It is being reported today (13th Nov 2008) that the European Union is proposing a ban on all whitefish fisheries off Ireland's northwest coast. This comes just five months after fishermen right around the coast were forced to come out and blockade ports because their industry is dying through over-regulation from Brussels and overfishing from other EU and non-EU fleets in Irish waters.
It is quite clear now that EU doesn't give a damn about Irish fishermen and given their refusal to recognise our democratic rejection of the Lisbon Treaty they don't really care about Ireland at all.
Some wise people predicted back in the early 1970s that our fisheries would suffer through EU membership. They were laughed at back then but they were right. Our offshore waters have been pillaged for the last four decades by boats of every nation while Irish fishermen trying to make a living for themselves and their families and to keep their communities alive have been regulated to death. A plethora of agencies watch their every move, including the naval service who monitor them from Haulbowline and from the eight naval vessels which patrol our coast.
Last June when the fishermen were forced to go on strike they had the overwhelming support of the Irish people who of course rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a democratic vote on June 12th last. But of course it's as if that vote had never taken place as an arrogant government, taking instructions from European masters, is intent on rerunning that referendum to make sure we vote "the right way".
The Old Blog Cabin feels it is time for the Irish people as a whole to take a stand for a sovereign state making decisions on behalf Ireland. We should demand a return to a much larger exclusive fishing area for the Irish fleet and stop the harassment of Irish fishermen. It is clear from last weeks huge drug seizure off the Irish coast that there are more important tasks the Naval Service should concentrate on other than making life hell for local fishermen.
Yes there is a need for conservation of fish stocks but lets start by taking out the supertrawlers and giving priority to our own fishermen.