Agriculture/Animal Welfare

LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR FISHERIES, COASTAL COMMUNITIES AND ISLANDS

“The Oireachtas Sub-Committee Report on Fisheries, Sustainable Rural, Coastal and Island Communities is an interesting and overdue initiative but lamentable by fact, it is not more penetrating in its scope and consultation” according to Sea Fisheries spokesperson for Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) Brendan Price. “Unless immediately developed and informing the current consultations for EU funds, it will be an opportunity lost and inestimable financial loss to those communities”

In fact, and despite approaches, the ISS and numerous stakeholders were ignored in the committee’s consultations, a matter contributing in part to data deficits and some inherent bias.

No doubt committee members were well intended, though easy targets for the big lobby groups and unless these deficits are addressed in the Operational Programmes for Fisheries and Aquaculture and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) consultations currently underway, their recommendations will have little impact with the inevitable and repeated outcome (of successive CFPs(Common Fisheries Policy)), of disproportionate funds and support, to the heavily subsidised minority of large, un-sustainable fishing (< 200 large vessels)and exporting interests, bleeding their communities and economies of common resource. Unless funds are weighed in favour of the numerically superior sustainable inshore fishers (>2000 vessels) and their dependents, and not to their exclusion, these communities have a bleak future.

“This committee and EU commission needs to be far more pro-active and incentivise community representation and stakeholders, rather than merely calling for it, if these communities are to benefit at all by CFP reform. The small inshore fisheries are of critical importance to the socio-economic make-up of these communities” according to ISS. ” This report at best, can serve as platform for further debate and planning, that these communities may qualify for a fair share of EU and EMFF investment to become sustainable”.

Time is no friend to these communities, new EMFF funds are already under pressure and unless this committee and LEADER groups speak for these communities now, it will be too late”

To this end the Sea Fisheries Advisory Group of the ISS is seeking urgent meetings with Commissioner Damanaki, Minister Coveney and the Oireachtas sub-Committee

For further comment: Phone 061 325783; 01 492268; txt.087 3245423