2 February 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the government must act on super trawlers.
The Ireland South MEP called for the Navy and the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) to “aggressively monitor” the ships as yet another of the colossal vessels made its way into Irish waters this week.
“Yesterday yet another super trawler was discovered in Irish waters. The Dirk Dirk is now fishing off the coast of Donegal, which was ravaged by the Margiris, the second largest trawler in the world, as recently as December.
“Right now, according to vessel watching groups, there are at least three of these super trawlers in Irish waters.
“The dangers they pose and the damage they do cannot be overstated.
“Every year the foreign super trawler fleets moves to the coasts of Ireland when our own fleet is docked and fish well into the summer. They put fishermen´s gear at risk by towing and destroying them, an act which has a particularly damaging effect on crab and lobster pots. They are devastating the Irish fishing industry through their disregard for quotas and the huge number of dead fish they illegally dump back into our waters.
“The environmental damage they wreak is immense. They are capable of processing as much as 250 tonnes of fish per day, killing countless dolphins, whales, sharks and other marine life that get caught in their massive nets.
“They are of no benefit whatsoever to the our coastal areas as none of the fish are landed here. The fish are caught, processed and remain on-board before being landed back on the continent.
“This is becoming an annual occurrence. The SFPA and government say they cannot do anything but it’s a question of political will.
“I am once again calling for continuous and rigorous inspections of these ships while they are here to ensure they are complying with the very letter of the law. The SFPA has no problem aggressively monitoring Irish vessels and I would like to see them direct that diligence at these industry destroying behemoths.
“There should also be a redress scheme for Irish fishermen whose gear and equipment has been destroyed or damaged. If the Irish Government is not willing to face these trawlers down the least they can do is support the coastal communities they are damaging.”