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Ferris calls for radical reform of Fisheries policy

25 January, 2006

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, called today for a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to restore national sovereignty over the sector and ensure that the interests of Irish fishing communities are given priority. Deputy Ferris was speaking during an exchange with the Minister for the Marine, who he requested to make this a key issue within the EU.

Deputy Ferris asked, "Would the Minister not agree that the Common Fisheries Policy has delivered a bad deal for Irish fishing communities, and that a potentially valuable natural resource -- one of the few assets we actually had on entry to the EEC -- has been squandered because effective control over our fisheries has been surrendered to Brussels.

He said, "This state has nominal sovereignty over 11% of EU fishing waters and yet Irish fishermen only take around 4% of the EU catch. Since 1973 not only have billions of Euro in value of fish been taken by foreign fleets with no advantage to the sector here, but that free-for-all has resulted in the depletion of many of the species around our coast.

"Does he therefore agree that the fishing policy is in need of a reform far more radical than that which the Common Agricultural Policy was subject to in the last number of years. And that part of such a reform ought to include the reclaiming of national jurisdiction over our fishing waters and the implementation of a nationally designed strategy to ensure not only that stocks are preserved but that Irish fishing communities are the beneficiaries of the sector in the long term. And that as part of this there is a radical switch from the current system whereby fish from Irish waters end up being processed abroad, to one where it is used as the basis of a thriving processing sector.

"Will he finally undertake to make the demand for a radical reform of the CFP a priority, and that this is placed on the EU agenda as a matter of urgency." ENDS

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