Island fisheries Bill introduced in the Dáil by Martin Kenny TD and Martin Ferris TD
Sinn Féin’s spokesmen on agriculture, food and the marine, Martin Kenny TD and Martin Ferris TD (junior spokesman) introduced the Island Fisheries (Heritage Licence) Bill 2017, which was also signed by Pearse Doherty TD.
The Bill is designed to allocate fishing quota to small scale island fisheries, within six miles of their island home, in an attempt to halt depopulation of island communities who make their living from fishing.
Speaking first, Deputy Ferris said:
“Before we prepared this Bill, Deputy Martin Kenny, Deputy Pearse Doherty and I met the island communities, and it is conjunction with them that this Bill has come forward.
"We need a sustainable way of life and the Island Fisheries (Heritage Licence) Bill 2017 is one way to bring that about. I ask the House to support it because it will go some way to address the terrible imbalance between our island and coastal communities and the rest of the country.
Deputy Kenny added:
“This Bill provides that the issuing of a licence to island fishermen will be confined to people who are habitually resident on one of Ireland's offshore islands and are engaged in small-scale coastal fishing of less than 12 metres to earn a livelihood.
“We are putting restrictions in to ensure it cannot be expanded to anyone else and the licences cannot be traded or sold off, as has happened in the past.
"They will be non-transferable and will be in force only when the holder of the licence is on board the vessel.
"In other words, one person cannot have several boats. This ensures it is about the small fishermen on the islands having a future.
"The enactment of the Bill will involve a transferable community island quota, such as has been done in other jurisdictions in the EU.”