Pringle brings local concerns to Brussels
Independent Cllr. Thomas Pringle brought the concerns of Donegal inshore fishermen to Brussels last week, in a meeting with Commissioner Maria Damanaki of the EU Fisheries Commission. He attended as part of the international Reclaim Our Seas Alliance (Rosa) delegation.
"I was able to bring the concerns of the inshore fishermen in Donegal South-West on the operation of the Cod Recovery Plan in Area VIa," Cllr. Pringle said. He also raised issues of size restriction on crayfish, a situation in which Irish fishermen have to land a minimum size of 110mm and the EU regulation is 95mm.
"Fishermen have been unable to get clear information as to whether this is an Irish or EU restriction and I am expecting to be able to clarify this situation once and for all," the councillor said.
Rosa is made up of fishermen's organisations from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, south-west England and France "that have accepted that the CFP [Common Fisheries Policy] has failed and that it is time for a new replacement that should return the control of fisheries to national governments where real development can take place," Cllr. Pringle said. He said the commissioner explained her plans to regionalise the control measures that might go some way to make the policy more responsive.
The delegation also raised its four strategic objectives with the commission: That the EU returns control of fisheries policy to the member states; that the permanent transfer of fishing rights between member states be opposed; that the EU should prevent fishery products over which it has no control in terms of sustainability, environmental and socio-economic impact into the EU market in direct competition with production from EU fishermen; and that there is a presumption of priority use for fishing interests in the designation of marine protected areas and conservation zones
"This meeting represented an opportunity to put an alternative view before the commission and start a discussion that can lead to a real alternative to the failed CFP," Cllr. Pringle said. "As long as we labour under the current mind set our fishing communities will die under the weight of a bureaucracy that does not recognise the value of tradition to a community resource and will continue with the one-size-fits-all policy."