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Ferris condemns cut in Mackerel quota

24 February, 2006

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD has attacked the decision by Marine Minister Noel Dempsey to impose a cut of 6,000 tonnes in the Irish mackerel quota, with a threat of a further 35,000 tonne cut. The Minister claimed that this was due to reports of illegal landings and that it was being deliberately targeted across the entire pelagic fleet as a "lesson" for those who tolerate illegal fishing.

Deputy Ferris said, "Firstly, the imposition of a collective penalty is unacceptable; secondly, there has been no actual official confirmation that the illegal landings are taking place; and thirdly, once again the Department here has acted unilaterally and without any consultation with the industry.

"Coming as it does at the same time as the draconian new Fisheries legislation, Minister Dempsey's decision will be regarded as yet another attack on the beleaguered Irish fishing sector. Fishermen and fishing communities are entitled to wonder whether in fact the Department is engaged in an attempt to make it impossible for most of them to survive. It certainly explains why Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher from a fishing county decided to get out of the Department and why Fianna Fáil backbenchers are so annoyed with Dempsey's handling of the fishing sector." ENDS

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