Tony Killeen TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Fisheries in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food formally opened the Federation of Irish Fishermen’s (FIF) review of the Common Fisheries Policy Seminar today (9/10/09).
The seminar brought together a large gathering of fishermen from all around the country to listen to contributions from a broad range of experienced experts in the field of fisheries. It was the culmination of a consultative process engaged in by industry over the summer months to inform and contribute to Irelands position on the CFP.
Minister of State Killeen said “This is an important day for Irish Fishermen in that you get the opportunity to voice your opinions and contribute to shaping Irelands position on the review of the CFP”.
For Ireland the long-term priority is to have a strong, sustainable and profitable seafood industry that supports fishing activities and related economic activity in our coastal communities. These communities have traditionally been based on fishing activity and have relied on access to national fishing quotas. Those quotas need to be maintained and enhanced as national quotas if our fishing communities are to grow and prosper into the future.
Minister of State Killeen went on to say that “While not wanting to pre-empt the outcome of the consultation process, our purpose must be to create and retain jobs and industrial opportunities in our Coastal areas. Some high profile proposals have been put forward that would promote inter nationalisation of the fish quotas and fishing effort, which would threaten our family owned fleet and lead to the concentration of activity among large European fishing companies. This would not be in Irelands interest, would lead to our access to fish stocks in our area declining and would ultimately result in the loss of jobs in our fishing fleet, fish factories and our local coastal economies”. The Minister of State added that “working with the Irish seafood industry the Government will endeavour through the process to reform the Common Fisheries Policy to promote the opportunities for our industry and see off the threats to the development of a thriving seafood sector in Ireland into the future.”
Urging all to engage in an open and frank debate Minister of State Killeen said that he “intended to listen closely to the fishermen, who are best placed to understand the problems with the current policy and suggest changes” and that he “eagerly awaited the result of their deliberations as it would inform his thinking and that of the Government in advance of communicating Ireland’s initial response to the Commission.”