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Instead of criminalising Irish fishermen minister should negotiate more quota: Ferris

19 November, 2013 - by Martin Ferris TD

After visiting Kilmore Quay to speak to those whose fishing vessels have been impounded there, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine, Martin Ferris TD, said today that Minister Simon Coveney should negotiate urgently with the French for their surplus megs quota.

“There is great concern in the area and I am very concerned about the plight of the mixed fishery sector in Area 7, off the South East coast.

“It is disturbing that 15 boats are tied up in Kilmore Quay, by direction of the Department. The vessels will not be allowed to go back to sea, until their owners sign a, yet unseen, affidavit drawn up by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“Meanwhile, over 100 self-employed fishermen and women and over 70 others engaged in ancillary activity, are out of work coming up to Christmas.

“Those fishing for megs find themselves being criminalised by state agencies as they try to make a living for themselves and their families.

"The quota of one tonne per boat per month is totally inadequate, especially given that the French, who fish in Area 7, used only a third of their quota last year and so far this year have used only 38% of their quota.

“Meanwhile, the Irish vessels have caught almost all of their quota already and could catch more if they had quota.

“Instead of criminalising the coastal communities of the South East, the minister would better serve this country by negotiating urgently with the French for their surplus quota to be given to the Irish fishing industry.”

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