Fishermen to benefit as net ban to be lifted soon


The European Parliament has paved the way to lift a ban on the use of traditional nets off the Donegal coast that was put in place due to concerns over cod stocks. MEPs overwhelmingly passed an initial vote to allow the use of gill and tangle nets, which will open up parts of the northwest coast to fishing for haddock, lobster, crab and lesser spotted dogfish.

A total ban on cod fishing in 2009 off the northwest coast has meant fishermen have not been able to use the nets to fish for other species close to land. “The measures for cod recovery have caused major difficulties for fishermen off the Donegal coast,” said Fianna Fáil MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher, who proposed the vote.

The plan will also mean Donegal fishermen will not have to discard haddock or whiting when they catch other species. While Irish boats have been banned from fishing for juvenile cod in the area, the agreement will also ban non-Irish boats from fishing the stock.

A final vote was not held as the parliament is in dispute with EU member states in the Council of Ministers over the role of MEPs on fisheries policy. “We, the directly elected body of the European Union, and the Council of Ministers together share a joint responsibility as co-legislators. The Council of Ministers must wake up to their responsibilities and respect the Treaty of Lisbon and the citizens of the European Union,” Mr Gallagher told parliament yesterday. A final vote is due next month.