Fine Gael Deputy John Deasy has released figures showing there are only 82 fishing vessels currently licensed and registered to persons with addresses in Waterford. That amounts to 3.8% of the national fishing fleet of 2,129 vessels.
“The figure at first glance is very low. But the number in Waterford hasn’t changed a great deal over the past few years,” he says. “I think you need to go back 20 years and consider the amount of families who back then were making a living from the sea. Over that period of time we have seen a sharp reduction in licensed vessels in Waterford. The industry has been badly diminished by over-regulation in that time period.”