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Foreign Landings Nearly Three Times That Of Irish Boats

It was revealed this week that Non/Irish fishing vessels landed 22,900 tonnes of fish at Castletownbere last year, for a total value of €95 million. Irish vessels landed 11,700 tonnes for a total value of €35m. Those figures, issued by the State fisheries agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, show how the Irish fishing industry suffers from the EU Common Fisheries Policy which heavily limits the Irish fleet.

The value share of the catch for non/Irish vessels was 73 per cent and they also had a 66 per cent share of the tonnage landed at Castletownbere which grew to €130m., placing it ahead of Killybegs at €122m. Foreign boat landings increased in the West Cork port by 48 per cent and €36 million in value compared to 2018. The growth in value was because more higher-value species were landed. Again, foreign vessels did better in this regard with an increase of 33 per cent, compared to just 8 per cent for Irish vessels.

These are figures which one could expect to be reported in the Irish national media, but they were not. Instead sections of the national media chose to highlight another attack on the Irish industry by the London-based New Economics Foundation. Modern journalism leaves a lot to be desired, particularly the parroting of statements from organisations in PR-releases which are printed extensively without apparent questioning. Statistics, as used by NEF, can be slanted in many ways.

Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation Chief Executive Sean O’Donoghue rightly questioned the methodology used and said that, on an initial examination, the report did not appear to make a valid case for its conclusions.

He is correct. The basis of the figures and the conclusions drawn about the Irish industry, while ignoring the impact of EU restrictions, are questionable, The NEF says that it promotes "social, economic and environmental justice". The Irish national media didn’t reports its background - founded in 1986 by then leaders of ‘The Other Economic Summit’. That was a ‘counter-summit’ to the annual G7 summits and was dominated by groups of greens and community/economic activists.

The more relevant values of Irish fishing economic potential and as a food supply source were highlighted by Patrick Murphy, CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ in his interview on our associated radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, where he outlined what it is like to be fishing on the deck of a trawler and called again for BIM to develop a Irish domestic marketing campaign.