Liadh Ní Riada addresses international fisheries conference
In her closing remarks today at an international conference that she and Martin Ferris, the Sinn Féin TD from Kerry, addressed on safeguarding small-scale and inshore fishermen, Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland-South, Liadh Ní Riada said;
“There were a lot of practical elements that have come out of this conference, our discussions this week have revealed parallels between each country that show that small-scale and inshore fishermen along with their communities across the world share a common struggle for survival when competing with the wealthy industrialised fishing operators.
“One of the suggestions that I made during the conference was to reform the quota system into one that is more flexible, in order to accommodate inshore and small-scale fishermen.
The disparities and inequalities between the larger vessels versus the smaller scale fisheries need to be addressed. A common sense approach, not a one-size fits all approach, has to be adopted.
“Fishermen should be entitled to a mechanism that compensates them when they are unable to fish hence why we have tabled a pilot project proposal for a Single Boat Payment.
“We also raised the point that more women who are involved in the fishing sector, especially on the ground, need to be more included and thus involved in the decision making process at the top table discussions between stakeholders and authorities.
“The time has come for a unified approach from fishermen across the member states to fight for the survival of sustainable small-scale fishing and the coastal communities that rely upon it, only then can we force our own governments and the EU to take us as seriously as those in the agricultural sector.
“Fishermen may compete with one another at sea but should be brothers on land. There should be mutual solidarity with one another in order to have greater input in any round-table negotiations and meetings with officials who set the agenda of the industry.
“We need to be a unified force and more effective in lobbying at a national and European level.
“It is only by having a united front that we can make an impact.