Cork Fianna Fáil TD, Micheál Martin, has criticised Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney for his lack of consultation with fishermen in signing the Common Fisheries Policy. The policy may drive many young people from the industry which employs some 12,000 people in Ireland.
Deputy Martin raised these concerns with Minister Coveney in the Dáil today.
He commented: “I met with representatives of all the main fishing organisations in West Cork last week and they expressed how they were angry, annoyed and disillusioned with Minister Coveney in relation to the outcome from the Common Fisheries Policy.
“There was a complete lack of consultation between the Minister and the fishermen in the lead-up to the agreement being reached. In fact the representatives told me the policy has the potential to put many fishermen in Ireland out of business.
“The fishermen feel that the compromise on the ‘discard policy ‘ is unworkable in the whitefish industry, given the mixed conditions in which the majority of whitefish vessels operate.
“The implications for rural coastal communities like Castletownbere, Union Hall and Baltimore could be devastating. Minister Coveney, in his position as President of the Council, should have ensured that the Hague preferences were included in the deal. Fianna Fáil MEP, Pat the Cope Gallagher, tabled an amendment to the deal to include the Hague preferences, which was defeated.
“This essentially means that Ireland will no longer be entitled to a bigger share of traditional stocks fished in our waters when they are at low levels. Younger people will no longer want to go into fishing and this may have a devastating effect on the 2,100 fishing vessels in Ireland dependent on the industry.”