Sir, – The protest by the Kilmore Quay fishermen (Home News, October 5th) reflects the anger of their contemporaries in all our larger ports. The cause goes back to heavy investment by German and other banks in the Spanish economy after the second World War.
In order to keep nationalistic Basque elements peaceful, investors wanted strong employment in north-west Spain, where fishing is the major occupation, and west of Ireland waters a main source of their prosperity.
So when Ireland was extremely anxious to gain membership of the EEC, it had to – or did – concede access to our rich fishing grounds. It will be recalled that when Brendan O’Kelly, chairman and chief executive of BIM at the time, protested at the ridiculous terms, he was told by Irish government officials to show restraint.
The argument used against Ireland’s claim was that our fleet then was not up to utilising the wealth of fish around our shores. This was true, but our fleet was steadily expanding and as an island nation the sea was a logical source of national wealth.
As we are now capable of exploiting significantly the stocks of white fish, such as monkfish, available to us, a realistic review of our quotas is vital.
Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney, is showing strong initiative in assessing the huge value of our marine resources, and no doubt is aware that Norway plans to multiply the value of its large fish industry six-fold in the next eight years. – Yours, etc,