Doherty: Fishing communities threatened by decline in production
Sinn Féin EU candidate for the North West Pearse Doherty, has pointed to the decline in fish production as posing a major threat to the future of fishing communities. Mr. Doherty was referring to statistics that show that total sea landings have fallen from 320,000 tonnes in 1998 to just over 245,000 tonnes in 2002.
Mr. Doherty said: "These figures from the Department of the Marine highlight the urgent need to address the problems facing the Irish fishing industry. Sinn Féin has long pointed to the fact that Irish fishermen have been unfairly treated under the Common Fishery Policy. We have 16% of EU waters but only 4% of the catch. And yet each year brings further restrictions that hamper the ability of coastal communities to survive.
"Unless something is done at EU level to fundamentally reform the manner in which the CFP treats the Irish sector, it will enter into a terminal decline. That message needs to be taken into the heart of Europe as it is quite clear that successive Irish Governments have been content to tolerate a situation where the Irish fisheries are treated not as a valuable natural resource but as something to be bargained away for little return." ENDS