Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to re-engage with the Irish fishing sector and coastal communities before he finalises any planning on Marine Protected Areas in Irish waters.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said:
“Irish fishers are custodians of the sea. They need sustainable stock to preserve their tradition and livelihoods. I have engaged extensively with their sector and they are not against Marine Protected Areas.
“Fishers need to be truly included in the conversation. They must be engaged with and they must be part of the decision-making process.
“Sinn Féin recognise that we need a robust and transparent marine planning system. Any system though, must support our fishers and coastal communities. It must protect Ireland’s marine environment and it must facilitate timely development of offshore renewable energy sources.
“All three of these objectives can be achieved with the right level of inclusive planning and policy framework.
“Sinn Féin believe we can get this policy right and that we can be a benchmark for other countries.
“We are certain that sustainable economic fisheries, a vibrant aquaculture industry, Marine Protected Areas and offshore wind energy can all co-exist. But they can only co-exist with meticulous and inclusive planning.
“Sinn Féin will continue to engage with coastal communities, environmental NGOs, scientific experts, industry and the government to advance these key objectives.”