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Art Kavanagh
Marine Finance Consultant

"Quare Times Lads"

Reality comes home with a bang when markets close and we are advised to put the Keys in the Drawer and stop fishing. The stark reality of the current situation was best described by John Nolan of the Castletownbere Fishermens’ Co Op when comparing the previous price of White Pollack at €3.50 per KG with the £0.40 paid at Newlyn Market.

Because of lack of market prices have dropped so there will be opportunities to buy Fish which would previously have been too expensive for most peoples’ tastes.

I think the BIM and Board Bia should be mounting a vigorous campaign promoting Irish Fish up to the point of getting slots on the more popular TV talk shows to promote and explain to people how to prepare some of the more obscure and maybe expensive fish and show how good they taste.

If BIM and Board Bia don’t do something Lads - can I suggest that the Fishermen themselves through their Co Ops mount a campaign.

There won’t be opportunity for all of the Fleet

Far from it but at least some boats might be able to work and get sale for their Fish and Shellfish though local merchants and shops. I know that some of you are doing this and applaud you for it.

Not only are you protecting your own business but you are giving your local fish shop owner a chance and also providing the best of Seafood for the public. Minister Creed has had contact with some of the Producers’ Organisations and Processors and is away to discuss the situation to establish how best to help????

Pretend they are Farmers Minister!!!!!

Supports are available through the Social Welfare System which I believe will apply to Fishermen and Owners so suggest that you follow them up immediately Lads. They are there to help.

Everyone is promising to help while those successful in the recent elections are trying to have their voices heard and stay relevant in the face of what is a very decent performance by the outgoing Cabinet.

I wonder how some of the newly elected Parliamentarians might be getting on if they were actually holding the reins.

It appears that no matter what our Government can do the call for self isolation which is recognised worldwide as proper strategy is not being properly heard. We hear stories every day of pubs using their “Back Doors” and other gatherings which are flying in the face of the best advice.

We surely won’t need to have the Gardai policing the Self Isolation Lads!!!!

In common with our finest traditions here are we shooting ourselves in the foot??

It is so sad to see the Country in quasi Shut Down and likely to joining other countries in total Shut Down which is what we will certainly happen if we don’t get this Virus under control.

One of the big concerns for Fishermen and their ancillary Industries as it will be for all of those with Loans whether they be home Loans or Business Loans is the issue of inability to make repayments in the current situation where the money simply isn’t there.

We are being assured that the Home Mortgages will be able to get Payment Holidays and we are getting similar messages on Business Loans if not quite as definite. We all remember the old story about the Bank who issued everyone with Umbrellas but asked for them back when it started to rain.

I don’t believe we are at that stage but I appeal to the Bankers not to make the process of getting Payment Holidays too complicated.

Put yourselves in the position where for some reason your Income from the Bank was suspended for 3 months or more. No Income Lads – Nada !!!

You will not always be remembered for the Loans you approved Gentlemen but how you reacted when people were in trouble.

You may also need some scheme for our Fisheries Officers who are bound to be on short time if there are no Fish being Landed???

What will they be doing???

There will be fears that some Business may never recover from the current situation and that advancing further funds will only make a bad situation worse.

That may very well be but we are in the middle of a Tsunami here now and really in no position to be discussing the colour of the Lifebelt.

I say to the Bankers - “Get on with it Lads”

I believe that the Banks will see us through this difficulty in the knowledge that the Fishing Sector over my 40 years experience has displayed a unique ability to recover from adversity.

You are a special bunch and I believe that together we will come through this by working together.

That’s WORKING TOGETHER LADS!!!!!

Stay safe everyone.