Case for Small Scale Fishermen made in Brussels

Published: March 8, 2017
Categories: News Article

Donegal film screened in European Parliament

‘A Turning Tide in the Life of Man’, a film which follows an ordinary fisherman John O’Brien on an extraordinary 8 year journey from Árainn Mhór in Co. Donegal to the European Parliament and European Commission offices in Brussels, was screened in the European Parliament last night and hosted by Marian.  The film was made in a quest to safeguard the rights of small scale fishermen in the context of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.  

Marian said: “John’s journey is an incredible one which highlights how ordinary people can influence what happens at EU level and how they can have an impact on EU legislation. Since 2006, islanders from the communities of Árainn Mhór, Inis Bo Finne and Tory Island in Donegal together with experts from around the world, have been working on common documents and actions that will help them to survive Government-led policies, and allowed them to participate in the writing of new reform of the Common Fisheries Policy which was put in place in 2014 for all European countries.

“The film follows one fisherman’s voice John O’Brien as he represents his community in talks with MEP’s, the European Commissioner for Fisheries, TD’s and Ministers. John also met with other island communities across Europe and worked with international NGO’s and on his journey convinced many of those he met of the need to support small fishermen, island fishermen and indigenous coastal communities throughout the European Union.

“I was delighted to be able to host John O’Brien and his wife Mary in the Parliament for the screening of the film. John’s message is that small fishermen need to be supported for their endeavours to maintain sustainable fisheries for themselves and their communities, For the first time the Common fisheries Policy specifically recognises the role of small fishers and this is largely due to John’s intervention.

“However the Common Fisheries Policy gives Member States the flexibility to put these supports for small-scale fishing in place and now it is up to the Dáil Eireann to deliver. More than once John spoke of the tendency to ‘blame Brussels’ when in fact the decision was taken in Dublin not Brussels’.

“A commitment was given by the Irish MEP’s who were present to work together both at European Union and national level to assist small scale fishers.

“There is a new organisation established at European level called LIFE which is an umbrella organisation run by fishers for fishers. LIFE is a strong voice for small scale, low impact fishers in Europe and will continue the work started by John and his community”, she concluded.