Castletownbere’s Alan Carleton on what he says is the stark reality of being an Irish fisherman.
How long have you been working in the fishing industry?
I’ve been fishing for nearly 40 years. I was one of the first boats to fish for tuna in the Bay of Biscay in 1994. I mainly fish for monkfish, haddock, sole, prawns and haddock. It used to be a great way of life, being your own boss, seeing the sunsets and sunrises but not any more.
What’s the biggest challenge right now?
It’s that the system is victimising the victim. I’ve already been victimised by Brexit and the Common Fisheries Policy but now I’m being doubly hit with the decommissioning scheme. Due to the criteria that’s being applied, I’m being offered much less than other fishers. The best way to explain it is that it’s like two farmers with the same number of cows, but I’m being offered less, due to where I’ve been fishing. Had I known that I’d have trawled other fisheries.
What would you like to see happen next?
I want to stay fishing, and to get more quota, but I’m not hopeful of that. So, I’d like to get enough compensation to cover my debts after being forced out of the industry and having to spend a lot of money on my boat.