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Ferris questions fish quota cut when EU sanctions illegal fishing

6 December, 2006

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, has claimed that serious questions must be asked after Minister Dempsey admitted yesterday that foreign vessels have EU sanction to conduct illegal fishing in Irish waters if described as 'research'. He said it emphasised the need for questions to be asked about the latest proposed cut in the fishing quota, and accused the Government of 'standing up for EU bureaucrats instead of Irish fishermen'.

The Kerry North TD said: "Firstly, Minister Dempsey informs me that this state's permission is not required for research undertaken in Irish waters. Secondly, he states that even though his Department objected to Spanish vessels undertaking hake 'research' using under-sized mesh and even though the Navy arrested one such vessel, the Rosaris, it had to be released because it had EU sanction to conduct this illegal fishing here.

"Given that commercial vessels from other fleets are using the cover of "research" to illegally fish and that this is then used as the basis for recommendations on stock, it calls the entire quota process into question. Once again it is Irish fishermen that are being asked to pay the price for persistent, and often illegal, over fishing by other EU fleets in our waters. Yet the Government is more interested in standing up for EU bureaucrats than Irish fishermen.

"Surely the time has come for the Irish Government to stand up and call a halt. We need our own independent research, and we need to ensure that fisheries policy is radically reformed, to ensure that sustainable fishing by Irish vessels is given priority. The grossly disproportionate share that Irish fishermen have of the quota for our own waters must be revised."


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