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Ferris - Urgent action needed on fishing

7 March, 2003


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries Martin Ferris TD has called on the Government as a matter of urgency to frame a coherent strategy to tackle the crisis in Irish fishing. Deputy Ferris was speaking as fishing representatives met with Minister Dermot Ahern in Dublin. On Wednesday the TD for Kerry North questioned the Minister in the Dáil on quota allocation management, the high level of fines imposed on Irish fishermen, and the Government's strategy to protect the Irish Box conservation area.

Deputy Ferris said:

"The crisis facing Irish fishermen and coastal communities at the present moment cannot be overestimated. The restrictions placed on fishermen are making many feel that they are being criminalized for pursuing their livelihood. Everyone accepts the need for conservation of stocks but the heavy handed manner in which this is being implemented without any genuine involvement of the industry, and contrasted with the threat to the Irish Box, is causing immense frustration.

"If Irish fishing is to survive as a viable pursuit, it requires nothing less than a complete renegotiation of the terms under which our fisheries are regulated by the Common Fisheries Policy. The legacy of the bad deal done in 1973 has debilitated the industry. Our fisheries are possibly our single strongest natural resource and yet they have been squandered and sold off over the past three decades. It is time for them to be reclaimed for the Irish people". ENDS

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