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Councils must be first step in radical reform of Common Fisheries Policy

24 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD 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. Deputy Ferris said:

"We have long called for fishermen to be given a statutory role in the management of stocks and conservation programmes. In the past, Minister Ahern has said that it would not be possible to facilitate this at national level but I am pleased that he now appears to support it 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.

"This proposal needs to be followed up by a wider-ranging reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. When I have pressed this on previous occasions, Minister Ahern has claimed that the most recent review addressed all outstanding issues. It is clear that this is not the case and that, particularly for Irish fishermen, the regime covering the national quota, fishing days and licences needs to be radically overhauled if the Irish fishing industry is to survive."ENDS

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