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Fishing industry must be protected but so must fishermen and women - Bairbre de Brún

14 March, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that fishermen and women in Ireland require fair play and a co-operative relationship from the European Union. Ms de Brún was speaking following an announcement on the establishment of the Community Fisheries Control Agency.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin believes that fishing stocks in the Irish Box and throughout Europe must be protected. What we ask for is fair play in the way Irish fishermen and women are treated in comparison with those from other countries. This was the main plank of a detailed discussion our Sinn Féin delegation held recently with the head of Commissioner Borg's Cabinet.

"Sinn Féin recognizes the right of other nations to fish in Irish waters. However, European policy has disadvantaged the Irish fishing sector for a number of years. At present, half of all fish consumed in the EU comes from Irish waters and yet while Ireland can claim over 16% jurisdiction of EU fishing waters, local fishermen and women catch only 4% of the EU total.

"While the Irish fishing industry has worked hard to ensure a sustainable way forward they have some very specific concerns which we have raised with the Commission.

The future of the fishing industry remains precarious and those in the fishing industry are rightly concerned as to what the future will hold.

"I reiterate my recent call for a long-term assessment of the Irish fishing industry to ensure its future sustainability. I am also calling for the financial protection of fishermen and women whilst tough catch quotas remain." ENDS

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