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Draconian EU regulations will wipe out Kilmore Quay – Codd

A Wexford County Councillor is saying that the fishing community in Kilmore Quay is on the brink of utter destruction due to unmanageable new EU regulations. These new measures which will require fishermen to unpack and weigh their catch on the Quay before repacking and re-icing the load and transporting it two hundred yards up the road to the factory are just the latest attempts to erode away our fishing communities according to Cllr Jim Codd.

“The Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Green Party government are completely out of touch with the reality of working life for fishermen in places like Kilmore Quay,” Aontu Cllr Codd said. “I have spent the last few days speaking to trawler skippers and crews who haven’t heard from any representative of the government despite making their distress public. They have been abandoned.”

“These crews working in the most dangerous of jobs now see a box of Whelks, which was fetching €100, now only getting €55-€60 while Lobster pots have risen from €50 to €80. Diesel has gone from 30 cent to 54 cent per litre in the course of the last year. A box of haddock is getting £100 in Peterhead across the water. Fishermen here are lucky to get €20 a box with prices falling to €12 a box last week. Things have gone so bad that they are using the haddock in the Lobster pots now. Prices go up while wages drop creating an unsustainable situation.”

“These new EU regulations have nothing to do with conservation. The Common Fisheries Regime has always lacked common sense. In 2008, a Kilmore Quay fishing vessel reported a thirty-mile drift of dead cod which had been dumped by other ships under coercion from the SFPA out around the Smalls, sixty miles off the coast of Kilmore Quay. In 2010, a Belgian boat dumped two tonnes of dead fish back into the water off our coast and a single day because of these same regulations which care more for control than conservation.”

“I have been told that one boat in Castletownbere dropped its tricolour and re-registered as a Spanish vessel in order to simply survive. Other skippers have told me they firmly believe that the Automatic Positioning System is purposely flawed and shows far less boats out fishing off our coast than the reality of the situation.”

“Fishing is no longer seen as a sustainable profession here. I have taught many of these fishermen and call them friends. They are brave and hardworking individuals and now they can’t see a future. A fourth-generation fishermen called Jack Devereux, whose Grandfather was coxswain of the Kilmore lifeboat, tells me that he can see the whole Kilmore fleet disappear in the coming years unless action is taken. Iceland’s total catch in 2020 was 1.26 million tonnes. Ireland’s was 230,000 tonnes. Something is clearly wrong.”

“We have seen the knock-on effects of these draconian regulations with the announcement of the closure of the Kilmore Seafood Ltd fish factory in Kilmore Quay and the loss of thirty-three jobs this week. This is nothing short of a disaster. Gentrification of our fishing villages at the expense of our fleets and a traditional way of life is unacceptable. Kilmore Quay cannot not become just another place for yachts and yuppies.”

“This is one of the most dangerous ways a man can make a living and now the government tells the fishermen, after they’ve battled all of these issues, that they have to box and ice their catch twice, before bringing the fish two hundred yards further up the road to the factory to be weighed again. I have to ask the minister and our TDs, do these men not deserve better? Rural Ireland must support these fishermen.”

By Aontú Press | 24 May, 2021

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