RAZOR FISH STINK
Unlicensed razor-shell boat off Portmarnock
AN UNLICENSED razor-shell fishing boat has been found off the coast of Portmarnock by an inspector of the Department of the Marine.
Since a call from a local councillor several months ago to have razor-shell fishing banned off Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand, department inspectors have inspected three razor-shell fishing boats in the area.
Two were found to have the proper licence, while one boat was found to be unlicensed.
The unlicensed boat will be the subject of further action by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.
Last year, Cllr Peter Coyle (Lab) called for a ban on razor-shell fishing in the area and said the practice was causing serious environmental damage to Portmarnock Beach.
Razor-shell fishing is a type of fishing that involves scraping and dredging the sea bed to collect shellfish and has been an ongoing problem off the Portmarnock coast for a number of years.
The problem with razor-shell fishing according to Cllr Coyle, is that waste from the dredging process is spewed out from the fishing vessels and washed up on the coast.
Plant and fish life end up washed onto Portmarnock beach, near the Sands Hotel and starfish are particularly vulnerable, according to Cllr Coyle.
In previous years Cllr Coyle said the plant and fish life washed up on the beach would rot and begin to ‘smell like sewerage.’
At the latest meeting of the Malahide/Howth Area Committee, Cllr Coyle asked for an update from the council’s Environment Department on the issue.
The Environment Department had written to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources outlining the councillor’s concerns on the issue and the department had followed up with the boat inspections off Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand.
The council’s Environment Department has also requested that central government make funding available to the council for beach clean-ups that are made necessary by the licensing of razor-shell fishing.
Cllr Coyle however, wants the department to go further and to stop licensing boats in the area, effectively banning razor-shell fishing in Portmarnock.
A further update on the issue will be made available to the councillors on the Malahide/Howth Area Committee once a reply to the council’s letter to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, has been received.
By John Manning
Fingal Independent 14/01/2006