Archive for March, 2014

Hector Goes Fishing

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Irish broadcaster Hector Ó hEochagáin had a real opportunity within this program screened on RTE to not only give viewers an insight into all the elements that make up the Irish commercial fishing sector, but to also widen the brief as to how Ireland’s wild sea fisheries resource could be managed ongoing to include tourism, less destructive fishing methods and marine protected areas.

A programme that started well by giving an accurate overview of the Irish fishing industry today concluded with the usual clichés about Ireland as an island nation, the mistrust of all parties involved, a sad but true image of the discards debacle showing the Kilmore Quay Flaherty’s chucking fish over the side, how dangerous the job is and the “joining the EU/sell out chestnut”.

Hector failed to mention gross over fishing within Ireland’s territorial waters to include the Irish fleet and how over fishing is the real reason why supply and job creation within the sector is hamstrung. Also that recreational sea angling to include its 4500 jobs contribution, many tourism based, is worth €127 million or 15% of the €700 – 800 million total commercial fishing sector revenues.

Shining lights within the broadcast though were Martin Howley’s assessment of the Irish Pelagic fleets contribution and also fisheries Minister Simon Coveney, who to be fair gave a balanced picture as to the negotiations involved when we joined the EEC, citing prevailing thinking nationally on what was best for Ireland’s future. The Minister also alluded to a lack of national vision and ambition with regard to maritime affairs at the time and what would have happened in his opinion if Ireland had subsequently negotiated more control of its waters pre 1973 referencing over fishing in the Irish Sea.

However the words “over fishing or destructive practices” never left Hector’s lips creating what was in short an unbalanced review of Ireland’s commercial fishing sector and therefore another missed opportunity to further a wider view as to how Ireland’s marine resource can be best utilised and managed into the future.

See also RTE player: Hector Goes Fishing, online until 24th March 2014.