Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Oliver McMullan has welcomed the announcement today by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill that she has secured funding from Europe to instigate a scheme where satellite-tracking devices can be fitted to fishing boats over 12m in length free of charge to the fisherman.
Mr. McMullan stated,
“Fishing is a very dangerous occupation so it is important that we use every method available to increase safety in the industry.
“When there is an accident at sea it is crucial that help arrives as quickly as possible but finding a boat on the open sea can be quite time consuming.
“Fitting satellite tracking devices to every boat over 12m will allow emergency services to pinpoint the location of a boat, allowing help to arrive quickly and therefore save lives.
“I welcome the fact that the Minister has put together funding of £200,000 with 90% of it coming from the EU to fit boats over 12m with a tracking device.
“The scheme will begin on the 1st December and fishermen can apply to the Department to have a tracking device fitted to their vessel if it meets the criteria.
“I would call on the fishing industry to engage with the Minister in order to have these devices fitted as soon as possible so that safety is increased.”