Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Ferris TD, today congratulated his colleague in the North, Fisheries minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA for the establishment of a Fishing Industry Taskforce.
Deputy Ferris said: “Minister O’Neill has shown how she can respond to the needs of the fishing industry and act to protect it.”
Minister O’Neill first announced a Fisherman’s Assistance Package after meeting with South Down fishermen. Last Spring she made £400,000 available to help the fishing industry cope with exceptionally bad weather. Today she said: “During my meeting this afternoon I heard that many are facing numerous difficulties both financial and weather related which have prevented them from putting to sea.”
The Minister then announced that she plans to appoint a Fishing Industry Taskforce to undertake a fundamental examination of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and to identify options for reform to help to ensure the future sustainability of the local fishing sector.
Minister O’Neill said: “I have therefore agreed to bring forward proposals to the Executive for some immediate help where this is needed most.”
She said: “The Taskforce will help my Department in identifying the key priorities under the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and advise how this fund can best help to assist the industry meet its obligations under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy.
“It is during such difficult times that government and industry must work as one. I look forward to effective engagement and co-operation with the industry and to constructive proposals emerging from the work of the Fisheries Taskforce.”