Deputy Pringle has been lobbying on behalf of a number of fishing families who want to fish for sprat and mackerel in the bay using methods which are more than a century old.
The Independent TD had asked Minister Simon Coveney to give the go-ahead for the practice to continue, arguing that claims the fishermen were also catching salmon just don’t add up.
Deputy Pringle said today: “I tabled a question to Deputy Coveney because fishermen in Inver Bay who use traditional methods which have been in place there for over 100 years have been placed under severe pressure, particularly by the regional fisheries board.
“This is because – perhaps both fortunately and unfortunately – the bay is partly formed by the estuary of a river in which salmon spawn. The regional fisheries board has tried to claim that the individuals to whom I refer are also fishing for salmon when they are out trying to catch sprat and mackerel.
“However, they use completely different gear to fish for the latter and, therefore, the chances of their catching salmon are practically non-existent.
“It is important that the type of fishing in which they are involved should be recognised as a traditional method. I understand there is precedent in this regard because a type of gillnet fishery exists in west Cork.
“I welcome the fact that the Minister is going to consult the Marine Institute and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte. I look forward to a positive outcome in respect of this matter.”
Deputy Simon Coveney told Deputy Pringle: “We are trying to be constructive with regard to this matter. If we can facilitate fishermen who use traditional methods, particularly in respect of specific stocks which fall outside the TAC system, I would be extremely anxious to do so.
“Many restrictions are imposed on those involved in fishing in the context of effort, stocks, quotas and the tonnage that applies in respect of their boats.
“If we can facilitate some flexibility in respect of allowing the use of other methods of catching fish which do not impact on vulnerable stocks, then I would be anxious to encourage this. However, we must ensure that we do our homework properly. The last thing I want to do is provide an indication that it is fine for fishermen to invest and commence fishing and then be obliged to clamp down on their activities in six months time as a result of a decision made by the European Commission.
“What we do must remain consistent with the rules and the law. The reply I have given the Deputy is initial in nature and it suggests that significant opportunities exist if people want to pursue them.”
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