Rural Independent Group Demand Financial Support Package for Inshore Fishermen
The government can no longer stand idle when a variety of factors is driving the inshore fleet into a catastrophic financial gorge.
The Rural Independent TDs are set to bring forward a motion to the Dail this Wednesday (25th January), demanding that the government sanction a €12 million direct state financial package to mitigate the socio-economic pressures on the sector and support the vitality of coastal communities.
Rural Independent TD for Cork South-West, Deputy Michael Collins, says:“The Irish inshore fleet, accounting for 91 percent of Ireland’s fishing fleet, is being hit extremely hard by the loss of fish quota, the unfair competition from larger foreign commercial vessels, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the war in Ukraine and record operational costs for the entire sector.”
“The sector is also experiencing a collapse in the processed shrimp and velvet crab market, yet, the government looks the other way and offers no support, despite EU funds available for allocation.”
“Our motion aims to force the government to finally act, by allocating at least €12 million in funds to the inshore shrimp and velvet crab fishermen from the available €285.4 million European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF).”
“It is intolerable that funds allocated by the EU Commission have not been apportioned to our inshore fleet, while other EU governments withdraw from these funds, in the form of fuel subsidies to their respective inshore fleets.”
Rural Independent TD for Kerry, Deputy Danny Healy-Rae said: “It is completely unacceptable for the Minister for Marine and the government to ignore the genuine astronomical pressures on these fishermen. In fact, the lack of any financial support for this unique sector is cruel, particularly as up to 3,000 jobs are now in jeopardy in rural coastal communities.”
“Our motion also instructs the government to urgently grant the inshore fishery fleet a greater quota allocation with diversification to other species,”
“The government’s sickeningly insufficient support of our small-scale and inshore fishermen is inexcusable. Instead of assisting our inshore fleet, the government seems solely focused on making quota cuts and placing new detrimental regulatory burdens on these small-scale fishermen.” Rural Independent TD for Kerry, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae adds:
“The cost of fuel is hitting the sector hard, demonstrated by a recent BIM report, highlighting that fuel costs have skyrocketed by 114 percent for fishermen over the past year. This cost alone now represents 28 percent of the average fleet’s operating costs.”
“Our motion aims to address this crisis by forcing governmental action, to allot available funds to all impacted inshore boats through the BIM grant porthole system. Doing this would enable an almost instant allocation system to be established providing short-term immediate relief.”
“We are demanding swift government financial support for inshore fishermen. After all, many of these operate using punts of only 16 to 18 feet long, to provide a livelihood for their families during rough weather in tough and dangerous conditions. The government can no longer neglect this small-scale fleet.”