Liadh Ní Riada MEP gives cautious welcome to NWW decision on discards
Speaking from Brussels today Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada gave cautious welcome to the new Regional Agreement decided by the North Western Waters Group of Member States (NWW).
Ní Riada said;
"I welcome the new agreement to end discards by the North Western Waters group of Member States. From January next year the ban will apply to prawns in all our waters to whiting in the Celtic Sea and to haddock in the Irish Sea and the North West. The whole issue of discards has been a particularly sore point for fishermen, The kafka-esque practice of dumping tonnes of dead fish into the sea in the name of fisheries protection has for many years summed up bureaucratic and farcical nature of many EU fisheries regulations.
“Why has it taken so long to reach this agreement? I would like to hear Simon Coveney answer this question, and I would like to hear from him how he foresees the policing of this new policy. One thing is clear, fishermen deserve fairness and respect. I would urge the Minister to consult with fishermen on ensuring compliance and successful implementation.
“Minister Coveney also announced that BIM and the Marine Institute will undertake a project to assess the potential impact of the landing obligations on commercial fishing and that he will make up to €450,000 available. I would also like to know as to where he will draw the funding from.
"Will it come from the small scraps of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund that he "brokered" for Ireland? Ireland will receive €146.6million from this fund while larger countries like Spain have been allocated €1.16billion. Ireland may be a smaller seafaring nation but our fishing industry has sacrificed so much, and our coastal communities are crying out for investment, funding and support.
“The EMFF allocation for Ireland for the 2014-2020 period is pitifully low, especially given that our waters and our fish stocks are enriching fishing ports on several other European countries.”