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Displaying items by tag: French Naval exercise

Plans for live-fire exercises by the French military off the southwest coast have been criticised by the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation which says it may stage a peaceful protest.

A marine notice issued by the Department of Transport says it has been advised by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) of a missile/rocket firing exercise by the French military in part of the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) “to the south-west of Ireland”.

The department notice says the exercise is scheduled to take place from June 21st to 24th and June 27th from 0200 hours to 1600 hours daily.

It says the exercise “may be postponed, taking place at the same time on another date within the period June 27th to July 7th, excluding weekends”.

Co-ordinates for the area concerned have been issued as part of the marine notice.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick MurphyIS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy

“Given the nature of the planned exercises, vessels and crew are advised of safety risks in the operational area,” the notice says.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy said that “we know the impact of military sonar and live missile launches have the potential to severely disrupt the annual migratory path of fish and dramatically interrupt the breeding season of mackerel and other migratory fish species”.

“The albacore tuna fishery is opening for Irish vessels on June 23rd in the waters of our Continental Shelf which could potentially be disrupted by these live-fire exercises, whilst also we believe this will cause untold damage to marine wildlife like whales and dolphins that are greatly affected by underwater noise,” he said.

He said he had instructions from his members to “implement a plan to highlight these dangerous exercises and consider any course of action that may disrupt these French military exercises”.

“It is our understanding that live-fire exercises cannot take place if our vessels are engaged in fishing in the area, so we are discussing a plan with our vessel-owners and skippers aimed at once again carrying out a peaceful protest in our traditional fishing areas near the proposed area of the military exercise,” Murphy said in a statement.

“We understand that an aircraft exclusion zone has been announced for the area, but we are dismayed at the lack of comment from our Government, bar the marine notice once again advising us to be cognisant of a marine law that should protect us rather than put us in harm’s way,” he said.

“It would be infinitely preferable if these naval exercises were stopped as a sign we in Europe are peaceful, and not looking to escalate the current tensions,” he said.

“At the very least, they should be relocated further south to waters, well outside of EEZ, beyond our 200-mile limit and away from the men and women who sail their boats in our fishing grounds,” he said.

“The consequence of naval exercises throughout the world’s oceans and seas have been well studied and documented, and their effect on whales and dolphins shows increased strandings and mortalities for weeks and months after the event,” he said.

“As stated previously. we are calling for a moratorium of ten years be introduced to stem these unnecessary military exercises, not just for any individual country but for all states that transit our waters,” Murphy said.

Last January, the IS&WFPO led a campaign against Russian military drills planned for 240 km off the Cork coast, inside the Irish EEZ.

Following a meeting between two fishing industry organisations and Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov, an assurance was given to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney that the controversial naval drills would take place outside the Irish EEZ.

Published in Fishing

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