Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

As a group of 18 Irish boats sheltered in the Spanish port of Ondarroa skippers and crew with members from IS&WPO, IS&EPO, KFO and IFPO met in the newly built state of the art local auction hall to discuss the crisis now facing the Irish polyvalent pelagic fleet.

At the forefront of the discussions was the massive reduction in Tuna prices this year with a 40% cut and a very unsettled year with weather making the fishery increasingly difficult for the fleet to be sustainable.

The importing of Tuna into the EU is a major contributing factor on the low price and if this is the case going forward we won’t have a fishery in the future. The Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue should be asked to look into the wipeout Prices of this fishery which will be no longer viable at a European level

Irish Polyvalent boats berthed in Ondarroa Harbour, Spain today

The hope of an uplift for the polyvalent pelagic fleet were quickly dashed as discussions changed to the disappointment in the announcement that any uptake in the BAR Pelagic Relief Scheme would see any Polyvalent Vessels forego any monies received in whitefish tie up schemes previously.

As the sector hit with huge losses of both pelagic and whitefish entitlements the feeling of “how much more can the sector take” was plain to be seen.

With 13% of the annual Mackerel Quota allocated to the Polyvalent Pelagic fleet and contributing to large parts of the vessels turn over in this sector it was felt that it only fair that these vessels be entitled to 13% of the monies allocated to the BAR Pelagic Relief Scheme with no conditions other than to uplift and compensate the vessels for the quota lost in the Brexit Deal.

Once again vessels have seen a spike in fuel prices and it is now a major concern for vessel owners with the down turn in Tuna prices and the high level of fuel prices whether there will they be anything left for the hard working crews.

In stark contrast we stand in this state of the art Spanish facility’s supported by the government and wonder where has it all gone wrong. We now call on Minister McConalogue to meet with the Fishermen’s Organisations in what can be called nothing else but a crisis of the Industry.