An empty Bundoran boat quay this week, while inset the kind of boats typical of the size that inshore fishermen use
A Bundoran based inshore fisherman, who can trace his fishing lineage back at least five generations, has this week hit out at what he has said is the wholescale depletion of fish stocks from the wider Donegal Bay area.
He told donegallive.ie how this week two Dutch super trawlers were off the bay, cleaning out fishing stocks that would ensure little or no fish for local fishermen. He said that last month, a Japanese registered super trawler did the same.
Sean Carthy, who was also a member of the old Bundoran Town Council, said it was one of the worst aspects of fishing capitulation to the EU, that was ignored by successive governments and not widely known to the general public, outside of fishing communities along the coast.
"Our inshore fleet is an important part of the local economy. In Ireland it employs thousands and feeds thousands of families rather than big businesses and corporations.
“Our community stretches from Bundoran and Mullaghmore and over to Creevy and Inver. Further over the coast there are piers from Bruckless to Teelin.
“The whole ethos is for a sustainable and quality product.There is a huge emphasis on the idea of traditional fishing. Most of the boats in the inshore fleet are between 15 and 30ft.
"These factory boats are up to 450ft in length and can catch more in a day than our inshore fleet can in 10 years. Many are from Holland, France, Spain and further afield as well. It is simply not sustainable long-term and if allowed to go on unchecked, this in the long term will also wipe out a massive section of our tourism.
“Sealife is a very big attraction. Big boats trawling in our inshore waters for species such as spratt are also a big threat to the inshore vessels as well.
“In such shallow waters as Donegal Bay two of these boats pair trawling can do a lot of damage in a short while. In the past year, at times, there were more than a dozen of them. Inshore fishermen are both traditional and sustainable. They feed families rather than big businesses. Government needs to change the pattern and protect the people who have the best interests in our marine environment at heart rather than making a few wealthier.
“I'm sure there is a place for the big boats although I don't know if they are sustainable anywhere but it certainly isn't off the west coast of Ireland.
“Everyone has to try and make a living but Ireland needs to concentrate on making a sustainable living for its own in the first instance.
“Forget about the French, Dutch, African, Spanish, and Japanese. We are a small island, not a continent.
“They have their own waters destroyed. They can't be allowed to destroy ours as well.”
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