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Segmentation of Fleet Capacity

Art Kavanagh: I remember some years back being at a presentation from a County Manager – as they were called at the time which he entitled “Running the County as a Business”. Since then the title of County Manager has been replaced with the title of “Chief Executive” which is probably more appropriate given the size of the Business actually being managed with Huge Budgets, large Numbers of Employees and responsibilities for many aspects of life within the County.

I believe that the Government as the elected representatives of the Population are effectively the “Directors” of Ireland Inc and that in order to properly monitor and administer the Business of the Country they rely on the Civil Service who would be the Managers

This formula applies in almost all Democracies worldwide with mixed results.

Our various Departments are the custodians and the Managers of our various National and Natural Resources which they try to manage within the legal frameworks dictated by EU Law or maybe our “A La Cart” view of EU Law!!!

The question of Fishing Capacity has been bothering me for a while as I watch Owners trying to improve their Vessels but who are struggling to secure the additional Capacity- which more than often is quite little – to enable them to modify their existing vessel or buy slightly larger vessels.

There are some who are critical of those who are fortunate enough to have spare capacity but who are not offering it for sale. That is not really fair. No matter what changes have occurred in our Laws we continue to enjoy the privileges of Private Ownership and the right to retain ownership of property even if someone else wants it. I absolutely respect that, but I do question however the limits imposed by the way in which our Fishing Capacity is segmented which is preventing those who do want to sell from selling.

Segmentation served a purpose at the time, but I suggest that at the moment is represents an inefficient approach to what is essentially a National Resource. In running the Country as a Business, I suggest that no resource should be left unused to maximum potential and under no circumstances should a National Resource be basically flushed down the pan because it has not been used as happens under the “Use it or Lose it” rule.

It is WASTE lads - it may be legal, but it is still WASTE. But I suppose to a culture which can shrug its shoulders at the Electronic Voting Machine Scandal and the vast amounts of unused Property leased for use in the De Centralisation programme of not too many years ago it may be acceptable.......

If we were talking about Land which was not being used to full capacity would we not be looking at the payment of a Payment to keep it out of use. Do they call it REPS?? If the same happens with Fishing Capacity we flush it down the Pan. Lunacy !!!!

We hear all the time about the cost of Bailing out Banks – which is being and will be fully repaid in time- but little about other forms of unrewarded expense incurred on our behalf by various Governments.

The Coastal TDs need to have a meeting to form a united front for their Fishing Communities. There is good work to be done there at absolutely no cost to the National Exchequer if there is a willingness to embrace some change.

I really believe that the whole segmentation of the fleet Capacity needs to be looked at to allow improvements to be made in the Fleet and to rectify possible errors in Capacity assessments.

There is Capacity in some Segments which could possibly be used in other Segments targeting similar species- eg Beamer to Polyvalent both of which are essentially targeting similar catches.

We had the concession for use of Polyvalent General Capacity in the enhancement of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 vessels which will prove valuable and productive use of the Resource without increasing the actual Catching Capacity.

I don’t know if the Segmentation issue can be addressed but it is not efficient and in any regular Business would not be tolerated. The compromise on the Tier 1 Capacity suggests that at least some change is possible.

We could not have a machine or department of any Business not earning its keep and unused Capacity is doing that.

We need to Box Clever here lads and I not sure we are doing that

We are doing too much circling and stalking in case anyone else gains an advantage

I have been preaching for years that lack of unity in our Industry is as much of a threat as anything Brussels or Brexit can throw at us

There is always strength in Numbers and at the moment we don’t have a strong enough single voice with the result that we are losing the PR battle hands down. And then we see the Unity within the Industry which manifested itself in the sorrow of the Family in Dunmore East recently at the loss all too early of their fine son.

Stay safe everyone.

(This article first appeared in our September 2018 issue of the Marine Times Newspaper)