Irish fishing boats are in Cork Harbour at a 'Show and Tell' aimed at bringing awareness to the public of the plight of the fishing industry

Irish fishing boats in Cork Harbour for today’s ‘Show and Tell’. Image: Marine Traffic

Fishing vessels are gathering this morning for the ‘Show and Tell’ event at the Port of Cork organised by the Irish South and West Fish producers Organisation.

It has been reported that a fleet of up 50 large trawlers and other fishing boats from the south-west, south and south-east coast have descended on Cork City in an effort to bring to the plight of the fishing industry to the attention of the Irish public. Fishers from every sector in Ireland have united to get their message across to the country.

Irish fishers are tired by the mainstream media portrayal of the industry which has become common place today and believe that the public are being misled and not informed of the real facts.

BIM estimates that the seafood industry is worth over €1 billion annually to the Irish economy but that is not being reflected in the incomes of the fishers themselves.

Brexit has hit the industry hard, and Ireland has been punished harder that any other EU coastal state, with a loss of up to 26% of its quota from UK waters. Even though Ireland has now the largest territorial waters in the EU, since the UK has left, Irish fishers are only allowed to fish 15% of the total allowable catch in their own waters.

Irish fishers are asking the Government to demand more quota in their own water from the EU, but the Commission remains steadfast in refusing the country any additional quota. Instead, the EU has offered a Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) Fund which fishers fear will be used to decommission fishing vessels rather than aid the ailing fleet.

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The industry is also facing a crisis with the loss of the control plan and the introduction of sever penalty points have left the ordinary fisher facing a bleak and uncertain future.

Patrick Murphy, CEO of the IS&WFPO spoke to The Fishing Daily on the idea behind the flotilla.

“The industry has been hit hammer blows left, right and centre,” says Patrick. “I don’t think the media has picked u on how dyer the consequences are of all these additions of the workload or regulations that fishermen are under at the moment.

“On top of a loss of one-fifth of their income, it doesn’t seem to have resonated with the public or anybody else, so we have decided as a PO (Producers Organisation) that we need to get the message out somehow.”

The fishing vessels gathered outside the mouth of the harbour this morning and at around 7,00am began to make their way up to the Port of Cork where the ‘Show and Tell’ has been organised with the help of the Port of Cork harbour master.

Later, a party of representatives will go to the constituency office of An Taoiseach Michaél Martin in Turner’s Cross where they will deliver a letter to him.

by Oliver McBride

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