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To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason the scheme of assistance for pot fishermen is capped at 50 pots for boats under 12 metres, rather than 100 pots as is the case for 12 to 15 metre boats in view of the fact that the vast majority of vessels affected by recent events are under 10 metres in length; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Mick Wallace.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 26th March, 2014.

REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney)

We have had some exceptional storm events in the early part of this year and this has given rise to a greater loss of lobster/crab and shrimp pots than could reasonably be expected by inshore fishermen in normal winter months.  Even pots stored on quaysides were vulnerable to being swept away by these ferocious storms.  The Government recognised the hardship caused for many inshore fishermen faced with the cost of replacing this lost gear.  In response, I made available up to €1.5 million to assist inshore fishermen in replacing lobster/crab and shrimp pots lost or destroyed in the storms.  The Scheme now being implemented by Bord Iascaigh Mhara provides fixed payments equivalent to 40% of the cost of pot replacement.

As many pots were irrevocably lost, it is not possible to establish definitively the extent of losses by individual fishermen.  I am advised by BIM that with some exceptions, larger vessels will tend to fish more gear.  It was appropriate to recognise that larger vessels were thus more likely to have lost more gear and with a finite budget available for this scheme, to manage that budget in a way that made funds available to fishermen in approximate correlation to their losses.

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