Progress made on single boat payments

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015
Local MLA Chris Hazzard says progress is being made in securing a ‘Single Boat Payment’ which he insists would ‘go a long way’ towards lifting the financial burden on the South Down fishing industry.
Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard

Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard

“This scheme”, he told Newry Times, “is an idea that has emanated from our own local engagement with fishing industry in Ardglass and Kilkeel. “My Sinn Féin colleagues in Europe are actively promoting it, because it would help fishermen experiencing financial hardship, in the same way the ‘Single Farm Payment’ does for small farmers.” Hazzard continued, “Fishermen too often put their lives at risk to provide an income for their families. They experience financial hardship, especially when severe weather doesn’t allow them to work. “This scheme would offer two very important improvements to the lives of local fishermen in South Down. It would provide financial security when weather conditions make it impossible for their vessels to leave port, as well as improving work safety.” Hazzard says he is closely following developments in Strasbourg. The Sinn Féin MEP team recently met Karmenu Villa, the European Commissioner for Fisheries in Strasbourg, to outline the ‘Single Boat Payment’ proposal. He continued, “It is proposed that the scheme would be funded through the EMFF (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund), offering vulnerable fishermen a deal which would be in line with what’s being given to small farmers. “Commissioner Villa commended the proposal put to him by Sinn Féin and accepted that it would be beneficial to hard-pressed fishermen. He also said it would be strongly considered by the European Commission.” Hazzard added, “It’s only fair that Europe provides support for fishermen in the same way it does for farmers. Martina (Anderson) will be in touch with progress. If we’re successful, it would mean so much to families in South Down, where most of the north’s fishing industry is situated.”
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