Liadh Ní Riada calls on Minister Simon Coveney to prevent further quota reductions
In a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney's office to discuss this week's December Council's meetings in Brussels where decisions will be made on quotas for 2016, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada raised the implications on the proposed quota cuts.
"The proposals for Irish quotas include a 30% cut for cod, 12% for monkfish and 27% for haddock in the Celtic Sea, including further reductions for whitefish in the Irish sea, and further potential cuts to prawn.
"These cuts will adversely affect the Irish fishing fleet which would include substantial losses for Irish fishermen, producers and related industries.
"Regarding scientific advice which purportedly supports these measures, there needs to be as much of an emphasis, if not more, on the socio-economic aspect for small-scale, artisanal and traditional fisheries.
"Over 300 jobs and more than €12 Million will be lost to the Irish whitefish industry alone if Minister Coveney fails to represent the Irish fishing industry at the December Council.
"In the meeting with the Minister's office, we in Sinn Féin also raised the failure by the government to secure a quota for bluefin tuna.
"Despite what officials say, there is a basis for a bluefin tuna quota, it can be argued that the species is highly migratory but the fact is that off the west and north-west of Ireland, fishermen and stakeholders have consistently raised the fact that the waters are teeming with bluefin tuna, and they cannot catch this highly valuable stock because the EU has not given Ireland a quota.
"Sinn Féin asked if the government would propose a bluefin commercial quota for Ireland based on those facts, which would also enable recreational fishing of the species, but this was completely rejected by Minister Coveney's department.
"Irish fishermen have consistently been let down, and in this regard I found it ironic and hypocritical when the Minister's fellow party colleague, Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly, spoke in the European Parliament yesterday about the need to protect smaller fishermen, perhaps he should switch parties.