|Skipper of the Crystal Dawn Liam O'Brien |
at Greencastle harbour.
In their statement Irish Water, instead of offering a comprehensive apology to the fishermen for being completely in the wrong, decide instead to issue a statement which is a totally disingenuous attempt to blacken the good name of the local fishermen.
The Skipper of the Crystal Dawn, Liam O'Brien, responding to the media statement from Irish Water in relation to an obstruction caused by their hired boat " James " on Thurs morning last at the fishing grounds at Carnagarve on Lough Foyle, comments:
... On approaching the oyster fishery at Carnagarve, on Lough Foyle I noticed a large vessel anchored on the fishing grounds and directly in the path of an oncoming fishing boat that was already engaged in dredging for oysters. .
I called this vessel on my VHF radio and asked him to identify himself and to state his intentions. He gave me his name, the name of the boat and that he was about to commence a survey on behalf of the Department of the Marine which would take twelve hours.
I told him that the DOM always gave the fishermen prior notification of an impending survey and then made agreed arrangements. It was then that he stated that in fact he had been hired in by Irish Water and NOT the Dept. I told him that he was anchored on a designated Native Oyster bed which fishermen were licensed to fish and totally obstructing our day's work which we had already planned and were entitled to carry out. I asked him to alter his position and pointed out several other locations for him to move to which would allow him to continue with his survey and also allow us to continue with our fishing .
To prove that it was actually a designated fishing ground and that we were properly licensed the skipper of the James asked if he could come aboard my boat to view the fishing ground on the boat's computer and to check my licence.
I agreed immediately, produced the boat's fishing license.
He asked if he could he take a photograph of the designated fishing grounds off the computer and I agreed.
He stated he had to be in this precise position only. I stated that we were legally entitled to be here and on the basis that he and Irish Water had not bothered to consult with the local fishermen then I felt, in the circumstances, he was obliged to give way. He accepted the overall position. He stated that he had not been made aware that this was a very important local fishery in that area.
He said they would now lift anchor, return to port and allow us continue, unobstructed, with our day's fishing.
I would also like to state that I contacted the Lough's Agency ( Statutory body in charge of the licensing of Oyster fishing in Lough Foyle ) as I became aware of obstruction being caused by this vessel on the designated Oyster bed.
I asked them to intervene.
Unbelievably, they stated it was not their concern.
|The Irish Water vessel, the James, obstructing the oyster fishing boats out of Greencastle.|
⏭ Enda Craig is spokesperson Community For A Clean Estuary