Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has launched a scathing attack on the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition over their repeated failure to even ask for a Bluefin Tuna quota for Irish fishermen.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking following the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna conference in Croatia, where the Irish Government again refused to even attempt to negotiate for a commercial Bluefin Tuna quota.
“Following the international conference, countries like Norway and Spain got an increased quota for Bluefin Tuna, yet our own Government couldn’t even pluck up the courage to ask for any quota for our own fishermen,” she said.
“It’s outrageous that Ireland is not allowed to fish for this species in its own waters. The failure by the Irish Government to refuse to negotiate for a commercial Bluefin Tuna quota means that coastal communities in Munster will be particularly affected, especially when it comes to the knock-on effect this will have on the angling tourism sector and employment.
“They haven’t even requested a quota despite the number of Bluefin in Irish waters increasing year on year. Furthermore, their bosses in Brussels have refused to answer written and oral requests I have made to see if the Irish Government has ever tried to negotiate for this, particularly in recent December Council meetings on fish quotas.
“There are Bluefin Tuna quotas for French, Spanish, and Portuguese boats, who are fishing for it just a few miles off the Munster coast, yet Irish fishermen can only watch them land fish, which are worth thousands of euro each.
“How galling is this for struggling Irish fishermen and how much hope can they possibly have for the future, when their own Government won’t even raise the question on their behalf?
“In fact, they refused to even consider asking for a temporary quota to act as a test.
“Norway has announced its Bluefin Tuna quota will triple by 2020 but Ireland won’t even ask for one?
“It’s an absolute disgrace and further proof, as if it were needed, that the political establishment and the Department are not only indifferent to the plight of our coastal and fishing communities, they have nothing but contempt for them.”
Liadh Ní Riada MEP
6 Patrick’s Quay, Cork
021 451 8986