Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

*This article has been updated

Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan has cautiously welcomed news the government has introduced a temporary tie-up scheme for fishing vessels and their owners who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as a step in the right direction.

Market closures and disruption of the restaurant and the foodservice industry has seen market demand and sale prices drop substantially – circumstances which have meant Ireland’s fishermen and women have been working twice as hard for less money, the Fianna Fáil TD said.

Under the scheme, eligible vessels will be supported to voluntarily opt to tie up for one or two of the next three months, operational from 1st June 2020, and availability will be extended to the inshore fleet and to larger vessels.

“It’s something I have called for repeatedly, and it’s something I welcome,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.

“The industry has been hit incredibly hard by this pandemic, with the bottoming out of the fish market. This will allow the industry to better match fishing activity with market demand. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.

“It’s also good news for conservation.”

That said, the Cork South West TD went on to state that the scheme—which was announced by the Government late last week, and is designed to complement COVID-19 wage supports and loan arrangements already in place—was just that: a step. And a small one at that.

The recently elected TD concluded by stating that what the scheme is offering hardworking fishermen and women per boat “is clearly not enough to make an impact.”

“The government must do more to support them,” he said.
“They pay huge rents and mortgages on these boats that would under normal circumstances be turning profits. They need serious help, and the government must take seriously their views.
“The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine needs to sit down down and meet with the industry to discuss fair and equitable measures to help sustain our fisheries industry.”


Image: Castletownbere (Credit: Niall Duffy)