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Ferris: "Report Needs to Signal Radical Shift in Fisheries Policy."

30 January, 2007

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, has said that the publication of the Government's strategy for the seafood industry has to mark the beginning of a radical shift in policy for the sector. The report envisages large scale investment from the National Development Plan, additional state finance and private funding.

The Kerry North TD said: "Any strategy for the fisheries sector is to be welcomed as an alternative to decades of mismanagement and neglect. Central to that mismanagement has been the abject surrender of national sovereignty over our fisheries to the EU under the deeply flawed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The ongoing damage wrought by this meant that in 2004 only a small proportion of the 700,000 tonnes of fish taken from our waters was caught by the Irish fleet.

"While the report recognises that white fish and pelagic quotas for most Irish fishermen are below economic viability, it offers no alternative to the current EU regime. The stark reality therefore is that ongoing implementation of the CFP will mean the effective destruction of the Irish fishing sector. There are many laudable objectives outlined in the report but unless the Irish Government is prepared to argue for a radical and comprehensive reform of the CFP in the interests of Irish fishing communities they will never come to fruition."


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