Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Government to step-up to the plate on fisheries
Sinn Féin’s Fisheries spokesperson, Padraig Mac Lochlainn, TD, hit out at the Government’s inaction on claiming equal rights for the Irish fishing industry in their own waters.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn claims that the Irish Government’s disregard of the industry is coasting tens-of-thousands of jobs every year and their negligent attitude towards the sector is costing the economy €600 million annually.
The Irish fishing sector is also losing out in valuable North-East Atlantic bluefin tuna fisheries which other EU countries getting quota despite the much sought-after fish being abundant in Irish waters.
Speaking in the Dáil the Donegal Deputy said, “Irelands waters are 12% of the overall European Union waters. Yet, in terms of fish, we’re getting 4%, so we’re getting one-third in proportionate terms. Nowhere near a fair share of the fish within European Union waters.
“And what’s the impact of that?
“The impact of that is every single year tens-of–thousands of jobs being lost in our seafood sector, tens-of-thousands of jobs every year.
“It’s estimated that the loss to our economy is €600 million per year because we’re not getting a fair share of the fish within our own waters or overall European Union waters. So that’s the context that has led to an even bigger and justice know where we’re taking proportionately much bigger hits of this deal.
“This is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable, and what I’m hearing from the Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and the Taoiseach today is that we should be grateful that we weren’t blocked from getting access entirely from UK waters, but they’re missing the point. The historical context is we have never got a fair share of the fish in our own waters.
“This isn’t about sustainability. This is about us getting a fair share and that fact is costing us tens-of-thousands of jobs every year, €600 million before this trade deal (TCA), is now even worse again, that’s why people are so angry.
“I also want to put on the record today, the issue of bluefin tuna.
“Bluefin tuna is one of the most lucrative fish in the world, is in abundance right now in our waters. In the last four years, there’s been a 73% increase, that’s 8,000 tonnes, additional for European Union fishing fleet. Yet not one fish, not one pound of that was given to the Irish fleet, even though it’s in abundance in our water, right now, our fishermen can only catch and release bluefin tuna, yet huge volumes of them are caught in our waters by foreign fleets. And that is allowed to continue.
“So put to you that the accumulative injustice the example of the bluefin tuna. Our fishing communities are being treated with absolute and utter contempt. Some urging you, Minister to up your game collectively as a government and to put all these facts on the table with our European partners and demand fair play and justice for our coastal communities.”
By Oliver McBride