[Sinn Fein]

7th November 2002

Ferris slams threat to Irish Fishing Box

The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, has expressed concern over the threat to open up the 50 mile Irish conservation area to EU fishermen.

"I will be pressing the Minister to explain how long he has been aware of this proposal and what steps he intends to take to ensure that this doesn't take place.

"It would be particularly ironic if this was to be put in place at a time of renewed concern over stocking levels which have been greatly depleted by overfishing.

"It also makes somewhat of a mockery of Commissioner Fischler's proposals to provide 600 million Euro to cushion fishermen against the effects of reform of Fisheries Policy and to favour smaller scale operators. None of this will benefit Irish fishermen if our waters are opened up to further exploitation by other EU members". Deputy Ferris has placed a number of questions for the Minister demanding answers on all of these issues next week.

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