----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----

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January 2018 Issue - Vol 30 No.08

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Marine Times Newspaper
Editor: Mark Mc Carthy
Deputy Editor: Tom MacSweeney

Features Editor / Advertising: Anne Murray

The Marine Times Newspaper is published by Marine Media Ltd.
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Art Kavanagh
Marine Finance Consultant

“Lads – you wouldn’t see it in a Play!!!”

Times passes quickly they say when you are enjoying yourself. I often wonder about the enjoyment bit. Stress can make time fly also I think.

Dec 2017 Issue Vol 30 No. 07

We have certainly had our share of stress in recent months with the alleged over catching issue on the Porcupine Bank and the proposed reintroduction of the Penalty Points system for inflicting punishment without hearing or trial.

I have often used the simile of “Spain under Franco” to describe things but maybe some of that may be starting to ring true now.

I challenged a good friend in the Department on the Penalty Points issue and was told that it is an EU regulation to which I replied “So are Water Charges My Boy- So are water charges”

Our “A la Carte” approach to EU regulation has always annoyed me. We always seem to get more “Cold Vegetables” than other Countries in matters of regulation.

To be honest I was not in favour of the POs taking a legal approach on the Porcupine Prawns but having watched the beginning of that process I believe they are correct and the Argument will further prove that in some cases the Law is indeed “An Ass”.

There are fishermen in France and Spain at the moment losing sleep laughing as they plough up and down through the Porcupine to capture Markets which we have built over the past years.
To quote John B Keane “Lads – you wouldn’t see it in a Play!!!”

I hope that the POs in working together on this issue can recognise the benefits of co operating in a common cause. Stick with it Lads and do I hear on the Jungle Drums that there might be some relief if a minor gesture can be done on the Mackerel Quota?

That that would be real co operation!!!!!

I was explaining to a friend recently some of the Developments which have taken place in the Industry since I became involved in 1987. We had 2 Grant schemes for the Building of New Vessels which was great. We have also seen many non Grant Assisted Buildings and Improvements in the Fleet. We have had ongoing Grant Programmes to help with Safety and Conservation and Fish Handling. We have had 2 De-Commissioning Schemes which were not quite as effective as might have been hoped. We had the establishment of the Seafood Research Centre in Clonakilty.

The Quality of the Fleet and the Improvements in the Processing and Handling Facilities has been terrific. The Markets for Seafood out of Ireland have grown out of recognition.

Against that we Closed down our Coastal Salmon Fishery which sustained many Families around the Coast. We Closed our Dog Fish fishery. We for a time Closed all Gill Netting activity in the North West which together with the Salmon and Dog Fish closures was almost catastrophic. Happily the Gill Netting in Area 6a has reopened. We had a successful Drift Net Fishery for Tuna which also went West although that was not a local initiative. We introduced a system whereby the Licensing and Regulatory elements of our Industry are Independent of the Minister ???

We have seen recruitment in the Regulatory Division which would be the envy of the Health Service.
Despite having been thrown out by the High Court the Penalty Points are being reintroduced.
We passed a Law which made even a fairly mundane transgression of Fishing Regulation a Criminal Offence- although I suppose had the Law been passed in it’s original Green paper Format we might have had a situation where the Navy was authorised to “Shoot at or in to a Vessel” failing to stop when ordered.

That was removed before the Law was passed but what bothered me at the time (and still does) was that some member of our Civil Service though that was justified.

Is that what you think of Fishermen Lads ???? Shoot them !!!!

However having said that our Fleet continues to develop and our Markets appear to be strong and should be the envy of many other industries

We are approaching the Annual Carnival which is the Meeting to finalise the Quotas for 2018- and I understand from those who regularly attend in Brussels that our Senior Negotiators represent us well and fight the good fight.

Long may that continue because these are the People we will need as we head towards the Brexit Negotiations. Rather than sniping at them as these negotiations approach please offer them support and suggestions which are workable.

Those of you who have been associated with me for the past years and for whom I am fortunate to work know how much uncertainty and lack of knowledge in those who should know their stuff bothers me.

As new people are appointed into the Departments and indeed into the Credit Departments of Banks can we have them trained in the basics.

At least once a month I have to explain what “Tonnage” is !!!

This month I have had difficulty in the final registration of a fishing Vessel at Registry “B”- using exactly the same Documentation as I used the previous week in Registry “A” What made this all the more annoying was that both Registrations were for the same clients who I suspect are wondering if I know what I’m doing.

I am not being patronising here but suggest that the Licensing System could be used as a template in many areas. The Offer is issued with a List of Conditions which when “ticked off” allow the Licence process to proceed and where you get the impression that the officials in charge actually WANT it to proceed.

2018 is going to be Tricky lads but we will do whatever we need to do to keep everyone Calm
You are a special Industry which maybe in the coming year might get more recognition for the good it does and the financial benefits it brings to the country.

Stay safe everyone.