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EDITORIAL:
Will the EU Control the French – You Want To Bet?

Today the MARINE TIMES reveals how sectors of the French fishing industry are intimidating French wholesalers and retailers who import and sell Irish fish, in an attempt to prevent them doing so. This is typical of the actions of sectors of the French industry and is highlighted in our Podcast this week where the Managing Director of the Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-operative, John Nolan, says: “They like to declare European waters when they have 50 per cent of the monkfish quota which they fish in Irish waters, while Ireland has just 5 per cent of the quota in these, its own waters, but they don’t like it when there is a European market which should have equal access.”

This is a statement which pinpoints precisely the attitude of the French which they repeatedly get away with it because of the failures of the EU. The EU can, as in the past week, complain about Irish enforcement of EU regulations, but they rarely show that they have the capacity or ability to take on the French who seem able to ignore EU regulations and do as they wish.

The MARINE TIMES is the voice of the fishing industry and is not afraid to challenge the French who, on the one hand, use EU allocations to favour themselves, but ignore them when it suits them.

The Scottish fishing industry has also complained about what it describes as “may be a small-scale boycott of imported fish, including from Scotland, among some large French retailers at the behest of a small section of the country’s fleet.” Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “This is deeply regrettable at a time when markets have been devastated due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we need to be encouraging rather than restricting their operation. We are pressing the case with the UK and Scottish governments and have been in touch with the French embassy. Hopefully common sense will prevail and this discriminatory practice can be brought to an end swiftly.”

John Nolan in Castletownbere, to his credit, is blunt in his condemnation of the French actions.

Commonsense and French fishing interests do not, by previous experience, exist in a parallel universe!

It is time also for the Irish Government, its Marine Minister and Department, to stand full square behind the Irish industry and show it is not afraid to criticise the French.