Ritchie calls for funding for the fishing fleet

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South Down MP Margaret Ritchie MP has asked the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, for the provision of funding for the renewing and replacing of fishing fleets.

The MP for South Down stated: “South Down is an area that boasts an abundance of fishing communities with Ardglass and Kilkeel ports. Fishing fleets are essentially the wheels that keep the fishing industry here turning. However due to general usage and age of vessels fishermen often find that repairs and replacement of fleets is required. This can prove costly to many and as such, can have a negative impact on the local fishing industry.

“Therefore I believe that the provision of money and a Programme for Government commitment to the provision of funding for the renewing and replacement of fishing fleets is very much needed. Money is provided for some improvements to fishing vessels through the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, and whilst this is beneficial, dedicated money needs to be identified by the Minister with responsibility for Fisheries to ensure that vessels are enabled to be replaced on an ongoing rolling schedule of work.

“I have written to the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to pursue this important funding scheme. I have also put forward the suggestion that this could be a special scheme.”