CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Francis O’Donnell, is calling for an immediate fleet decommissioning scheme following the conclusion of 2014 fishery talks in Brussels.
The “massive reductions” in haddock, cod and whiting in the Celtic Sea will displace effort into the prawn fishery which has seen a cut of 9% he said. “This will cause chaos in terms of quota management and will result in people leaving the industry. We need Minister Coveney to implement a fleet decommissioning scheme as early as possible.”
Prawn fleets operating out of ports such as Howth on Ireland’s east coast are likely to see increased effort from displaced vessels following major cuts in key whitefish fisheries. Photo Gillian Mills
O’Donnell however added this would be a “short-term solution” and did not address the “long-term degradation of the Irish fishing industry. “We need a dedicated scientific fund at national level to counteract the arbitrary cuts for data limited stocks which the Commission is applying year on year.”
Ireland must take the initiative in terms of scientific research, he said. “We are failing to do this which is a strategic mistake. I am asking Minister Coveney to be proactive and think in the longer term,” he said.