New fishery to open up for Inishowen fishermen

Joe McHugh TD last night confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that a substantial breakthrough has been made yesterday in negotiations for a new gillnet sand dog fishery for inshore fishermen in Area VIa and that, subject to final approval from the European Council of Ministers and from the European Parliament in the coming weeks, a new lesser spotted dog fishery will open up shortly for Inishowen fishermen.

Deputy McHugh said: “Minister for Agriculture & Marine Simon Coveney TD has given me confirmation that a substantial breakthrough has been made today in negotiations for a new gillnet sand dog fishery for inshore fishermen in Area VIa,

“He has also confirmed that, subject to final approval from the European Council of Ministers and from the European Parliament in the coming weeks, a new fishery will open up shortly.

“This breakthrough in negotiations between European governments mean that, subject to the expected approval of the European Council of Ministers and from the European Parliament, fishermen in Area VIa will be able to catch lesser spotted dogfish using gillnets of mesh size greater than 90mm (3.5 inches), provided that the gillnets are only deployed within 3 nautical miles of the coastline and for a maximum of 10 days per calendar month.

Other conditions will include maximum gillnet length of gillnet of 1,000m; maximum soak time of 24 hours; and that at least 70% of the catch be made up of lesser spotted dogfish.

“This new fishery will be exclusive to Area VIa.

“I have been campaigning for the opening of this fishery for fishermen in Area VIa since 2009, when I first proposed the creation of a lesser spotted dogfish fishery for Area VIa.

“I commend Minister Coveney and his team for his work to-date on securing this fishery, and for the great progress that has been made.

“Lesser spotted dogfish is not edible for humans, but is usable as bait for crab fishing and lobster fishing.

“Some fishermen are importing lesser spotted dogfish at for bait at a cost of upwards on €200 a day, which is an enormous expense.

“Subject to the approval of the EU Council of Ministers and of the European Parliament, this new fishery will potentially create a new mini bait industry for hard-pressed inshore fishermen, enabling Irish crab and lobster fishermen to source bait locally.”