Razor shell fishing off Fingal must be monitored: call
RENEWED calls for regulations to control razor shell fishing off the Fingal coastline, and for proper monitoring of this industry, have been made by a Portmarnock councillor.
Cllr Peter Coyle (Lab) has said there’s major public concern about the environmental damage caused by unlicensed boats, using a sea-bed dredging system.
The seabed off some areas of Fingal, most notably Portmarnock, is rich in various shellfish including a variety of clams, cockles, and starfish. And there’s a lucrative market for razor shellfish in Japan.
‘After dredging, all the unwanted products are discarded and very often washed up on the coast. These are washed up on the beach and with tidal conditions collect at the northern end of the beach and rot,’ said Cllr Coyle.
This then causes putrid smells affecting the coastal areas of Portmarnock and Malahide. As well as this the water quality is affected.
Although six boats only are licensed to operate off Howth, up to 11 boats have been witnessed off Portmarnock beach, claimed Cllr Coyle.
‘With the large-scale fishing carried out in recent months the damage done to the sea-life has been severe and unsustainable for the long term,’ he said.
In a reply to a recent parliamentary question put by Labour’s Spokesman on the Marine, Deputy Tommy Broughan, the new Junior Minister, Mr John Browne, said that a razor clam Local Advisory Committee is to be established in the near future.
This will be facilitated by Bord Iascaigh Mhara and will seek to develop a sustainable management framework for the fishery.
Mr Browne said that harvesting of razor shells is subject to legislative controls and inspectorate staff also carry out periodic inspections of fishing activity in this area to ensure that harvesting activities are being undertaken in accordance with the prevailing regulations.
However, Cllr Coyle said that problem is that the Department of the Marine has no control system in place.
He called for immediate emergency action to be carried out to address the problem in the short term.
The matter is particularly important for the coming summer months, he said.
29/03/2006 Fingal Independent