Dáil told 950 tonnes of fish landed at Derry and taken to Killybegs in 40 lorries

A Donegal T.D. has criticised the government after '950 tonnes of blue whiting' were landed at Derry rather than Killybegs yesterday.
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Pearse Doherty told the Dáil the fish were due to be transported in 40 lorry loads from Derry to the south Donegal port for processing.

He said the fish could not be landed at Killybegs over a dispute about how they were to be weighed.

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Processors have complained that the fish needed to be weighed with chilled water in order to prevent them being spoiled and rendered unfit for human consumption.

The Ingrid Majalla was diverted to DerryThe Ingrid Majalla was diverted to Derry
The Ingrid Majalla was diverted to Derry

But the State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has said that this would be against EU regulations.

Deputy Doherty raised the diversion of the ship to Derry with the Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

"Yesterday, a Norwegian fishing vessel was prevented from landing at Killybegs. Some 54 workers were told that there was no work for them in the processing factory and were sent home.

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"Today, as we speak, the same Norwegian vessel, the Ingrid Majalla, is pulling into the port of Derry, which operates under the same EU rules as Killybegs. Some 950 tonnes of fish will be offloaded from that vessel.

"Later today, 40 lorry loads of fish will be transported from Derry to Killybegs for processing."

The Taoiseach replied: "The Minister [for Agriculture, Food and the Marine] Deputy McConalogue [Charlie] has been very active in engaging with the fishing industry in respect of all these issues and in ensuring a pathway to a more structured relationship with the European Commission into the future than we have had in the past, which has caused many of these difficulties. The Minister is very aware of these issues and is engaging with all concerned to bring about a resolution in respect of them."

But Deputy Doherty said: "What is the Government going to do about it? These are jobs. The Taoiseach is talking about climate change. There are 40 lorries driving from Derry to Killybegs. It makes no sense."

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The SFPA has pointed out that 'the default provision of EU legislation is that all wild-caught fishery products have to be weighed immediately at transport by operators. There is potential for a derogation to allow weighing to take place after transport but that requires EU commission approval of a ‘Control Plan’ to manage compliance risks arising from that practice'.