----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----

Urgent 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.

16th October 2017

It's 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.

Deputy 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.

"Crews 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 quota.

"It's 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.

"I 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.

"Understandably, 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 this move.

"I 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.

"The 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."

ber 2017 Issue - Vol 30 No.05

October 2017 issue in all good stockists

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