Ahead of Ireland joining the European Common Market, Irish fishermen are concerned about their livelihoods.
Irish fishermen were hoping to get a 12 mile fishing limit in Irish waters. While this has been agreed for some locations, others such as Dunmore East in county Waterford will have a limit of just six miles.
Dunmore East, the mecca of Irish fishing.
Outside the harbour at Dunmore East lies a rich herring ground. The only other large herring ground in European waters is off the west coast of Scotland. The season which runs from November to February has been bad. In Dunmore East, 60 to 70 boats lie idle as the herring are nowhere to be found. The only activity in the harbour is the sight of a Dutch lugger loading up the few herring that have been caught in Dunmore East in the past two weeks.
The men don't know if the fish will arrive in their normal numbers this year.
In each of the past two years, fishermen have taken 35,000 tonnes of herring out of the sea so it is possible that over fishing is the problem. Irish fishermen face competition from Dutch, English, Spanish, French, Belgian, and German boats. If Norway joins the EEC, then Irish seas will open to their large fishing boats presenting further challenges for Irish fishermen.
Irish fishermen are conscious of the problem of over fishing and now they are faced with a fishing agreement with the Common Market, an agreement which offers a six mile limit for the south east and not the twelve miles they wanted.
Mick Orpen a skipper in Castletownbere and Frank Scallan a skipper from Kilmore Quay are worried about their futures given the agreement on a six mile limit for Dunmore East. Frank Scallan describes the agreement as a complete sell-out. Mick Orpen says that the fishermen were looking for a 12 mile fishing limit and do not agree with the 10 year transitional period which is part of the agreement.
They are hoping to meet with the Irish Federation of Fishery Cooperatives to initiate some positive actions.
The skippers were unanimous in their disapproval of the terms.
Teddy O'Shea from Killybegs and Brian Cromey from Dun Laoghaire are both members of Irish Federation of Fishery Cooperatives and are not happy with the terms of the agreement. They are not hopeful about any changes being made to the agreement but are determined not give up without a fight.
This episode of 'Seven Days' was broadcast on 17 December 1971. The reporter is Rodney Rice.