Questioning the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine this week in the Dáil, Sinn Féin spokesperson, Martin Ferris TD, raised the question of the harm a cut in fishing quotas would do to small coastal communities.
Deputy Ferris was speaking in advance of negotiations on a new EU Common Fisheries Policy at which Minister Simon Coveney will attend.
Deputy Ferris said:
“Some of the proposals indicate a 34% reduction in the whitefish and prawn fleet in areas where practically all inshore fishing is dependent on it, such as Clogherhead, Howth, Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay, Dingle, Castletownbere and Rossaveal.
“All of us who live in coastal communities see the value of a reasonable income and the knock on effects in other sectors in that area. We heard a presentation yesterday on the issue and the cuts, if implemented, are frightening.
In response the minister said he could not perform “some kind of a Houdini act” and “overturn the science” at the negotiations.
Deputy Ferris responded:
“There has always been a difference of opinion between the scientists and those at the coalface in the industry. Coming from that background, I will always argue that the people who have most interest in preserving stocks are those involved in the industry.
“I am aware there are certain cowboys in the industry but, in general, most people involved in the industry know that it is in their interest to protect the stock. I do not detect anything otherwise from the fishing industry.”
Note to editors:
Speaking in response to Deputy Ferris today in the Dáil the minister outlined the proposed cuts to fishing quota as follows:
“In terms of the nephrops - prawn - stock, which is one of our priority stocks, there is a proposal to cut that quota by 24%. In terms of haddock stock in area 7, there is a proposal to cut that stock by 75% and in terms of cod stock, in area 7b-k, there is a proposal to cut it by 33% and in whiting stock a 13% cut has been proposed. These are large.”