Minister must protect fish quotas and save jobs in coastal communities - Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the Minister for Fisheries to deal as a matter of urgency with the issue of factory ships and Irish fish quotas. Speaking during a debate on the future of the fishing industry, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“The Minister must address the fact that 87% of the domestic quota is controlled by 23 boats.
“It is time he tackled the golden circle in the fishing industry and secured the future for a new generation of fishermen and women.
“A small rebalancing would rejuvenate the fishing and processing industry and help smaller fishermen and coastal communities throughout the country.
“Perhaps the Minister could inform as to the rationale of the Department around the distribution of the domestic quota and explain his reasons for not addressing the historical imbalance?
“The Joint Committee Report on Fisheries made 29 recommendations regarding the socio-economic regimes of coastal and island communities and policy and licencing regimes.
“What steps is the Minister taking to implement these recommendations and what are his plans to tackle the scourge of the factory ships hoovering up fish off the west coast?
“Over the past number of years a significant number of Irish fishermen have been forced to leave the industry and are now unemployed.
“We could have had a vibrant and sustainable industry here but the policies of successive governments have all but destroyed the industry.
“The Seafood Sector is now facing significant job losses as a result of proposed quota cuts.
“Ahead of the Council of Ministers meeting in December, the EU Commission has issued its Proposals for Quotas for 2015, which contain significant reductions for a number of key species on which the Irish Fishing Industry relies.
“If implemented the industry will lose somewhere in the region of €70 million and the Seafood Sector a further €147 million.
“Indeed should the projected reductions in the quota go ahead, the job losses to the Seafood Sector in general are estimated to be around 1,200 jobs.
“That is 1,200 people who live in rural, coastal, peripheral communities who will be facing into unemployment for 2015.”