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Fishing Voice Is Needed

The Minister for the Marine held a “detailed and informative meeting with fishing industry representatives” this week. “I set out the huge ambition in the Programme for Government for building a sustainable fishing sector. The continued ambition for the development of a sustainable fisheries sector is a significant feature of the new Programme for Government. I look forward to working with the sector to delivering on that objective.”

That was what Minister Dara Calleary said after the meeting with the country’s four fishermen’s producer organisations, the National Inshore Fishermen’s Forum and the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association.

So far, the only public indication about what the industry said at the meeting comes from information released by the Department of the Marine to the media.

It is good that there was a meeting between the industry and the Minister at an early stage after his appointment and the political controversy which followed the dismissal of the original appointee. Minister Calleary also held discussions with EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius about Ireland’s fisheries priorities. The Minister, his Department said, had focused in that meeting on “the issues for fisheries in the ongoing EU negotiations with the UK on a possible future fisheries agreement.”

The voice of fishing needs to be heard, publicly and politically. If this week’s meetings are followed through, perhaps it could be heard – and hopefully listened to – more widely.