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LETTER

We, the people of Ireland, are the shareholders of our marine resource

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you so you can bring this matter to the notice of the shareholders / Irish citizens – yes, the natural resources of the Irish nation belong to all Irish citizens.

I have been in the fishing/seafood industry for over 45 years and I feel that I can no longer stand by and say nothing and still look my grandchildren in the eyes.

Irish fishing communities have just received a hammering of such magnitude that many businesses will not survive.

This constant beating has taken its toll on fishing and seafood business all over Ireland with many coastal communities already reduced to old folks’ homes as the work vanished.

This has been, and continues to be, purely ethnic cleansing on an industrial scale against fishing communities.

In the Brexit negotiations Irish fishermen received the biggest reduction in fish quotas of all EU countries and, even before these cuts were inflicted, Irish fishermen already had a very small allocation of fish to catch in Irish waters - thanks to poor representation of Ireland over many years.


The current minister, Charlie Mc Conalogue, in my opinion has delivered the biggest hammering to the fishing communities in our history, with his own home constituency of Donegal receiving 75% of the cuts alone.


The cost of the cuts varies between €40m and €80m per year with Donegal on the hook for between €28m to €56m per year -- damage which will inflict confidence to invest in the fishing sector for years to come.


I have been told that Minister Mc Conalogue was ‘asleep at the wheel‘ but I don’t accept this explanation and I suggest the Minister wasn‘t ‘at the wheel‘ at all!


According to questions Ind. T.D. Thomas Pringle asked about meetings the Minister attended regarding Brexit and fisheries, the Minister was not at any Brexit fishery meeting since 21 Nov 2020.


The problem

Ireland’s biggest industry is agriculture but yet we have only one-third of a minister for agriculture -- our fishing waters’ area is ten times larger than our land mass but yet we only have one-third of a minister.


It is not possible for one human being to manage one department of this complexity as to comprehend fisheries alone would take a lifetime never mind also being in charge of the agriculture and food industries.


Ireland spends millions each year managing the industry including: BIM, Bord Bia, SFPA, DEPT. Marine, and the Marine Institute as well as the Irish Naval Service and the upkeep of harbours, -- all under the remit of one-third of a minister.


Since the UK exit from the EU Ireland now has the largest area of water in the EU but yet the industry is a liability to its shareholders (Irish taxpayers). How did we get to this situation?


Irish fishermen only landed €250m last year -- Dunnes Stores turns over ten times more in revenue that our fisheries and employs 15k people, all without any government intervention and it generates millions in revenue for the taxpayers, money to build schools, hospitals, and to pay for the mismanagement of our marine resources.

Is this incompetence or is it worse?


The rich resources of our waters are so mismanaged that the taxpayer is paying the bills and rewarding those responsible for this disaster.


I am calling for an inquiry into the catastrophic state of our marine resources and for accountability for those responsible for the greatest unreported financial scandal in history that has, and will continue, to cost Irish taxpayers billions, never mind the sustainability of fishing communities in an island nation.


The shareholders know more about the Kardashians that they do about their own marine wealth. It is time the public knew what is happening to their shares and to ask questions.

Some facts

· In the IRISH Sea Irish fishermen get 1% of the herring quota and the UK get 99%;

· Irish fishermen get 4% of the hake caught in Irish waters;

· Irish fishermen get 5% of the blue whiting caught in Irish waters

· Irish fishermen get 0% of bluefin tuna while the EU gets 19,000 ton per year (worth €228m per year).

The 2020 EU quota for bluefin tuna was increased to 19,360 ton per annum - Ireland’s share is 0% despite Irish waters being full of bluefins.


Bluefin tuna spend approximately five to six months each year feeding in our bays feasting on herring, sprat, mackerel and they are as fat as turkeys at Christmas when they leave Irish waters - just ready for the very lucrative Sushi market in Japan. In fact, in October 2020, some 52 Japanese tuna boats travels eight weeks by sea to catch bluefins as the fish left our waters.

The EU share of the global bluefin quota, negotiated under the ICCAT has increased by a massive 73% since 2016 from 11,200 tons to 19,360 tons this year, yet the Irish government didn’t secure one single ton of this for the Irish fishing industry -- a shocking failure by the Irish Government.


To add insult to injury, we are only allowed a ‘catch & release’ rod & line fishery scheme since last year which has tracked the state and location of the stocks for everyone else to catch them.


I hope that you, the shareholders of Ireland’s marine resource, will demand better from the board of management.

This minister, and previous ministers, have no idea what is going on - clearly obvious by their track record.


The current minister is only a boy for the Department of Marine to read out their press releases.

The Dept of Marine has managed this resource for over 40 years - the same Dept. that spent millions on legal fees to prove that the seed muscle beds inside our waters was not a natural resource of the State.


Thankfully they lost this case but the taxpayer picked up the bill, again.


It takes a special level of incompetence to turn a gold mine into a liability for the shareholders.


The main focus of this Dept of Marine is to give away all the natural resources of the State let it be mussels, fish quota etc.

I think an independent inquiry from outside the State into this situation is required before our industry is totally finished.


Once again, remember this resource is owned by every Irish citizen.

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