Fishing crews organize port event to highlight issues facing industry
A flotilla of vessels arrived at the port of Cork yesterday as fishing crews protested over the main challenges facing their sector, including Brexit and the reduction in quotas.
Dinah Busher of Co Wexford, whose trawler sank two months ago in Castletownbere, Co Cork, was on the verge of tears as she considered not only her personal situation, but the hardships the industry faced.
“The trawler is a huge loss for our family,” she said.
“We had it for 17 years. I don’t know if we will be able to reinvest in the industry as it is now.
“The way things are in the industry, I can’t see us being able to buy or build a boat again.
“Fishing is one of my great passions and I wish I could come back to it. But that’s almost impossible at the moment. We need more quotas. We are constantly targeted by the authorities. It has to stop.
“We want the Taoiseach to revisit the common fisheries policy and renegotiate our quotas.
“The trawlers are struggling to hold the crew at the moment. We hope they (the government) can help. We have to rethink the entire industry. “
Ms. Busher holds a Masters in Translation and has worked in Brussels. However, she says her heart is peachy, even though she knows that the future of the industry may be threatened.
Scott Farrell, from Dingle in Co Kerry, fishes in Ballycotton in East Cork. He has been fishing for 17 years and entered the industry at the age of 16.
While working on a fishing crew has always been challenging, he said it has now become a bureaucratic nightmare.
“It’s no longer about going out and catching fish. It’s as much paperwork as anything. To do the job, you have to worship it. Some of the paperwork is inconvenient.
“What the fishermen want are politicians who will go to Europe and advocate for us instead of just passing the laws that Europe has made.
He said the government is fighting for other industries while fishermen are neglected and ignored.
“New [process of] weighing the fish on the dock now bothers everyone.
“It affects the quality that we sell, it takes more hours to work when we get off, it affects the truck drivers who are waiting for us to weigh everything.
“There is the cost of more ice to re-ice it and then the fish buyers have to sell fish that has been on a wharf for four or five hours while we weigh it.