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Ferris slams fishing restrictions

5 December, 2003

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, has strongly criticised the latest EU proposals to further reduce the number of days Irish fishermen can spend at sea. The measures would prevent Irish Sea fishermen from spending more than 15 days at sea, or 10 days in the case of some categories. The proposals come as part of an overall reduction in quotas based on new claims on the level of fish stocks in the Irish Sea, North Sea and off the coast of Scotland.

Deputy Ferris said: "The situation regarding the restrictions on Irish fishermen is rapidly reaching the stage where it will be impossible to make a living. The most disappointing aspect of the latest dictat is that it completely ignores the evidence on stocks, and the proposals for conservation, submitted here and in Europe by the fishermen themselves. Surely the knowledge of those involved in the sector has to be worth something. When I met Fisheries officials in Brussels last May, they claimed that fishermen did not participate in studies on stock levels. Yet, when they do, they are treated with contempt.

"This latest proposal must be fought tooth and nail by the Irish Government. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it again emphasises Sinn Féin's demand that the entire basis of the administration of the Irish fisheries be re-negotiated to reverse the shameful give away that took place in 1973. That deal has cost this country billions of Euro. Now it threatens the very future of every person involved in fishing and fish processing." ENDS

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