Fishermen to march to Taoiseach’s office in Cork for Brexit deal and fish quota
A flotilla of 50 trawlers will sail into Cork Harbor and their crews will march to Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s office to demand a fair share of the quota for Irish fishermen.
The protest scheduled for Wednesday is organized by the Irish Fish Producers Organization of the South and West (ISWFPO) and aims to highlight the challenges facing the Irish fishing industry since the Brexit deal , which reduced access to UK waters.
ISWFPO CEO Patrick Murphy said fishing vessels will sail from Roches Point to Cork City Docks to launch a “campaign to raise awareness of the plunder of our greatest natural resource”.
“After a short rally, fishermen and their families will march in solidarity with Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s office on Evergreen Road in Turners Cross to hand deliver a letter outlining the plight of the industry,” he said.
Mr Murphy said the Brexit deal reached on December 24 between the European Union and the UK will result in Irish fishermen losing millions of euros of income if they do not receive a fair share fish swimming in Irish waters.
He compared the situation between the UK, which will be able to catch 75 percent of the fish in its waters thanks to the Brexit deal, with that of Irish fishermen who are limited to catching just 15 percent of the stocks in Irish Waters.
“In addition, job losses of 4,000 or more jobs in the offshore capture and onshore processing industry are estimated to inevitably follow these wild cuts,” said Murphy.
An administrative penalty point system for a boat and its fishing license, and a penalty point system on a skipper’s personal license are proposed.
He said this change allied with the ‘Christmas Eve theft through the Brexit deal’ of a large proportion of Irish fish from a historically low share of fishing quotas in Irish waters would mean the end of fishing in many Irish harbors and harbors.
Weigh the fish
Mr Murphy said the last straw for those working in the fishing industry was the European Commission’s decision to introduce its control plan which requires fishermen to weigh their fish at the quayside.
Mr Murphy said Irish fishermen have invested heavily in refrigerated fish holds, ice machines and refrigerated saltwater plants to bring ashore a premium product recognized around the world.
“Producers have also spent a considerable amount of money to maintain the highest hygienic standards when handling this product. We must now ignore this good practice and weigh in on jetties open to all the elements and wildlife like seagulls.
“We know that the capitulation of fishermen in the face of these draconian measures [introduced in the wake of Brexit] will spell the end of our industry, which will also lead to the erasure of our coastal communities, ”he said.
“We know it from state agency reports, like those from BIM [Bord Iascaigh Mhara] show the importance of our fishing industry in sustaining the economic and cultural well-being of rural communities all along our rugged island coastline.
“The vast majority of our members share these concerns, but not because they cannot trade or continue the profession handed down to them by their fathers and mothers, but because their rights have been taken away.
“They now find themselves the pawn on the European chessboard to be sacrificed so that the bigger countries can triumph,” said Mr Murphy, adding that Ireland’s gift of renewable natural resources could not continue.
“It is not a big request to have a level playing field to mirror those of our European fishermen and even the British vessels fishing in our waters. It is high time that we received a fair share of the fishing quota in our waters.
“It is neither reasonable nor fair to expect the Irish fleet to stay in port while foreign fleets with multiples of our quota in our waters continue to fish unhindered, thus depriving our fishermen of the right to win. their life.