£1m Fishing Package Paid For Final Time
By Philip Bradfield
Saturday 26th February 2005
Almost £1 million of subsidies has been announced for Ulster fishermen confined to harbours for conservation reasons this year – but it will be the last year they will be compensated for nearly three months of annual restrictions.
DUP MEP Jim Allister and Alan McCullaof the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation in Kilkeel welcomed the money as short-term aid. But both expressed their concern about hardship for fishermen with restrictions continuing while compensation comes to an end.
Mr Allister said he was alarmed that the £1 million announcement from Fisheries Minister Ian Pearson would be the last.
“It is mean-spirited of the Minister to declare that this is the last occasion he will grant it. If that is to be so then equally this should be our last closed period,” he said. “Will the Minister be as forthright in declaring himself on that issue? If we didn’t have closure we wouldn’t need transitional aid,” he added.
Mr McCulla said: “This money is good news for those getting it, but tying boats up in the harbour is not the real solution. No fisherman wants subsidies and the objective is to eliminate the annual period when the Irish Sea is closed for cod fishing.”
Minister Pearson said he hoped fishermen will take full advantage of “a further, and final, year” of transitional aid, to further plan how they will adjust to ongoing cod protection measures.”