Answers Demanded Over Early Closure of Coastal Waters to Prawn Fishermen
with losses Valued at €6 Million
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty is demanding
an urgent explanation from the Minister for the Marine over the
decision by authorities to close the strategic Porcupine Bank fishing
zone located off Ireland's west coast to Prawn fishermen.
understood that the decision to pre-maturely close the section of
the Atlantic ocean shelf, which is amongst the richest prawn fishing
grounds in the world, was taken last July with fishermen now claiming
that the move has resulted in the loss of some six hundred tonnes
of catch to Irish fishing vessels, estimated to be worth some €6M.
Doherty said: "Over the last number of days, I have been contacted
by fishermen and boat crews here in Donegal all expressing alarm
and anger at what they claim was the sudden and yet unexplained
decision taken by fishery authorities to close the Porcupine Bank
to Irish vessels.
and boat owners are claiming that the closure of the zone, which
was reportedly taken during high fishing season last July, has prevented
Irish vessels from entering the region to fish for prawn thus resulting
in potentially up to six hundred tonnes of lost catch in fishing
being claimed that up to forty boasts have been affected by this
decision, and fishermen have stated that this loss of catch will
have huge implications for them financially in lost revenues, with
the catch valued at an estimated €6M.
understand that this controversial decision is currently the subject
of legal proceedings with crews arguing that, even if this action
is reversed and the zone is reopened, it is now much too late in
the season to pursue the remaining catch as weather conditions are
not now favourable.
the frustration and concern of our fishermen is completely justified
should this be the case and I have already made a request to the
Sea Fisheries Protection Authority for a copy of all files and documents
held by the body which may shed some light on the rationale behind
will also be raising this matter with the Minister in the Dáil
this week where I will be seeking urgent answers as to why this
decision was taken and who was responsible for closing this strategically
important fishing zone to Irish boats and fishing crews.
rights and livelihoods of our fishermen cannot be put into jeopardy
like this, and I have given them a commitment to pursue this matter
and provide them with the answers which they are seeking over this
yet to be explained decision."