Major fishing port will be 'wiped out' by new EU rule

By Anita Guidera
Monday December 15 2008
Irish Independent

FEARS that a Donegal fishing community could become a "ghost port" have been raised days ahead of a crucial meeting of EU fisheries ministers.
Almost all of the 1,000 people living in Greencastle, on the eastern shores of the Inishowen peninsula, depend on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.
But fishermen based at Ireland's second largest white fish port warn that proposals to close down a fishing ground off the north west coast could sound the death knell for the village.
On the table at Thursday's meeting in Brussels to determine the EU's Total Allowable Catch for 2009 is a proposal to prohibit fishing for cod, haddock and whiting in local waters.
If agreed, it could wipe out a fleet of smaller boats, which are not capable of travelling farther out to sea.
The closure or part closure will also force the larger trawlers further out to Rockall, 500km away, and down to the south coast -- leaving Greencastle without a home fleet.
"Fishing is the lifeblood of this village. There is nothing else, particularly now that the construction industry has come and gone," said John O'Kane, manager of the Foyle Fishermen's Co-op.
Trawlermen Eddie Kelly and Cyril Harkin, who have chalked up over 60 years of fishing between them, believe the proposal, as it currently stands, will be the final straw for Greencastle.
"Fishermen are not going to steam half way around Ireland and then come back to Greencastle to land their catches. It's going to become a ghost port," said Cyril, whose son James is also a fisherman. Eddie added: "The problem is that fishermen only have about four percent of the vote. We are not getting enough Government support."