The range of problems facing the industry have now become a perfect storm, threatening its future viability
The fishing industry is facing its biggest ever crisis, according to Social Democrats Agriculture Spokesperson Holly Cairns.
“Today’s flotilla of 50 trawlers in Cork is a visual representation of the extent of the frustration felt by the fishing community, who feel the government has little interest in supporting the industry.
“While the protest was focused on the reduction of fishing quotas as a result of the Brexit deal, the sector faces a range of considerable challenges.
“The agreement between the EU and Britain, reached in December, saw Ireland surrender a greater percentage of its quota than most other EU states. This has resulted in Irish-based boats limited to just 16pc permissible catch in Irish waters – meaning many businesses are now in serious jeopardy.
“This has come after a year of poor trading due to a reduction in demand from the hospitality sector. The government’s introduction of a penalty points system, which lacks an appeal process – and therefore, a basic requirement of natural justice – puts a further burden on small fishing communities and families.
“The range of problems facing the industry have now become a perfect storm, threatening its future viability. The continued existence of fishing as an industry, which has occurred in Irish ports and harbours for centuries, is facing its greatest ever threat.
“The Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has established a task force in response to the Brexit deal. It is essential that small-scale fishermen and women, and inshore fishers who are often overlooked, are fully part of this process. Their voices, and concerns, must be heard and addressed.”
26 May, 2021