Open Letter from Fishing for Leave to the Republic of Ireland Fishing Industry
It was with disappointment that we read the latest series of comments on Brexit from Seán O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO), in national and fishing industry papers and journals.
Undoubtedly anyone is to be commended in fighting tooth and nail for their industry which supports a unique way of life and heritage – it is why FFL has been uncompromising in our extensive efforts to Save Britain’s Fish.
However, we feel Mr O’Donoghue is putting huge energy into fighting the wrong cause whilst looking at the wrong end of the stick. He’s siding with the Irish industries jailers in the EU rather than Brexit that can be an ally for Ireland’s fishing industry liberation.
Britain is robbed of 60% of its natural resources by the EU fleet – how can Mr O’Donoghue think it right or proper to side with the EU on continuing such robbery.? He cites the need of the Republic of Ireland industry to access British waters – but he’s addressing the symptom not the cause.
Britain contributes half of the waters and 60% of the catches to the common EU pot in the NE Atlantic yet only gets 25% of the quota, less than half of what we should (and must) have with being an independent coastal state, with complete sovereignty over all waters and resources within our EEZ as per international law.
With quotas based on the international principle of ‘Zonal Attachment’ – where a nation has quotas based on the predominance of species in its waters. None of this is any different to what Norway, Iceland and Faroe operate under alongside the EU.
Britain’s been massively short-changed by over half, but the situation our Irish neighbours face is even more disgusting. Ireland contributes 35% of the EUs NE Atlantic waters but gets between 4-5% of the quotas. Less than 15% of what Ireland should have.
Is it any wonder that the Irish industry has been displaced from catching abundant stocks of whitefish in its own waters to having to chase prawns, squid and cuttle fish off Britain..? If the Irish industry was free from the EU and CFP then the current fleet would have so much of its own nations resources repatriated it wouldn’t need to leave home.
The Irish fleet being desperate for access for prawns and cuttle fish off Cornwall and access to catch squid in British waters around Rockall squid is a shameful indictment of the CFP.
One caused by a huge marauding fleet of French and Spaniards in Irish waters and a never ending line of Spanish and French lorries leaving Castletownbere (among others) hauling Irelands natural wealth away, all whilst a huge fleet of EU boats strips yet another huge volume from Irish waters directly back to the continent.
Mr O’Donoughe is siding with his jailers and oppressors against a British industry and Brexit that should be an ally for the liberation of Ireland’s fishermen too.
Has the Irish industries leadership become so institutionalised with Stockholm syndrome as to be so busy begging for the scraps of its own fish from Brussels table to miss their god given right to something better - their fishery that’s their own…?
We’ve yet to speak to any Irish skippers who have anything but contempt for the EU.
Rather than unrelentingly barking up a pro-Brussels tree is it not time for the Irish industry leadership to rouse that centuries old spirit of Irish freedom? To use Brexit as the inspiration to rally for their own liberation from the CFP, and to join their neighbours and kin in the rest of the British Isles as a free, independent coastal state?
If the Republic of Ireland leaves the EU then together Britain and Ireland, alongside Norway would control the whole seaboard off the NE of continental Europe. Whilst treasuring the stocks in our own waters for the benefit of our own nations we could; work together to husband shared stocks; dominate supply to an EU market critically dependent on our seafood for a staple of its diet; and agree any mutually beneficial swaps of access or quotas on a reciprocal value basis.
To regain over four fifths of its resources would see Irish fishing not just survive but thrive. To Britain, as the world’s fifth economy, taking back control of a multi-billion pound industry is a tremendous boost. To a nation with the population and economy of the Republic of Ireland repatriating a similar value is colossal.
We implore the Irish industry, and in particular its leadership to join us in escaping from a disastrous super state and its disastrous fisheries policy. The Irish political establishment may bask in its Europhilia – which has become as equally outdated in Dublin as in London - where our political establishment clings to it like fleas to a dead dog.
The recently rejected Mr Varadkar and Coveney might have experienced thrills of political excitement being fawned over as Brussels pets, but as seen in the recent elections their sycophancy won them no favours with the Irish people. When the pro-EU Dublin establishment has served their purpose of being useful sticks with which to whip Britain the screw will turn on the Irish people, and particularly the Irish fishing industry that will be expected to become a refugee centre for Danes, Dutch and Belgians.
Perhaps it is time for the Irish industry to have Fishing for Irexit rather than campaign alongside their oppressors and jailers? We would be delighted to see them with us.
We look forward to Mr O’Donoghues reply.