‘Fisheries Council outcome ‘a slap in the face’ for fishermen’ – Rogers
SDLP MLA for South Down, Seán Rogers has called on the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill, to take action to ensure the future viability of fishing fleets in the North.
Speaking after a statement by the DARD Minister on the outcome of the December Fisheries Council, Rogers said: “I am deeply disappointed by the result of the December 2013 Fisheries Council, as explained by the Minister in the Assembly.
“The fishing industry continues to be a key economic driver in the North and the latest news about further cuts to prawn and key whitefish numbers is undoubtedly a blow to our recovery.
“A cut of 9% in prawn numbers will result in a direct reduction of over 600,000 tonnes of landings. That amounts to the removal of over £1.5million from the local economy. Our fishermen continue to feel some of the harshest effects of the economic downturn,” he insisted.
“Visiting these further cuts on their haul will only further damage the sustainability of the industry. To compound this news, our prawn fleets operating from ports like Kilkeel are likely to see an increased effort from vessels displaced following major cuts in whitefish numbers.
Rogers added, “Our fleets have done everything they can to work with the department to be proactive but this outcome has been little more than a slap in the face, both for fishing communities and the wider local economy.”
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