Dublin Port will be the venue for the next Show & Tell event. Photo: Joseph O’Sullivan
Wednesday, 23 June is the date set for the next ‘Show & Tell’ event from the Irish Fishing Industry which will be held at Dublin Port.
The organisers behind the rally are bringing the event to the capital and to the heart of the Irish Government to focus the Irish publics’ attention on the crisis facing the industry, and the perceived lack of support the government shown for rural Irish coastal communities.
Following on from the successful event in Cork on Wednesday 26 May last, the organisers are hoping that this next ‘Show & Tell will have a smiliar impact on the people of Dublin, along with increasing the publicity nationwide for the fishers cause.
“We are appealing to the public to understand what is happening to Ireland’s natural resources, says Patrick Murphy, CEO of the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation.
Patrick, who is one of the organisers says the event is there to educate the public to what is going on inside the industry and in the EU.
“The fishermen are not protesting. They’re trying to tell the Irish people what’s happening to their resource because, as I said, this industry is worth a billion euros according to the BIM annual report.
“If we lose 20% of the raw material, it stands to reason that they will have a knock-on effect right through the figures. So, we will lose 20% of your €1 billion, which is a loss to the Irish country of €200m.
Ireland currently has 15% of the fishing quota in their own waters. A staggering 85% of the remaining quota is divided amongst other EU Member States such as France, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal. All these nations come into Irish waters to fish under the Common Fisheries Policy. But in turn, the Irish fishing industry gets very little fishing back in these countries waters expect for 2,000 tonnes or so of Albacore Tuna fisheries in the Bay of Biscay, but every year, more and more of this Tuna is caught in Irish waters.
The Common Fisheries Policy is based on a system that uses relative stability. Under this mechanism it means that Ireland is only entitled to a small proportion of fish in its own economic area which stretches 200 nautical miles from our coastline, and are now the biggest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the EU.
But when it came to burden sharing to loss of quota from UK waters due to Brexit, in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, Ireland bore the brunt of the cost of Brexit on EU fisheries. Not alone did the EU force Ireland to lose 26% of its fishing in UK waters, other EU Coastal States only lost around 4% of their rights.
Now the Irish fishing fleet stands to lose again as the EU seeks to reduce the number of fishing vessels around the coast. There simply isn’t enough quota for Irish boats and this is driving family-owned businesses to the wall, which will have devastating short and long-term impacts on rural Ireland.
Irish boat owners, families and their communities need more that another round of decommissioning. The Government is neglecting their social responsibilities, their economic responsibilities, and their duties to protect vulnerable societies, along with denying fishers equal rights.
The Irish fishing industry wants the Government to demand a fairer deal from the EU that would represent a future for their families.
“If we had a proper share of fishing in our own waters, say we doubled our share from 15% to 30%, that would be another billion euros or close to it,” says Patrick.
The increase in fishing quota would have a positive affect on the country too because it would create another 16,000 jobs and this would contribute to boosting the economy.
“What’s happening to our country and generations of people who risk their lives in the industry that they were reared and born into. The vast, vast majority. And they are all family-owned business. Still,” says Patrick.
“There are no foreign companies which own the fishing rights or buying fishing rights like what happened in other countries.
“That goes against the actual principles of the Common Fisheries Policy itself, which is the sustain coastal communities which depend on it.
“It’s not the case of one company or one person inside a country can go to their neighbours buy-up their rights and entitlements and enrich himself or herself.
“If that is the case, then the Common Fisheries Policy is no longer fit for purpose.”
by Oliver McBride