FIF issues note of caution over emergency aid – Fishupdate.com

FIF issues note of caution over emergency aid Published:  19 June, 2008

Joe Borg

THE Federation of Irish Fishermen (FIF) today sounded a major note of caution regarding the package of emergency aid for the EU fishing industry announced this week.

The Federation noted that the package was in the form of a proposal which has not been agreed and contained little or no provision for the expenditure of “new” or additional money which will be absolutely essential, they said, to implement a package of emergency aid.

FIF welcomed the fact that many of the elements which it has already identified, including short term tie-up aid, are now clearly accepted by the EU Commission as being necessary.

FIF claims to be at the forefront of high-level direct discussions at EU as well as Irish government levels to get such measures adopted as a matter of urgency.

“We welcome the ministers’ meeting yesterday with Commissioner Borg at which all our issues were impressed on him,” said FIF chairman, Michael Walsh.

He added “We are stressing that the that a series of immediate measures including tie-up aid must be agreed in Luxembourg early next week by the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers and that the Irish government’s package, including additional funding – from whatever source – must in turn be announced before the end of next week.

“This was the timetable we were promised and this is the timetable that must be delivered.”

FIF expects to hold further talks with the ministers in advance of next week’s Luxembourg council and will be re-emphasising in the strongest terms the need for substantial measures to be put in place in days, not weeks.

Securing the scientifically supported increases in present year quota for Celtic Sea cod is another priority that cannot be lost sight of.

Meanwhile, FIF says it is continuing to press for substantive action on the domestic issues which also have to be addressed, including administrative sanctions for minor fisheries offences, the operations of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and the commencement of work on the Industry/Science Partnership and Marketing Initiative with the Marine Institute and BIM respectively, announced by ministers after the marathon meeting between them and FIF in Athlone last week.

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