Donegal fishermen are among a fleet of over 50 trawlers on the River Liffey this morning in a protest against declining quotas.
Hundreds more people are marching at the National Convention Centre where the Dáil is sitting today.
The protest is highlighting long-running injustices in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and new rules that require all fish catches to be weighed by the pier side.
Donegal Daily understands that Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has extended an invitation to producer organisations to meet with him in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine following the demonstration.
Minister McConalogue has offered to accept a letter written to An Taoiseach seeking a renegotiation of the Common Fisheries Policy.
In advance of his meeting with the fishing organisations, the Minister commented “The Government and I stand with our fishers and we continue to welcome all engagement with fishers, their representatives and with coastal communities, I welcome fisher representatives to the Department today to hear their concerns in person. I recently met with coastal communities on a series of Virtual Townhalls. Now, in line with COVID-19 restrictions, I look forward to meeting with fishers and coastal communities in person at their ports and harbours. We recognise the challenges facing the industry as result of Brexit and the pandemic and I have established the Seafood Sector Task Force to report to me on the future of the industry.”
Minister McConalogue said he is “pursuing every opportunity” at EU level to increase the available quotas for our fishing fleet.
The current Common Fisheries Policy has left fishermen with an injustice whereby Ireland has 12% of the waters in the EU but our fishermen are only allowed to catch 4% of the fish, says Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD.
Mac Lochlainn TD has called on government to provide a statement of intent that they will fight “tooth and nail” for Ireland’s fair share of the fish in our waters when the Common Fisheries Policy is revisited.
He added: “We also urgently need an equal burden sharing of the loss of fish quota arising from the EU/ UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement amongst the fishing fleets of all EU Member States. This quota loss amounts to tens of millions of euro each year to our fleet.”