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LETTER


Let’s make a change

In life we are inclined to make sacrifices now to make provision for the future.

This is true of fishing more than any other industry as we give our early lives in the hope of providing for a future.

I have been thinking how best to stop the Minister and his department from destroying our futures and that we must first decide what exactly it is that we want -- I suggest we initially at least need the same amount of quotas as 2020.

What is our greatest threat? Blocking the ports.

But how do you come to justify the blocking the ports and not be accused by the public of overfishing?

Irish vessels can fish sustainably in 2021, catching the same amounts of fish as they did in 2020 if foreign vessels catching in our waters are cut back.

Perhaps the initial protest to Mc Conalogue should be at his Letterkenny constituency office by the fishing families from the west of the county and at the Carndonagh office by the fishing families in the east side of his constituency.

Mc Conalogue, in his persistent defence of the fishing part of the BREXIT outcome shows a clear misunderstanding of what this deal means for the Irish fishing industry.

He puppets the narrative that the UK didn't get all they wanted in their UK waters but fails to mention that they didn't have to give up fishing opportunities in ROI waters.

Politicians really fear local protests as sometimes their re-election can be a close run thing.

At present, Fianna Fail is on 12 to 14% in the polls and fishing related families could make a difference in the Minister's constituency.

At the protest, the representatives of the protest need to get a meeting and the demand is as follows:

(i) Irish Fishermen will operate on all species based on last year’s quotas (perhaps with a plan to increase this take to 25 to 30% over five years).

(ii) The TCA and UK fisheries to be re-negotiated over the next five years and the Irish fishermen need to be setting down a marker in good time.

If Irish fishermen decide to ignore the new quotas (post BREXIT) and work to last year’s quotas, what happens if the SFPA move to stop the fishermen landing or selling the catch?

Then that is the time for the blockading of the ports and the first boat to be stopped fishing to 2020 quotas is the trigger for the blockade.

This puts it up to the SFPA and the Minister and is easier explained to the Irish public why they (and us) have been dealt such a bad blow.

Every sector of the industry should buy into this as there is a win for every sector.

No foreign vessels inside the 6nm and the 6-12-mile access for foreign vessels to be phased out over the next two years.

Fishermen can also honestly say there were grave errors made by our negotiators over the years that no longer fit in the present international understanding of fairness and equality.

In fact, the present deterioration of the Common Fisheries Policy is no longer delivering it's objectives for coastal communities and waiting until 2022 for a review of the CFP is no longer an option.

Industry has no trust nor confidence in the senior management in DAFM and a new team is required immediately.

Also, there is no reason why we cannot make a provision for a bluefin quota and no longer be beggars in our own coastline.

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