We need a national discussion and debate on the impact regulation has had on our fisheries - Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Speaking from Strasbourg today on the European Parliament resolution on sustainable exploitation of sea bass, Liadh Ní Riada MEP said:
“I recognise the fact that the current restrictions on sea bass fishing is a complex and important issue within our peripheral local economies, particularly in relation to angling tourism and marine bio-diversity. Foreign anglers in their droves flock to Ireland every year, especially for recreational bass fishing which has been beneficial for peripheral communities and our economy.
“I understand anglers’ concerns about any potential end to the moratorium on commercial sea bass fishing in Ireland, nevertheless it is crucial that anglers and fishermen of all strands are included in any debate on the subject as it is vital that they have their voices heard and find common ground.
“I agree that the principles of conservation and sustainability are central for a long-term and prosperous national fishing industry, especially when you look at how cod stocks abroad collapsed throughout the northern Atlantic in the 90s due to unsustainable and unregulated overfishing.
“The moratorium on cod that followed the collapse has enabled cod stocks to recover after they were almost irreversibly wiped out but the damage had been done, vast numbers of communities which relied on cod fishing were devastated.
“It is important that we protect and increase our own stocks of sea bass to enable sustainable fishing levels in order to avert such a potential and similar catastrophe, as they say ‘prevention is better than cure.’
“However, over-regulating and strangling our fisheries is not the solution, we need a national discussion and debate on the impact regulation has had on our fisheries. It is important that our fisheries are responsibly managed, but also for our fishing communities to be respected and be allowed to flourish.
“We should support commercial sea-bass fishing as long as there is conclusive evidence of sustainable sea bass stocks in our waters, there should also ideally be a larger exclusion zone for foreign vessels to protect domestic fishermen.
“I am in contact with the Marine Institute and other organisations in relation to how viable and sustainable current Irish sea bass stocks are in facilitating commercial sea bass fishing, and I am looking forward to discussing the issue with them.”