‘Sustainable Fishing Policy for Celtic Sea vital for Ros an Mhíl jobs’
A sustainable fishing management plan is vital for the Celtic Sea if jobs are to be protected and the mistakes of the 2011 season are to be avoided. Speaking in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday evening, Galway West Deputy Seán Kyne raised the concerns expressed to him by members of the fishing community based in Ros a Mhíl in South Connemara.
“Ros an Mhíl plays an important part in the processing of fish, particularly herring, which are caught off the south and south west coasts.
“Nationally, over 500 jobs are dependent on this fishing area but jobs are being put at risk by increased numbers of fishing trawlers which has shortened the season by four weeks. This is due in large part to the arrival of super-trawlers from the north-west and abroad who, with towing nets larger than Croke Park, catch multiples of their weekly quota in just one haul resulting in serious discarding of good herring which are dumped back in the ocean.
“For the first time ever, this year trawlers landed catches from the Celtic Sea in Northern Ireland, France and Denmark which deprived the four Irish fish processors, such as the one based in Ros an Mhíl, who are dependent on this fishing area of much needed business as well as depriving the State of any revenue.
“Furthermore, Ros an Mhíl, unlike the overseas locations cannot land catches from the Celtic Sea and is awaiting a decision on an application to do so, an application which I fully support.”
In his response Minister Coveney emphasised that following the collapse of stocks in the late 1990s careful management, in partnership with the Celtic Sea Herring Management Advisory Committee and the Oranmore-based Marine Institute, the rebuilding of the stocks will be complete by the end of the year. The 2012 total allowable catch quota is expected to increase significantly on the 2011 figure of 13,263 tonnes.
“The fishing industry is exceptionally important for Ros an Mhíl and the Connemara region,” continued Deputy Kyne, “and the new management plans being examined by Minister Conveney’s Department must recognise this. The Connemara region must benefit from the positive results of the sustainable re-stocking programmes and fishing plans and the mistakes of the 2011 season must be learnt from and avoided for the next season. Much-needed jobs are dependent on it.”