Ahead of Ireland joining the European Economic Community fishermen are anxious to protect territorial waters.
While nothing has yet been officially agreed, fishermen are cautious of a softening approach by Irish negotiators. They are calling on Dr Patrick Hillery, Minister for External Affairs, to hold out on the retention of the 12 mile limit.
13 representatives, themselves fishermen and members of fishermen cooperatives met to discuss the agreement. They represented around four thousand fishermen from 11 ports from Donegal to Dublin. Following the meeting they issued a short statement.
We are dissatisfied that the 12 mile limit has not been given around the Irish coastline and we reject the review clause completely.
The clause allows for a review of the agreement after 10 years.
At a press conference following their meeting, they rejected Dr Hillery's suggestion that a six mile limit off the south east coast was sufficient to protect the herring shoals there. They called for more policing of Ireland's territorial waters.
Polish and Dutch trawlers are now poaching off the south coast.
They said that the Fishermen's Federation should be the body to handle the marketing of fish in the EEC.
John Power, Chairman of the Fishermen's Federation, said that in 1964, concessions were given to six foreign countries to fish within Ireland's 12 mile limit. He had been hopeful that by 1984, this would end. As it stands, with just a six mile limit, they can not succeed in getting these conditions removed.
The fishermen are not at all satisfied with what they got and with the review clause.
John Power's main concern with the review clause is that there is nothing in it to indicate what will happen after 10 years. He believes that the fishermen should be compensated after this period if their livelihoods are put under threat.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 December 1971. The reporter is Tom McCaughren.