Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the European Parliament to stop backing multinational supertrawler operators at the expense of ordinary fishing communities.
The Ireland South MEP made the call after the European Council rejected amendments she put forward on the characterisation and definition of fishing vessels.
“There are major flaws in legislation that do not properly distinguish between small-scale, traditional and artisanal fisheries and large-scale industrialised fisheries,” she said.
“From my position on the Fisheries Committee I put forward a number of proposals which would have balanced out some of these glaring inequalities, such as taking into account other vessel size attributes besides vessel length, their social role in coastal communities, the ecological impact of their gears, fishing and fuel capacity, processing ability and output, and the economics of the enterprise.
“These amendments were all supported by the Committee but were shamefully opposed by the Council.
“Legislation needs to take a step in the right direction in regulating these industrial floating factories that have been catastrophic for local communities and their small fleets, marine biodiversity and stocks.
“The Common Fisheries Policy, relative stability and its ITQ system has enabled governments to auction off fish to multinational predators operating these colossal factory ships pushing out ordinary small-fishermen.
“If traditional fishing communities are to survive the EU must establish proper technical and legal distinctions of small boats from large vessels. The de facto EU policy of supporting these multinational giants at the expense of ordinary fishing communities must come to an end.”