Fine Gael Donegal TD, Joe McHugh, has today (Thursday) welcomed the news that Ireland is to receive €148 million from the EU under the Common Fisheries Policy over the next six years. This represents a significant increase in the amount of EU funding available to assist Ireland’s seafood industry in implementing the new reformed Common Fisheries Policy.
“Today’s news that Ireland is to receive €148 million in EU funds over the next six years under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is extremely positive for our fisheries sector. The news is a great boost for Donegal and the many fishing towns and villages right around the country’s coastline.
“Last year, during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU, Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Simon Coveney, worked hard on agreeing a CFP that will be hugely beneficial to Ireland. The figure we will receive from the EU has more than doubled. Under the last Common Fisheries Policy we received €70 million whereas this time it will be almost €148 million.
“The Government is investing in rural development and natural industries are a hugely important part of this. The fisheries and seafood sector is integral to employment in Ireland with 11,000 people employed in the industry around the country. The recent FLAG announcement which aims to empower fishermen in the inshore sector and give a voice to the Island and Coastal community includes a funding programme worth up to €1m.
“In towns like Killybegs 80-90% of income is directly related to fisheries. The recent announcement of a €35 million Boarfish processing plant for Killybegs in a joint initiative between Killlybegs Fisherman’s Organisation and Norwegian company Biomarine Science Technology, is another real boost for the area. Supporting the Killybegs fisheries industry in this way also has a positive impact on the wider community stretching far beyond Killybegs itself.
“I also welcome the recent progress in licensing for the aquaculture sector. However, there are current challenges in the farm salmon sector. We are producing 12,000 tonnes of farmed salmon per year compared with 150,000 tonnes in Scotland and 1 million in Norway. We do need to add value to the processing sector and create opportunities for further jobs in the shellfish, sea weed processing and salmon farming sectors. As part of this there is a need to address challenges presented by bureaucracy in the sector.
“The new CPF is also positive in terms of changing the nature of fishing in this country, to make the sector more sustainable. We will see an end to the practice of discarding, we will set quotas based on maximum sustainable yield and the Minister has confirmed that we are going to make decisions on a regional basis, which means Irish fishermen will be more involved in decisions around their own future. The plan to set aside biological sensitive areas to all for spawning and breeding of fish is also crucial in terms of protecting the long term future of the industry and to safeguard jobs.”