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Written Answers. - Fishing Industry Development.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 52. Mr. J. O'Keeffe Information on Jim O'Keeffe Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that those involved in tuna fishing in the south west will suffer severe economic hardship as a result of the ban on drift net fishing which came into force on 1 January 2002; and his plans to offset these difficulties. [3659/02]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey Some £2 million has been invested by BIM with EU support, on the tuna gear conversion programme since 1998. There has been an active involvement of south-western fishermen in the programme and a variety of fishing gears and techniques have been tested with promising results especially in relation to pair pelagic mid-water trawling. There is a resultant high level of interest from the fishermen in the south-west in the 2002 tuna fishery.

Ireland has a substantial tuna quota and I am confident that the fishing industry, through the development and utilisation of new fishing techniques, can position itself to maximise the economic returns from the fishery.

We have also secured EU agreement to double the number of vessels in the tuna fishery. This arrangement, and taking into account our significant quota share, will enable a significant number [1577] of vessels from the south-west to participate in the tuna fishery this year using new fishing methods with resultant dividends in terms of quality and price.

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