Government engagement needed to protect fishing families - Conway-Walsh
Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has said that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine must engage with the relevant inshore fishing sector, before introducing a law that will have a major impact on our island’s fish stock and the viability of fishing as a livelihood for all who work in the industry.
Speaking ahead of a bill which returns to the Seanad next week, which has caused considerable concern in the fishing industry, Senator Conway-Walsh said:
“Sinn Féin have submitted significant amendments to the Sea Fisheries (2019) Bill. These amendments reflect the concerns expressed by fishermen that this law will give a legal footing for companies from anywhere to fish inside Ireland’s six mile limit.
"There is a danger that it will give the go ahead for multi-national corporations to come in and plunder Ireland’s natural resources such as our mussel fishery, as they have been allowed to do in the past.
"If the Government really had such concern for the fishing industry in Mayo and the protection of the fish stock nationally, they would not have spent two years doing nothing, only to try and push legislation through at the last minute.
"Any law around fisheries affects livelihoods now and the ability for future generations to earn a living from fishing.
"Recent events in Co Louth and the Brexit deadline looming with the associated dangers of Britain withdrawing from the London Fisheries Convention and the Common Fisheries Policy has highlighted the lack of Government action.
"This seems to be the way Fine Gael govern, to move from crisis to crisis. Instead they should engage with the industry and plan ahead with them to make fishing viable and sustainable.
"In the last two years I have been contacted numerous times by those in the fishing industry in Mayo highlighting concerns at this very issue. Sinn Féin has listened and it is high time the Government did the same."