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Fishing Council needs to have All Ireland remit

24 May, 2004

Sinn Fein South Down MLA Willie Clarke has welcomed indications that EU fisheries Ministers will today approve the establishment of regional councils that will allow fishermen to be part of the management process and said that any Fishing Council needs to cover the 32 Counties.

Mr Clarke said:

"Sinn Féin have long argued that fishermen should be given a statutory role in the management of stocks and conservation programmes. In the past there have been barriers to this type of approach at governmental level but I am pleased that it now appears to be gaining support on an EU basis.

"It is vital that those who are trying to make a living from fishing are given a role in determining the best means to protect stocking levels while ensuring that fishermen are able to earn a viable living.

"A regional Fisheries Council needs to have an All Ireland remit. The best way to secure a long-term future for all fishing communities throughout the island is to make sure that across Ireland that fishermen are able to speak with one voice. This is particularly important in the context of the EU.

"This proposal needs to also be followed by a wider ranging reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. When pressed on this issue Ministers North and South claim that the most recent CFP review addressed all of the outstanding issues. This is clearly not the case. The regime covering quotas, fishing days and licences needs to be radically overhauled if the Irish fishing industry is to survive." ENDS

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