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Fishing days reduced, a blow
County Down fishermen got serious blow as the authority has reduced the number of days of fishing.
The fishermen expressed their fear at further reductions in the number of days they are allowed to fish. The European Fisheries Council has agreed a 25 percent reduction in fishing effort to protect cod stocks. Dick James of the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation opined that the slashing of days at sea is a serious blow to local fishing communities.
It is said that for prawn boats operating out of Kilkeel, Ardglass and Portavogie the 25 percent cut will mean the fleet being confined to port for an additional 40 days next year. Till date it has been the tradition to cut quotas to conserve stocks, but, frustrated by quota swaps between some member states, it has increasingly turned to keeping boats tied up in port. Irish Sea prawn boats were allocated 180 days at sea this year but the Fish Producers Organisation says that will now fall to 135 days in 2009.
As per the data the whitefish fleet, which now amounts to fewer than ten boats, is currently permitted to fish 148 days and that will now be reduced to just over 100 fishing days in 2009. It is told that the fishermen are now waiting to hear how the pot of days allocated to the United Kingdom will be allocated to individual boats.
Conor Murphy, who represented the fisheries minister Michelle Gildernew in Europe, expressed that it was an extremely difficult negotiation given the European Commission's determination to conserve cod stocks and reduce cod mortality including discards. He added that the commission should have shown some flexibility to keep poor fishermen in mind.
WorldFishingToday d. 20-11-2008