Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson is to meet with a representative of the EU Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner in Brussels tomorrow following discussions with local fishermen on the state of the industry at a meeting with members of the Fisherman’s Forum in Ardglass this morning.

Ms Anderson said:

“I have had a number of engagements with the fishing community in Ardglass  in recent months. I have much sympathy with their concerns about the deterioration of conditions in the sector.

“The issues we discussed at this latest meeting included the financial pressures placed on families by EU regulations and the inconsistencies in conditions of employment between locals and foreign crew which deters younger members from carrying on the family tradition.

“Local fishermen are entitled to the same level of income as foreign crews and should be employed under the same conditions and pay .

“I will meet with senior permanent EU staff (Commissioner Commandant) tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd April, to discuss the issue of a Single Boat (SBP) payment. I realise that this is an issue that will take some time to resolve but myself and my party are up for the task.

“As the issue of an SBP has not yet begun in Europe I will need to present a robust competent argument and require the full support of the industry to get it on the agenda.

“I will begin this process when I meet with Andras Inotai from the cabinet of Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki in Brussels tomorrow.

“I will be pressing him on support for the fishing industry particularly in the context of the north of Ireland. I will highlight the challenges that exist for the fishing community in Ireland and the pressures fishermen face in the current climate especially in the context of certain EU regulations. ”