Fishing industry protest in Cork Harbor, the first in a campaign to highlight the crisis
A flotilla of 73 Irish fishing vessels took part in a mass protest yesterday which could be the first in a series of protests, according to industry leaders.
The Show and Tell event organized by the Irish Southern and Western Fish Producers Organization (IS and WFPO) delivered a letter to Taoiseach Micheal Martin constituency office in Cork, requesting direct discussions with him.
Ships from Clogherhead, Co Louth on the right to Rossaveal, Co Galway, and including all southern ports, participated – leaving berths up to 24 hours in advance in some cases to get to Cork Port.
“This is the first step in a campaign, where we want to show the Irish people what is really going on in our industry,” said Patrick Murphy, Managing Director of IS & WFPO.
80 percent of the searchlight fleet from Irish ports on the south coast also participated, Murphy noted.
The overall loss of 15% of the Irish fishing quota in the Brexit deal and the reintroduction of an administrative penalty point system were key issues the event aimed to highlight.
The event also aimed to highlight the impact of the recent withdrawal of the EU control plan – meaning that all fish catches must be weighed at docks.
The Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association has called on Irish Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue to demand evidence from the EU for what it has described as a “brutal and crude” decision by the European Commission.
“What makes this unbearable is that this is all happening during a global pandemic, where the Irish fishing fleet has been identified as an essential service for the continuity of the food supply,” said Murphy.
The fleet assembled at Roche’s Point off the port of Cork early Wednesday and headed for the port of Cork.
“The fishing crews, the mechanics, the engineers, the oil companies, the net makers, the shops, the supermarkets all supported us – it was a real community event,” said Murphy.
Murphy paid tribute to the Garda, the Naval Service and the Port of Cork for hosting the peaceful protest, and members of the public for supporting it.
“The fishermen present themselves to the public, to show them the boats they have, the enormous investment, the creation of jobs, families with long traditions who risk being forced to quit fishing,” he said. he says.
“Many companies across the country, through no fault of their own, will not financially survive the current climate,” the SI and WFPO warned.
“The countless job losses, the financial worries these people have of maintaining their mortgage payments and putting food on their tables are unimaginable,” he says.
A photo gallery of the trawler demonstration at Roches Point is here