Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has reiterated her call for the Irish Government to ban supertrawlers in Irish waters.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the Fisheries Committee in Brussels, was speaking after a Public Hearing in the European Parliament entitled Supertrawlers: Destructive or Sustainable?
“Ms Ní Riada was joined by Irish industry representatives from the Irish Islands, Low Impact Fishers of Europe and the Irish South and West Fisheries Organisation for the hearing.
“For a long time I have been calling for the Irish Government to at the very least enforce our marine laws on supertrawlers to same extent they do to our smaller indigenous fleet,” she said.
“It is no secret that I am not a fan of supertrawlers and have been campaigning against them on behalf of Irish fishermen since being elected to the European Parliament.
“However, I went into today’s hearing with an open mind, eager to hear from those who own and operate supertrawlers, about why their vessels are a good thing.
“I remain entirely unconvinced. There is simply no justification for the damage they do to our marine environment, the destruction they cause to equipment used by smaller vessels, the affect they have on stocks, questionable practices when it comes to issues like discards and quotas and of course the fact that our own Government seems reluctant to put them under the same scrutiny that they do our own fleet.
“These monstrous vessels don’t even process the fish they catch in our waters here meaning that the Irish economy benefits in no way, shape or form from their presence.
“Then of course there is that added indignity of our own boats having to purchase smaller catch off them to use as bait as they are not allowed to fish for juvenile catch themselves.
“It is simply astonishing that these huge vessels come into Irish waters, wreak havoc and then our own indigenous fleet has to buy back Irish fish from them.
“The information and contributions at today’s hearing could not have been clearer. These boats are hugely destructive, run by a small, powerful cartel and do not benefit Ireland in any way.
“The damage they cause is only going to be multiplied post-Brexit when they are push out of British waters.
“It’s time for the Irish Government to act. They must immediately begin the process of outlawing these vessels from Irish waters.”