Proposals on fisheries legislation: Best to wait to finalise new law

ONE of the unfortunate consequences of joining the European Union was the negative impact on the commercial fishing industry. 

The argument that we sacrificed fisheries so the farm sector might prosper is routinely offered. Though that arrangement worked very well for the farm sector it is little consolation for trawler owners, fish processors or coastal communities who can only look on, once certain quota limits have been reached, as trawlers from other EU states fish in waters they traditionally regarded as Irish. That bitter pill is even more difficult to swallow if some of the world’s super trawlers are active in Irish waters exploiting finite natural resources in a totally unsustainable and difficult to police way. That one of these affronts to nature can catch something on a par with all the quota offered to the entire Irish fleet in a year rubs salt into a very deep wound.

Earlier this week the Oireachtas joint committee on agriculture, food and the marine considered the Sea Fisheries Amendment Bill 2017. At that hearing the Irish Fish Producers Organisation opposed the bill, warning that, if enacted, it would “open back door” to EU vessels and undermine Ireland’s position during Brexit negotiations. Representatives of the Killybegs fishermen and of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation also opposed it. It would be unwise to proceed with this legislation until all relevant issues around Brexit are finalised. Whenever that might be.


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