Pringle: Super trawlers taking livelihoods of Irish fishermen

The Donegal South West TD says EU stole fishing stocks when Ireland joined in 1973

Thomas Pringle said  Irish fishermen account for less than 20 per cent of fish caught in Irish waters every year. Photograph: Chris Furlong/Getty Images

Thomas Pringle said Irish fishermen account for less than 20 per cent of fish caught in Irish waters every year. Photograph: Chris Furlong/Getty Images

 

Factory super trawlers were damaging the livelihoods of fishermen off the west and northwest coasts, Independent Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle told the Dáil yesterday.

He said the vessels had Lithuanian, Dutch and German flags. “All the vessels are more than likely owned by a single Dutch company,’’ he added.

“They have been happily fishing away, while small inshore Irish fishing vessels cannot get a quota and are not allowed to fish at all.’’

Mr Pringle said the inshore fishermen were forced to stay at home all around Donegal. “Everyone in the Irish fishing community knows the EU stole our fishing stocks when we joined the EU in 1973,’’ he said.

Successive governments had refused to attempt to address that wrong because of a fear of upsetting the EU, he added.

“Today, more than 1.1 million tonnes of fish are caught in Irish waters every year and less than 20 per cent of that is caught by Irish fishermen,’’ he told the Dáil

He said the vessels should be ordered to a safe harbour to be inspected by Irish authorities.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority was committed to ensuring EU quotas were fairly and sustainably managed.

Ms Burton said she would pass on Mr Pringle’s concerns to Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney, who was extremely active on the issues raised.