Weekly Blog – October 30
I AM SURPRISED THIS WEEK
What I have learned about the Minister for the Marine and the action he took against the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA), a major representative body in the seafood sector, surprises me. The IFPEA represent fish processors and exporters throughout Ireland. It has a long history of representing the interests of the Irish seafood sector. Its membership is drawn from small-scale processors to fish co-operatives, family-run fish processors/retailers and the largest processing companies in the country. “Our members are covering shellfish, demersal/white fish and pelagic sectors,” it says. “We are an association of equals that is motivated in promoting Irish seafood on a global market basis.” On October 22, sixty representatives of various fish processing and exporting companies attended their first meeting in person together since the pandemic began. Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue had told the IFPEA he would attend. In the context of the major problems facing the seafood sector and the fishing industry, this was an important meeting. He did not attend.The Association says the Minister snubbed them. “Having initially accepted the invitation on the 7th of October, he subsequently withdrew it.” The reason for this, the IFPEA says this was “due to comments made by the IFPEA CEO Mr Brendan Byrne surrounding the failures of successive Governments, Department and the Minister regarding fisheries policy since joining the EEC/EU.” The Minister has declined to explain why he took this action. Differences of opinion are not uncommon, but refusing to meet with a major representative organisation in the seafood sector because of critical comments made by it about Government, Departmental and Ministerial actions or alleged failures is unusual. Freedom of opinion and the right to express it are hallmarks of a democratic society. In the MARINE TIMES newspaper November edition, due in the shops next week, I will report in more detail about this development.
MY CHOICE OF THE WEEK’S MARINE STORIES
1 – The first national representative organisation for Coast Guard volunteers has been established. The Irish Coast Guard Volunteers Representative Association says it has been set up “to represent the concerns of volunteers and will help correct much of the unfair treatment that many volunteers have faced over the past decade.”
2 – Dublin Port Company reported that gross tonnage of goods moving through port declined by 3.3% in the nine months to the end of September compared with the same period last year. Container movement through port was down and there was an overall decline in trade with British ports.
3 -Though the Irish fishing industry has been told it must remove 60 boats from the national fleet, because of the impact of Brexit and the Common Fisheries Policy, new boats are being built in Belgium which has a bigger catching quota for species of fish in Irish waters than Irish boats. One new Belgian vessel has already joined the fleet there, six more are due to be launched over the next few months.
4– Irish ports have joined together to host the first Irish Port Safety Week from November 1 to 5. It will follow European Safety Week. All ports nationally have been invited to participate, with different collaborative events taking place daily at each port.
5 – Arctic sea ice has been steadily decreasing since the beginning of satellite records in 1979. A new study predicts that by the end of this century, Arctic sea ice may disappear during Summer, which could drive polar bears and other ice-dependent species to extinction.
6 – World Sailing, sailing’s international federation has started a campaign to reinstate sailing at the Paralympic Games in LA 2028. Irish Sailing, the national representative body for the sport in this country, is supporting the campaign.
MANY WAYS AND PLACES to listen to THE MARITIME IRELAND RADIO SHOW. Tune in wherever you get your Podcasts. Mixcloud, Apple, Spotify.and many other services carry the MARITIME IRELAND RADIO SHOW which is also broadcast on 18 local community radio stations around Ireland throughout the week. Tune into your local station. It can also be heard on the MARINE TIMES website and on this website. Daily maritime news on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney