Fishermen in Dunmore East were shocked and alarmed this week when the local Fishermen’s Co-op was informed by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority that the handling, storage and sale of fish must cease immediately due to EU regulations.

Waterford County Council called now on all political parties to secure funding to reverse the crisis at Dunmore East and the decline in the Irish fishing industry.

Sinn Fein representative, Councillor Pat Fitzgerald, said it was a sad day for the local fishing industry when EU regulations and the stroke of a fishery officer’s pen could end three and a half decades of fish handling at the quayside facility. The Co-Op had already been struggling with EU fish quota restrictions, an aging fishing fleet and poor fish prices caused by low demand due to the recession.

The properties referred to in the letter from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority were the auction hall and cold storage facilities at the white fish landing berth in the harbour which had been leased from the Dept of the Marine since the mid 1970s. Over the years hundreds of thousands of boxes of fish were put ashore and auctioned to the public.

Twenty years ago there were between 40 and 50 boats in the harbour employing hundreds of fishermen who all made a good living from the sea. Hundreds more were employed in fish processing plants all around the harbour, he said.

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