The survival of the Irish fishing industry should be negotiation priority - Ferris
Martin Ferris, Sinn Féin spokesman on the Marine, said that the survival of the Irish fishing industry should be the Minister’s priority when he is negotiating with the EU on quotas.
While welcoming the co-operation between the Stormont Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA and Minister Simon Coveney in Dublin on their success with the prawn quota, Deputy Ferris said:
“The government spin suggests that the outcome of the negotiations was a great success, but I believe that the initial proposals for massive cuts are a smokescreen, so that the minister can come back and say that he has achieved smaller cuts.
“There is no success when there is a 12% cut in the haddock quota and 13% cut in the cod quota and a 12% cut in the whiting quota. For fishermen off the South and West coast, this is a disaster.
“I welcome the fact that the proposed 14% cut in prawn quota was reversed and that in fact a three percent increase in prawn was achieved, as was an 11% increase in the hake quota for the Celtic Sea and maintenance of monkfish and megrim quotas.
“Irish fishermen are in deep trouble and what they need is a government which will stand firm on their behalf in Brussels. The cuts to cod, haddock and whiting will force people out of the industry and lose jobs.
“I do not see how it will prevent discards and the criminal waste that produces. We are an island nation and our negotiation strategy must have the protection of our coastal communities at its core.”