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March 2014





FREE Kilmore Quay Fishermen Are Facing Extinction U quotas, storms and rising fuel prices are having a catastrophic effect on fishing villages across the country. Kilmore Quay is no exception. Many of the fishermen in the quay haven't worked in ten weeks due to a succession of intense storms. Even when the weather seems to be calm on land, the sea is still whirling from the after effects of the storm. It's not just the fishermen that are impacted upon when a trawler can't get out. This industry extends to include many more workers in fish factories, fish mongers and haulage companies. Local shops, pubs, taxi companies, restaurants and many others are also hit when these people are out of work and out of pocket. You can't blame fishing communities for feeling like they are being conspired against. There is a feeling among those working in the fishing industry that they are the ones paying to ensure EU grants can be accessed by other Irish sectors, such as agriculture. The commercial value of Irelands fisheries from 1975 to 2010 is estimated to have been worth ?210 billion.


Irelands share during this period was only ?17 billion however. It's no wonder, the fishermen argue, that they are now facing extinction. Kilmore Quay fishing crews estimate that they can only work fifteen days out of every month under the strict EU quota regime. Ireland has roughly 20% of the EUs waters but one of the smallest fishing quotas. Even in our own waters Irish fishermen only have a 7% quota. Spain has a 34% quota and can regularly land abundant catches of monkfish and other varieties long after the quota has been reached for Irish fishing vessels. In 2012, the Saltees Crest, one of several Kilmore Quay fishing trawlers owned by Seamus O' Flaherty, was inspected by officers from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA). They concluded that skipper Jimmy Byrne had exceeded the EU quota for monkfish and detained the vessel. Under EU law vessels who catch above their quota are instructed to discard the excess. In practice this means throwing perfectly good catch back into the ocean. Jimmy Byrne refused to do this arguing that he

couldn't waste good food when he knew families back in Kilmore Quay who were struggling to put meals on the table. Seamus O' Flaherty ordered that the excess monkfish, worth over ?10,000, be given away free to anyone who collected it from the pier in Kilmore Quay to highlight the madness of discarding perfectly good catch. Discarding will be phased out in the EU from next year. In recent years the Irish Navy have stepped in on more than one occasion when they felt that a Irish trawler was breaking quota. On at least one occasion warning shots were fired across the bow of a Kilmore Quay vessel. Now the EU plans to electronically monitor fishing crews as part of a new zero tolerance approach to what they see as illegal fishing. The Fishermen in Kilmore Quay say that they are in favour of conservation. After all, they argue, why would they want to destroy the very thing that their community relies upon for survival. They believe that the EU is pursuing a policy of criminalisation of Irish fishermen. Some have even pointed out that only two people are electronically tagged in this state - fishermen and

sex offenders. Fishermen believe that their voice is not being heard in the upper echelons of government and the European Parliament. They want a separate Minister with sole responsibility for fisheries who can accompany the Minister for Agriculture as a equal partner during future negotiations in Brussels. They also want big brother style surveillance of fishing trawlers to be toned down and the proposed new penalty point system to be scrapped. Other ideas include looking at a setaside policy for fishing grounds during spawning season and the establishment of a scheme similar to the Single Farm Payment for fishermen. Irish fishing is facing extinction unless decisive action is taken in the months and years ahead. Communities like Kilmore Quay will wither away and die without a vibrant fishing sector. Maybe it is high time that we all start asking questions about the current plight of Irish fishing, not just the fishermen.

HANDYMAN Do you have a job too small for a builder?  Putting up shelves, pictures and mirrors securely.  Fixing doors that stick or won’t close.  Fixing dripping taps or toilets that won’t flush.  Fixing kitchen cupboards, drawers and shelves.  Fixing draught excluders to doors and windows.  Fitting or replacing door or window locks.  Putting up curtain poles or blinds.  Fixing wonky floorboards.  Assembling flat pack furniture (Ikea, Argos etc)  Cleaning & Repairing Gutters.  Or Anything similar....

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