Irish Government and officials need to prioritise Irish fishermen over foreign super trawlers - Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Speaking from Strasbourg, on EU bilateral fishing partnership agreements with developing countries, Liadh Ní Riada the Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South said:
"Irish fishermen and small-scale fisheries cannot cope, compete or sustain operators of foreign industrial super trawlers and factory ships who have no concern for sustainable fisheries and over-exploited stocks. Anywhere these gigantic vessels go, stocks go into significant decline, the marine environment is devastated and local fishermen and communities are left to pick up the pieces.
"Recently we have seen some of the largest trawlers in the world enter Irish waters, trawlers that have been banned elsewhere. This year for example, the second largest trawler in the world was allowed enter and commercially fish in Irish waters. This trawler has already been banned in Australia, a country with large swathes of marine territory that eclipses Ireland´s territory.
"The capacity of these trawlers is more than dozens of small trawlers combined, and have consistently flaunted regulation as seen last year when a super trawler's skipper was charged with violating regulations because of failing to record discards along with having illegal equipment on-board to maximise catch to maximise profit.
"To put this further into perspective, these vessels can process tens of tonnes of fish per day, some as much as 250 tonnes per day. This vessel was fishing in Irish waters, and it is not an isolated incident.
"Super-trawlers and factory ships need to be banned from Irish waters."