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Ní Riada calls for greater scrutiny on foreign super trawlers

17 November, 2015 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for greater scrutiny on foreign super trawlers following the news that a trawler known as the Margiris is operating off the coast of Ireland.

Ms Ní Riada said,

"We are completely opposed to foreign super-trawlers being given disproportionate quotas and consequently reaping devastation on fish stocks and small fishermen.

"The capacity of these trawlers is more than dozens of small trawlers combined and Irish fishermen and small-scale fisheries cannot cope, compete or sustain operators of foreign industrial super trawlers and factory ships who have no concern or regard for the sustainability of our national fisheries, fishermen and over-exploited stocks.

"It is frustrating that the authorities allow trawlers such as these to fish off our coast. In the event that they do, the Naval Service and the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SPFA) need to exercise greater vigilance, however previously  it has been proven that they are more-or-less powerless to sufficiently monitor such vessels, even at times reluctant, but not so much when it comes to smaller fishermen.

"The Margiris, which has been previously banned from Australian waters, has had quotas allocated up to 5,000 tonnes and although the SFPA has claimed that this vessel has a quota fish for horse mackerel, I would be interested in finding out what plans the SFPA have in place to ensure that these quotas are not violated.

A member of the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament, Ms Ní Riada continues,

"Earlier this year, the skipper of the world’s largest trawler Annelies Ilena, formerly known as the Atlantic Dawn, was found guilty on three charges of illegal fishing.

"Its current owner is one of four multinational companies running some 30 European factory vessels which are registered in a number of different EU states so as to take most advantage of quotas.

"The company is also owner of the Margiris, which is now off our coast. These multinationals need to be subject to greater scrutiny, and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in this context as it currently stands is not fit for purpose." ENDS

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