Inshore fishing in vital need of protection – Ní Riada
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on agriculture and fisheries Martin Ferris appeared before the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee on Thursday (6 November) to give expert opinion on the future of the oyster sector as part of a public hearing on the fishing industry in Europe.
Martin Ferris was invited to speak before the Fisheries Committee by Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada.
Liadh Ní Riada MEP said:
“As Ireland's only representative on the EU Parliament Fisheries Committee I feel a strong sense of responsibility to the many fishing communities along our coast, from Fenit to Greencastle and from Ardglass to Castletownbere.
“Inshore fishing is vital to so many coastal communities and I am committed to standing up for their interests at home and in Europe. Martin Ferris has years of experience as a fisherman and understands well the challenges facing rural and coastal communities in his role as opposition spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries.
“I was delighted to invite him to address the Fisheries Committee's hearing on oyster fishing, and to hear his expert opinion.”
Speaking to the Fisheries Committee Martin Ferris TD said:
“Oysters have been fished in Tralee Bay for over 200 years now and I have personally been involved in oyster fishing for most of my life.
“Fishing for the flat oyster is seasonal and provides a very important incomce for small inshore fishermen and farmers in peripheral areas.
“As a raw product the relationship between oysters and the water they filter for food is crucial. Clean waters are the cornerstone of the business and this issue requires constant attention.
“There can be long term impacts on reputation and ability to harvest on fishermen who find themselves the victims of poor infrastructure and badly maintained waste water.
“At EU level, the flat oyster needs to be protected by the strict enforcement of water quality standards, and the application of workable food safety norms. I made this point very strongly to the fisheries committee.”