Sinn Féin launches Islands Fisheries Bill on Arranmore Island – Martin Kenny TD and Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Kenny TD and Finance spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty have today published the party’s Island Fisheries (Heritage License) Bill on Donegal’s Arranmore Island.
The legislation, drafted by both Deputies together with the party's Fisheries Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD and introduced in the Dáil last week, proposes to allocate quota and provide for the issuing of unique heritage licences to island fishers to allow for the continuance of traditional fishing practices on Ireland’s offshore islands.
Speaking at the launch, Teachta Kenny said:
“I am delighted to be here on Arranmore island today to launch Sinn Féin’s Island Fisheries (Heritage Licence) Bill.
“This legislation aims to ensure that island based fishing communities have their rights to practice long established traditional fishing methods and practices protected and recognised in law.
“The failure of successive governments to stand up for island communities means that small island fishermen are unable to make a living as existing CFP rules prevent them from fishing their own coastal waters.
“Working with the Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation, IIMRO, we have developed the heritage licence bill. The Bill is designed to allocate a portion of the quota to the island fishers specifically.
“The Bill seeks to facilitate the continuation of traditional fishing practices on our offshore island and provide for the issuing of licences to island fishermen which will be confined to those who are habitually resident on an island and who are engaged in small-scale coastal fishing to earn a living.
“For the purpose of the Bill, this will be defined as fishing from a vessel of less than 12 metres and not using towed fishing gear. There are restrictions to ensure it cannot be transferred to anyone else and the licences cannot be traded or sold off, as has happened in the past.
“This Bill will go some way towards ensuring that small fishermen on the islands have a future and its enactment will involve a transferable community island quota, such as has been done in other jurisdictions in the EU.
“Much of the work on this legislation has been done by stakeholders and I want to thank them for their help in drafting the Bill, which has the potential to halt decline in population which has beset our small island communities over the years.
Deputy Pearse Doherty added:
“I am thrilled to have had the opportunity, along with Deputy Kenny, to put my name to this crucially important Bill which we are launching here on Arranmore today.
“This legislation attempts to provide some measure of assistance to our island based fishermen, while working within the scope which exists within the CFP framework, to better enable them to carry on the centuries old fishing traditions of our island communities.
“Island communities have been shamefully abandoned and forgotten about by successive governments which have failed to defend the rights of islanders to fish their own waters: something which they have done for generations.
“The aim of our Bill is to arrest the decline in island populations where fishing has long played a central role in island life, and this legislation is a major development as it will give recognition and support to island populations to enable them to survive and prosper.
“Ahead of this morning’s launch, I want to thank all the various stakeholders and island based groups and organizations for all their help and input as part of this Bill and for joining us for our launch event, and I very much look forward to continuing to work closely with them going forward.
“Now, as the Bill progresses through the House and enters second stage in the coming months, I appeal to the government to support it and ensure its enactment.”