County coun­cil backs fish bill

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Sean O’Rior­dan

Cork County Coun­cil is back­ing a bill which recog­nises the ben­e­fits of sup­port­ing is­land com­mu­ni­ties and tack­ling de­pop­u­la­tion through fish­ing.

It is now at com­mit­tee stage in the Dáil.

Cllr Paul Hayes said the aim of the Sinn Fein bill was to stem the de­cline in is­land pop­u­la­tions where fish­ing had been a pil­lar of the econ­omy.

There is a pro­vi­sion in the Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy for a ring-fenced, non-trans­fer­able, quota for is­lands.

“With the sup­port of the county coun­cil, I am seek­ing to pro­mote small-scale fish­ing in boats less than 12 me­tres, es­pe­cially off the West Cork coast,” Cllr Hayes said.

If the bill is en­acted, it will al­low a fish­ing quota to be al­lo­cated and her­itage li­cences for is­land fish­er­men to fa­cil­i­tate the con­tin­u­ance of tra­di­tional fish­ing prac­tices.

“It pro­vides for the is­su­ing of li­cences to is­land fish­ers, de­fined as peo­ple who are ha­bit­u­ally res­i­dent on an off­shore is­land and en­gaged in small-scale coastal fish­ing to earn a liveli­hood,” Cllr Hayes told col­leagues.

It re­lates to ves­sels less than 12m in length and not us­ing towed fish­ing gear.

The li­cences would be non­trans­ferrable and would on be in force when the holder of the li­cence is on board the ves­sel.

“This bill has the po­ten­tial to stem the de­cline of our is­land com­mu­ni­ties, by evok­ing a pro­vi­sion in the Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy, which would al­low a fish­ing quota and her­itage li­cence to be granted to is­land fish­er­men, which would help to make their busi­ness vi­able and sus­tain­able, and thereby help sus­tain our is­land com­mu­ni­ties,” said Cllr Hayes.

Cllr Joe Car­roll said it was a wor­thy move. “Peo­ple on the is­lands need ev­ery help they can get,” he said.

Coun­cil­lors are writ­ing to the De­part­ment of Fish­eries to un­der­line their sup­port for the bill.

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