Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has called on Minister Charlie McConalogue to engage with his Department of Marine officials, the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) and the European Commission to ensure that a fish-weighing system can be established at Killybegs.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn was speaking after the High Court ruled against the SFPA for its failure to approve the conveyor belt fish-weighing system.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said:
“Today’s ruling is a welcome decision and vindicates what fishers and their representative bodies have been saying for quite some time now that there is no legal basis to concerns raised by the SFPA through the European Commission about this fish weighing system.
“The truth is that this should never have had to go to court. It is a reflection of the state of the relationship between the SFPA and the fishing industry.
“This ruling will only add to the widespread view amongst fishers and fish producers that the SFPA is an organisation that is not fit for purpose and in need of urgent reform.
“This outcome must also be a wake-up call for the Minister for the Marine Charlie McConalogue.
“He must now urgently intervene in this issue and engage with his Department of Marine officials, the SFPA and the European Commission to ensure that a fish-weighing system can be established at Killybegs and across the state that is fair, reasonable and protects the freshness and quality of our seafood produce.
“He must also finally listen to our fishers and fish producers and ensure that the previous agreements on the weighing of fish in this state are reinstated.”