[Sinn Fein]

23rd January 2003

Ferris Condemns Arrest of Castletownbeare Trawler

The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, condemned yesterday's detention of Castletownbeare fisherman Mike Orpin, skipper of the Ardent. The boat was detained by the Navy because it had exceeded the monthly quota. Deputy Ferris claimed it was another example of the attempt to criminalise Irish fishermen who are striving to earn a living under increasingly difficult circumstances.

Deputy Ferris said; ``This arrest confirms the feeling among fishermen that they are being unfairly treated. Not only are they forced to operate under increasing constraints with regard to quota and other regulations, but they contrast this with the opening up of the Irish Box to foreign fleets, and what they regard as the lenient manner in which the latter are treated when found to be in breach of regulations.

``I am calling on Minister Ahern to renegotiate the current regulations governing the fishing industry and to ensure that Irish fishermen are able to earn a living without being subject to this kind of harassment. I will be raising this issue in the Dáil next week and hope that the Minister will provide a satisfactory response to the concerns being voiced by fishing communities around our coast''.

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