‘Utter injustice’ of EU quotas must be addressed says Mac Lochlainn as Donegal trawlers set to join protest flotilla in Dublin

Donegal T.D. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn says the government needs to address the issue of the Irish fishing fleet receiving just four per cent of the European quota.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:49 pm

Tomorrow fishermen from Donegal will sail up the Liffey to protest what they regard as unfair EU allocations.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn described the allocation of quota to the Irish fishing fleet as an ‘utter injustice’.

“The current percentage of Irish waters that are within the overall jurisdiction of the Common Fisheries Policy is 12 per cent. We have 12 per cent of the waters but we were allocated four per cent of the overall quota. What we are actually receiving is one third of what we should get on the basis of our proportion of the seas.

Greencastle Harbour. (1907PG10)
Greencastle Harbour. (1907PG10)

“What does that mean in real terms? It means hundreds of millions of euro lost every year. It means thousands of jobs in jeopardy.

“As the Minister is aware, the industry currently supports approximately 16,000 jobs overall. If we are getting one third of what we ought to be getting, one could argue that tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of euro will be lost because of the Government’s repeated failure at least to try to renegotiate the CFP and stand up with regard to what has happened here,” said the Buncrana T.D. during a Dáil discussion in advance of the fishermen’s protest.

Anger over the CFP was exacerbated by the further loss of fish quota inflicted on Irish fishers under the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

Under the terms of that deal the EU agreed to relinquish 25 per cent of the €650 million in fish caught by European boats in ‘British’ waters.

The British share of Western Mackerel, agreed under the TCA, is much higher than the EU’s while the European share of North Sea mackerel is much higher than Britain’s.

This has clear implications for Donegal’s mackerel fishery and has prompted Donegal fishermen to call for other EU coastal states to transfer mackerel quota to Ireland.

Fisheries minister Charlie McConalogue agreed that Irish fishermen have been disproportionately affected.

“Overall, we will see a 15 per cent impact on our national fishing quotas, between now and 2026. That is causing significant distress to our sector and all the fishers who are impacted by that loss. I will continue to explore all opportunities to address this burden that has been placed on us and which exceeds the burden many other member states are carrying,” he declared.