the European fleet – the effects of which can be seen today in our small ports and harbours all around this island with utter devastation to the local communities.
Clogherhead, Howth, Dunmore east, Kilmore Quay, Union Hall, Baltimore, Schull, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros a’Mhil, Killybegs, Burtonport Greencastle and many more all suffered as a result of the previous decommissioning schemes.
The IS&WFPO, as an organisation, decided that this cannot be the way. They answered the EU directive 1380/2013 to correct any imbalance in our already-decimated whitefish fleet and the rural coastal communities whose very survival depends upon it.
Since their initial request to the Minister Michael Creed and his Department of Marine officials, the IS&WFPO has correlated the landing records and data of many of its vessels in the different sizes and segments provided by the Department. They clearly show that what they asked to be investigated is in fact true, and is evident in the submission to the Minister Michael Creed on the review he established of the distribution of the Irish Mackerel quota in December of 2016.
IS&WFPO thanked Minister Creed for listening to their request and establishing this review, without prejudicing his decision yet to be made. They feel it only proper to point out that he is the first Minister for many years who has seen fit to look at all suggestions from industry and give all in the industry and outside the opportunity to have their say on the fairer distribution of the nation’s fishing resources.
The organisation is incredulous that those in the richest fishing grounds left in Europe, ‘where one in every three fish landed in Europe comes exclusively from your clear, blue, often wild waters,’ are told that their fishing fleet is too big and needs to be culled – again!