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RTE’s ‘slanted’ anti Irish fishing industry program

In an open letter to the RTE broadcasting complaints department, IFSA (the Irish Fishing & Seafood Alliance) has accused the tv station of a “complete misrepresentation of Ireland’s fishing industry as well as attempting to mislead the general public on the current state of the industry”. RTE’s series of pro environmental shows Eco Eye have covered a wide range of issues in its lifetime – from general nature and birdwatching to climatic concerns and impacts on Ireland’s environment. The edition aired on RTE on Tuesday February 9th which, on its online description states that this program would “meet with scientists and communities fighting to safeguard the (marine) precious habitats” (source: presspack.rte.ie). What actually transpired was a wholly inaccurate portrayal of the fishing industry with constant references to overfishing and the need for Ireland to reduce its fleet size as well as other statements and assumptions alluding to an idea that Irish fishing communities were contributing to the environmental impact of our seas and the decimation of Irish waters. “To say this is program has been poorly researched in a ‘green angled’ bid to fool the general public would be an understatement – it is an outrageously incorrect report which was lacking in any aspects of the facts and extremely damaging to economic survival of Ireland’s rural coastal communities who rely on the fishing industry,” said Cormac Burke, IFSA Chairman. In one part of the program the interviewer spoke with John Nolan, manager of the Castletownbere Fishermens’ Co-Op who gave a fair summary of the state of the industry, the pressure fishermen are under from constant cuts of vital quota, and how the knock-on effects of this would hit the very core of coastal communities nationwide – only for the interviewer to then follow on with her own version of a summary of his statements along the lines of “there we can see that even the fishing industry themselves agree that the impacts of fishing need to be reduced and there needs to be a decommissioning scheme to reduce the size of the fleet to match the available quotas….” “Mr Nolan said no such thing and the program’s translation of his comments was clearly a blatant attempt to convince viewers that Ireland’s fishing industry needs to decrease in size immediately,” commented Mr Burke adding that any journalist worthy of the name would have researched the facts to produce a balanced report and having done so, would have learned that Ireland has already suffered a fleet decommissioning scheme which removed over one third of the overall fleet size. “That edition of Eco Eye was basically promoting the EU Fisheries Commission’s disgraceful aims of continuing to reduce Ireland’s share of fish in its own waters while vessels from all other EU nations are being allocated vast amounts of quota in our waters. “Did this researcher even know that Ireland is only allowed 3.9% by the EU of the total EU fish quotas despite the fact that we physically own 11% of EU waters? “I think this is a case of ‘not letting the truth get in the way of a good story’ and was produced with anti-industry and anti - Ireland’s rural coastal communities,” he said, adding that it was also worth noting that a Castletownbere vessel owner/skipper was also interviewed at length but didn’t get one single minute of air time on the program – presumably because he didn’t say anything they wanted to hear,” he concluded. · A copy of this article has been sent to RTE – if you wish to support our industry against such future incorrect ‘green agenda’ propaganda then please email your comments to complaints@rte.ieand/or feedback@rte.ie listing the name of the program and the date it was aired – Eco Eye, RTE on Tuesday February 9th

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