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Ferris Raises Scandal of Illegal Fishing

12 December, 2007

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, raised the issue of illegal fishing by non Irish fleets in Irish waters in the Dáil this morning. The Kerry North TD referred to the fact that while a massive amount of fish was being taken from Irish waters that little appeared to be done, or was capable of being done, to prevent this and that Irish fishermen were paying the price in terms of reduced stocks and quotas.

Deputy Ferris said: "The ongoing scale of illegal fishing by non Irish, and in particular Spanish, vessels in Irish waters is nothing short of scandalous. According to one estimate that I have seen at least 9,000 tonnes of fish are being illegally caught in our waters. That amounts to a value of €45million. To put that into context, the value of the demersal and pelagic catch by Irish fishermen in 2004 was €123 million. That means that at least one third of the value of the Irish catch is being taken each year illegally by foreign vessels.

"That is an intolerable situation, especially given that already 75% of the legal catch is being taken by non Irish boats. I have raised this issue on numerous occasions and am again asking the Minister to explain why effective measures are not being taken against those responsible, and to explain why it is the case that the Irish fishery protection agencies appear to devote far more energy and time to policing the Irish fleet than those responsible for the vast bulk of illegal fishing and the plundering of our fisheries." CRÍOCH

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