Can anyone outline what the debate is here exactly. Ireland participation in the EU involves allowing our waters to be fished by other members??? I've heard that our fishing waters our worth billions, can anyone confirm this and explain what exactly the argument is and why the Irish fishing industry is so upset?
Search this forum for "fishing" and "billion", you should find some good information.
Long story short, Ireland traded fishing rights for the various benefits of EU membership, including agriculture subsidies and structural funds. On balance, that has been a hugely positive tradeoff for us. The fishing industry don't necessarily see it that way, but the numbers that have been bandied about have no basis in reality.
To put simply if you were to remove all the costs and fore knowledge to establish a large irish fishing fleet and irish navy, then the amount of fish in irish waters would be worth quite a bit.
Problem is of course the costs associated. Considering prior to entering the EU the amount of fishing in irish waters by irish fishermen was miniscule and dwarfed by fleets from other nations (including a very large Russian fleet)
When we joined the EU some of these costs were taken on by the EU, our navy was more firmly established with ships bought with EU money and despite other EU members getting access to fish in irish waters, non EU nations (such as those pesky Russians) were given a firm boot out.
As such due to EU support
the amount of value pulled in by irish fishing industry today > then irish fishing industry prior to joining EU.
It would be higher if it was exclusively Irish. But the costs to secure and properly fish to high enough standards would be also much higher and solely Irish responsibility.
the argument on the actual value usually hits a vicous circle here.
How high are the costs?
How high is the value?
the numbers move up and down constantly. Sometimes to extreme heights that are blatantly lies and irritate people quite a bit.
The simple truth is that this was a value that could have been exploited much earlier in Irish history but the truth is farming was the bigger industry at the time and more culturaly prominant in the Irish identity at the time and as such the government at the time and in following years focused more on farming over fishing. The point of trying to backpeddle and properly exploit irish fishing waters as the chief industry of Ireland is a pointless debate, its impossible to do so now. Could have in 1970's DIDNT
I remember during the Lisbon campaign the dis-information being spread about the total loss in revenue from the Irish concessions of fishing rights. I think it started with 100 billion... then another commentator raised the bar to 250 billion... then a few weeks ago some person was being interviewed about the fishing industry on nationwide and said that "a man in the post office" had told her it was 500 billion, and of course this was not questioned. Next I expect someone to push it up to a trillion...
The reality is that you can get the real numbers with some searching. I think it comes to a few billion over many years, if you assume as the OP mentioned that we were to have funded our fleets to double or triple the amount that the EU put in. This number is dwarfed by the main EU transfers which were in the region of 50 billion. Don't quote me on those numbers, I'm just talking ballpark figures.
If we could have invested in our fishing industry ourselves, fishermen certainly would have been better off if we had not joined the EU. However, there is a big question mark over whether we could have afforded that level of investment, and there's no question over the fact that everyone else in the country would have been worse off. You cannot build an entire economy on fishing.
ding dong WRONG
Agreed but neither can you eat off a three legged table - fishing was a sustainable leg of our economy given away for short term benefit by gombeen political elites feathering their nests rather than part of a longer term strategy for national benefit
In the 70's it wasnt though. The Irish fishing industry was dwarfed by quite a stupidly large number by other nations fishing in the eastern atlantic (EU and non EU).
To argue that if it was foreseen to grow to be a sustainable part of the economy and if we had somehow produced the funds to police our waters without EU support is essentially saying you know the future. Which if thats the case why even bother discussing this issue, clearly these powers can be put to much greater use.
I ll ignore the personal tinge at the end and state that the vision of the future is always part of leadership rather than what we had then and since which has been thinking of themselves rather than the nation.
But a vision usually requires some basis or justification. Which was lacking at the time. Again its impossible to argue the benefits of an Ireland dedicated to its fishing industry without time travel, there are far too many variables. Its a strawman of the highest order..
The difference between the two industries when we joined the EU was enormous. Fishing employed, at that stage, about 10,000 people (many part-time) - almost exactly the same number it does now. Agriculture, at the time, employed 245,000 people excluding fishing - 24% of those in employment. The deal on the table favoured agriculture, which was to the benefit of far more people than fishing - and of far greater benefit to the country in the long run, too, because agriculture was both far more expandable and far more easily expandable, as well as being spread broadly across the country rather than concentrated in a few ports. Agricultural output in Ireland is currently around €5.5bn annually, which is a lot more than could ever be produced from sustainable fishing.
Maybe very slightly off topic but if anyone wants to see the absolute absurdity of the European fish quota system and the criminal dumping of fish in British and Irish waters that it enforces watch Part 2 of Fish Fight on Channel 4 tonight.
Last nights showed the obscenity and stupidity of the quotas which far from preserving fish stocks actually ends up with millions of tonnes of perfectly good sized fish such as cod being dumped back dead into the sea.
The cod dumped from a single netting on the trawler shown last night could have provided meals for 2000 people. Not only is that done dozens of times on every sailing it is repeated for every boat currenly fishing.
This madness has to stop watch the program and join the campaign!
I watched the program. It's all very well complaining about the current system, but I'm still waiting for a concrete, practical alternative that enforces sustainable fishing practices.
The most sustainable approach was probably that described by the Hastings-based skipper who used to use the large-mesh net and land large cod individually. Which is all very well, but I don't see the Scottish skipper with his 400-ton trawler being too impressed with that approach.
I'll watch again tonight, in the hope of seeing an actual workable proposal to replace the CFP rather than the somewhat predictable "the EU is making us throw away fish!" rant.
Maybe you were watching a different program - alternatives were suggested and I understand some of these are to be developed in the coming program.
The approach suggested by the Scottish trawler men was for less fishing time but land what they catch. An approach also favoured by the Hastings men as they didnt need to go out very far. By the way 400 ton is not a big trawler!
If a boat was given a time limit on how long it could be at sea it would also encourage local fishing - The continuous fishing methods where boats are at sea for months with catches transferred to factory ships as practiced by the Spanish and others should end.
They were also looking at encouraging the public to look, try and buy fish from substainable stocks.
And actually they are being made to throw the fish away - under the European Law it is illegal for them to land non quota'd stock. Even if it was not to be sold - that is valuable and healthy food being wasted.
I think raising the public's awareness and yes complaining about a problem and a practice is as good a way as any to start the process of finding an alternative rather than just waiting for one to come along!
And it's all very well to suggest that the answer is to implement suggestions by UK fishermen that would work to the detriment of Spanish fishermen, but Spain aren't entirely likely to vote for that suggestion. Raising awareness is all very well, but a more complete understanding of the existing situation would be nice too. There will be a new CFP next year, that hopefully won't involved discarding fish - but I doubt it will keep everybody happy.
To some extent - we're still overfishing, but we're overfishing slightly less than before.
There is not going to be a solution to the fisheries problem that makes everybody happy - perhaps least of all fishermen. That's because we're still overfishing - that's the one point made very heavily in the results of the CFP consultation:
Speaking of complaining rather than doing - many more people appear to complain to each other, or in the media, than are prepared to write a submission to a public consultation on the subject of their complaints. The whole general public of the EU managed a total of 115 citizen submissions to the CFP consultation - somewhat less, I suspect, than the number of outraged posts/letters/call-ins etc that the Irish public alone generates in a year.
I think I remember you running a thread telling people to write in a while back. Or was that for another EU citizen submission?