Minister for the Marine Michael Creed and the fishing industry are at loggerheads.
“What experience and history teach is that governments never learnt anything from history nor act on principles deduced from it,” industry representative organisations say.
They claim that nearly 2,000 small-scale fishing businesses and jobs in them are in danger of being destroyed because the Minister and Department haven’t discussed the policy of allowing Northern Ireland fishing boats to operate inside the Republic’s six-mile limit.
This was thrown out by a Supreme Court decision. The Department has put forward legislation to restore it. Wording would allow boats “registered and operated in Northern Ireland” to fish inside six miles anywhere around the Irish coast.
“This can be taken advantage of by fishing companies in any part of the EU to fish up to the shoreline where they now can’t. They could buy and operate boats out of Northern Ireland to gain inshore access which they are now denied,” the Irish Fish Producers Organisation has said.
Nearly a quarter of British-registered fishing boats are already owned by one Dutch company While some legal adjustment needs to be made for cross-Border reciprocal fishing rights, the proposed changes are being rushed through without consultation.
"They don’t protect the small boats of our inshore fleet or take account of the impact of Brexit. This is a repeat of the disaster of original EU entry when the government ignored the views of the industry. The government didn’t listen then and you aren’t listening now,” representative organisations have told Minister Creed.
FISHERMEN HELP THE RNLI
The Cork Draft Net Fishermen’s Association maintains a link with a historic fishery that has been squeezed by regulations over past years into a small operational period in summer months.
When I asked why they keep it going, they told me: “All we want to do is maintain a traditional method of fishing which was passed down to us. It is in our blood and we want to keep it. Why should we not be proud as Irishmen of maintaining our traditions?”
There is not much opportunity for a full-time living to be earned from this fishery, but with what resources they have they help the lifeboats. Two of their leaders, Jack Howard and Noel Hegarty, arrived into Crosshaven RNLI station in the past week with a cheque for €400 to lifeboat funds.
“They raise money for us every year,” Jon Mathers of the RNLI said.
AISLING AUCTION NEXT WEEK
The former Naval vessel LE AISLING will go for sale on Thursday of next week.
Auctioneer Dominic Daly has scheduled a public auction for the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 12 noon on March 23. “Offshore patrol vessel, 65 metres length overall, capable of making 17 knots speed, with accommodation for 46 crew,” says the sale information.
SCHULL COMMUNITY RESCUE TO BE TAKEN OVER BY COAST GUARD
The operation of Schull’s community inshore rescue service is to be taken over by the Coast Guard, following discussions.
The change from community to State operation will happen over the next few weeks. Voluntary funding has been a backbone of the service.
‘TAR BALLS’ AND ‘FATBERGS’
Unusual arrivals on Irish shores – ‘tar balls’ in Mayo and ‘fatbergs’ in Dublin! Keel Beach on Achill Island has been littered by what seemed to be black stones washing in from sea, but were found to be blobs of crude oil.
Lumps of palm oil washed up on Skerries Beach in County Dublin. These were described as “fatbergs”.
EVENING ECHO SPORT TOMORROW: Kinsale concludes its Frostbites.