DONEGAL Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn had hit out at the continual allowance of so-called ‘super trawlers’ to operate in Irish waters.
Mac Lochlainn, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, was speaking as two large trawlers were located just off the Donegal coast.
“It is quite scandalous to see on the map that you have one trawler that is 470-feet long and another super-factor trawler that is 414 feet long,” he said.
“They are two huge vessels hoovering up fish from Irish seas. This is a time when so many fishermen are struggling and are under so many restrictions. It is a scandal.”
The Inishowen-based TD says that it is time for the Government to step in.
He said: “I am calling on the Minister to intervene and bring this type of activity to a stop. These concerns have been raised internationally.
“Australia, for example, have banned trawlers over 120-feet from their waters. How can you justify it if you’re serious about creating a sustainable fishery?
‘These trawlers hoover the fish from the sea for a small number of profiteers. It is long past time that our Government and Minister bring this to an end.”
This comes after Deputy Mac Lochlainn yesterday called on the Minister for the Marine and the government to urgently engage with their European counterparts to secure a reasonable share of the of the global bluefin quota set by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Speaking in the Dáil, he said: “”There is growing outrage in Ireland’s coastal communities at the spectacle of a flourishing bluefin tuna fishery in Irish waters feeding on spawning stock of mackerel, horse mackerel (scad), herring, hake, sprat, cod and other species.
“They are being fattened up in our waters, only to be caught by foreign vessels, making a fortune of money that should be enriching our fishers.
“I have recently raised this issue with the Minister for the Marine Charlie McConalogue and he has confirmed that Ireland does not have a bluefin tuna quota and that the only way to secure one is to obtain a share of the overall EU quota.
“I am calling on the Minister and the government to listen to the outrage in our coastal communities about this issue and to urgently assert our rights in this matter.”