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Ferris gives guarded welcome to EU report on illegal fishing

18 October, 2007

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries Martin Ferris TD has given a guarded welcome to a new report from the EU Commission on combating the threat of illegal fishing. The report, published on Wednesday, proposes to tackle both the actual taking of fish within EU waters and the importation of illegally caught fish into the EU. It estimates that the value of such imports currently stands at €1.1 billion annually.

Deputy Ferris said, "I welcome any proposals to tackle illegal fishing, especially as it affects the Irish fishery and the livelihoods of Irish coastal communities. Such activities have done a huge amount of damage to fish stocks over the years and Irish fishermen have had to bear the cost of that in reduced quotas and other restrictions.

"One thing which I would also like to see the Commission address is illegal fishing by EU fleets within EU waters, and specifically within Irish waters. While the report does refer to the activities of EU based vessels operating outside the EU it does not address the fact that much of the illegal fishing that takes place in European waters is carried on by EU fleets.

"I have raised this issue on a number of occasions and have again asked the Government to state what they estimate the scale of illegal fishing is and whether the protection services are adequately resourced to deal with it." ENDS

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