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Mermaids at Leinster House as protest calls for end to overfishing

“The oceans are dying before our eyes – we should be doing everything we can to reverse this situation before it is too late.”

Image: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

“MINISTER CREED, uphold the law, save our seas, end overfishing now.”

This was the message environmental activists outside Leinster House had for the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed this afternoon as they called on him to adhere to the EU’s fishery policy and eliminate overfishing.

The joint protest by Extinction Rebellion Ireland and the Irish Wildlife Trust featured a large fishing net at the gates of Leinster House and two mermaids, activists Ceara Carney and Leah Rossiter.

Protesters pointed out that the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) stipulates that by 2020 catch limits should be sustainable and maintain fish stocks in the long-term.

“Yet, on the eve of this deadline, the Irish government appears to have no plans to end business as usual when it comes to overfishing,” the campaigners said today.

They said when Minister Creed travels to Brussels to carve up fishing quotas with other leaders, “his negotiating must reflect the climate and biodiversity emergency declared by the Dáil in May of this year”.

“Overfishing at current levels takes a terrible toll on fish populations, marine life, and on the ocean’s ability to sequester carbon and thus help slow down global warming,” they said.

“Ireland has continuously been identified as among the worst nations for negotiating fish catches above scientific advice on sustainable limits.”

According to the Marine Institute, more than half of commercially exploited fish populations are hunted above sustainable limits, while as many as eight are recommended to be shut down completely (including for herring, cod, haddock and whiting in various parts of the seas around Ireland). 

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

The Common Fisheries Policy also promised to end the atrociously wasteful practice of dumping dead marine life back into the sea (known as discarding) however this continues unabated.

The Irish Wildlife Trust’s campaigns officer Pádraig Fogarty said Ireland “should be mortified at our deteriorating reputation for managing the seas around us”.

“The oceans are dying before our eyes – we should be doing everything we can to reverse this situation before it is too late.”

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