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Sinn Féin welcomes proposals from Pan Irish Sea Alliance

10 October, 2003

Sinn Féin Spokespersons on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD and former Assembly person Gerry McHugh have welcomed a policy initiative by fishermen throughout the island of Ireland, and from ports in Scotland, England, Wales and the Isle of Man who have established a new grouping to protect the interests of fishermen whose livelihoods depend on the Irish Sea. The group will meet with Sinn Féin and other opposition spokespersons on fisheries in Dublin next week where they will be promoting their detailed proposals for the future of the Irish Sea fishery.

The Alliance has agreed a comprehensive alternative strategy to that currently being implemented under the Common Fisheries Policy. Among its key demands are:

· That industry representatives be involved at all levels of management of the Irish Sea fisheries

· That fishermen be involved in the collation and interpretation of all scientific data to determine the management of the area

· That fish stocks be built to optimum harvesting levels

· That there is a balance struck between biological and socio-economic considerations in setting future management objectives

Deputy Ferris and Mr McHugh said: "We whole-heartedly endorse the strategy put forward by the Pan Irish Sea Alliance. They embody much of what those concerned with the industry have being saying for some time regarding the manner in which the Irish fisheries are being treated under the Common Fisheries Policy. It has long been Sinn Féin's contention that the deal made on accession to the EU in1973 was probably the most disastrous of any to effect the Irish economy. Since then, successive Irish Governments have been content to go along with ever-increasing restrictions that threaten the future viability of the sector.

"It is high time that the Department of the Marine began to listen to those involved on a day-to-day basis in the industry, and to take on board their proposals for the future of the Irish fisheries. We therefore commend the strategy being put forward by the Alliance and hope that the Irish Government makes the same kind of arguments in Brussels." ENDS

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