Seanad Éireann - Volume 46 - 18 July, 1956
Sea Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 1956 (Certified Money Bill) —Second and Subsequent Stages.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. O. Flanagan) Oliver J. Flanagan
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. O. Flanagan): The purpose of this Bill is to increase to £1,000,000 the present overall limit of advances that may be made to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara from the Central Fund which was set at £500,000 by  Section 18 of the Sea Fisheries Act, 1952, the Act by which the board was established.
Up to 31st March, 1956, advances totalling £431,612 had been made to the board and the balance of £68,388 then remaining would be altogether inadequate for foreseeable requirements from the Central Fund, even in the current financial year.
A broad outline of the use to which the advances made to the board up to 31st March, 1956, have been put will acquaint Senators with the nature of the enterprises the board engages in and proposes to continue.
On the catching end of the fishing industry, something over £320,000 was expended by the board on the provision of boats and gear to fishermen on hire-purchase terms, £60,000 was spent on purchase of three offshore fishing vessels operated directly by the board and £13,000 on the purchase of engines for exploratory and training vessels proposed to be built. On the distributive end some £26,000 was spent on the establishment of a processing station at Killybegs for the production of quick-frozen and smoked fish and for fishmeal manufacture on a pilot scale and £11,500 was devoted to the purchase of insulated transport and the improvement of boat-yards, marketing depots and office premises.
Grants to an aggregate amount of £11,110 have also been provided through the Fisheries Vote towards the cost of some of these projects in view of the element of pioneering effort involved and of the consequential unlikelihood of its being possible to repay the cost in full from operational results. The addition to our fleet under the hire-purchase system I mentioned of boats of modern design and efficiency is resulting in a marked improvement in the supply of demersal fish (i.e. fish other than herrings and mackerel) which includes the varieties mostly required for the consumer market. Similarly the shore development works carried out have proved of great advantage in the expansion of the board's marketing business as appears from the fact that the sales of all  classes of fish in the past financial year amounted to 161,377 cwt., valued at £447,342, compared with 107,983 cwt., valued at £414,006, in the preceding year. This expansion has had the beneficial effect, too, that the board has been able to dispose of increasing quantities of fish at local centres whereas formerly almost all the landings were transferred to the Dublin and Cork wholesale markets for sale. In the financial year 1955-56 sales at the depots established at Killybegs, Dingle, Limerick and Galway came to close on £80,000.
The position of the sea-fishing industry now is that the first stage in development has been almost completed, that is the catching efforts of our own fishermen are now sufficient for the supply of home demand for fresh fish at the existing level. The next stage towards the full exploitation and development of the sea-fishing industry should be marked by a still further increase in the catching power and, correspondingly, the creation of additional outlets chief among which would be the expansion of home consumer demand, employing processing methods to improve distribution and the utilisation of heavy landings of fish such as herrings and mackerel for the production of fishmeal. In this connection, a provisional advance programme of shore development works to be spread over the next five years has been submitted to me by the board and suitable financial provision has been made for that part of the programme approved for the current financial year.
The total estimated cost of carrying out this programme is put at some £377,000 but in view of the possibility of labour cost and commodity price increases this figure must be taken to represent an order of cost of the proposals rather than a firm estimate. About £160,000 of the total cost may be provided as grant, thus leaving the estimated requirements to be met by way of advances from the Central Fund at, say, £220,000. The present rate of supply of boats to fishermen under the board's hire-purchase scheme which it is intended should be maintained for some years to come, calls  for issues from Central Fund at the rate of £115,000 a year. It is essential, therefore, to provide for issues of a further sum of £500,000 for the execution of the board's proposals for shore installations and the issue of boats and gear to fishermen. This sum will, I expect, be adequate to provide for the board's requirements by way of advances for a further period of about four years from 1st April, 1956. Our fishery resources can undoubtedly sustain much more intensive fishing effort with adequate return to the fishermen and before the end of the period mentioned I hope to be in a position to review further substantial progress by the sea-fishing industry and to outline plans for still greater development of this growingly important feature of the national economy.
Éamon Ó Cíosáin Éamon Ó Cíosáin
Éamon Ó Cíosáin: Tá cosúlacht idir an Bille seo agus an Bille do chuireamar tríd cúpla nómataí ó shin mar sé atá i gceist sa mBille so agus sa mBille úd ná go gcuirfear a thuilleadh airgid ar fáil chun go gcuirfí an tionscal ar a bonn níos fearr. Níl aon amhras ná gur tionscal tábhachtach é seo, tionscal na hiascaireachta, agus cé gur tugadh cabhair agus cabhair mhaith don tionscal i rith na mblianta, mar sin féin ní dóigh liom gur féidir a rá go bhfuil an tionscal san ag obair chomh fónta is ba mhaith liom. Sé atá i gceist anseo ná go méadófaí an méid airgid a bheidh le fáil i bhfoirm iasachtaí don Bhord Iascaigh Mhara ó £500,000 go dtí £1,000,000 agus, fé mar adúramar nuair a bhí an Bille eile os ár gcomhair, rud tábhachtach sea é seo leis, chomh maith leis na scéimeanna seo a bhí i gceist sa mBille eile. Sé sin freastal níos fearr a dhéanamh ar na daoine atá ag tuilleamh a mbeatha as an iascaireacht.
There seems to be only one main consideration involved in this measure; that is, the increase in the amount to be given in advances to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara from £500,000 to £1,000,000. With that proposal I am in entire agreement because I realise the importance of the fishing industry to the people and especially to those who are engaged in fishing pursuits around our coasts. Anything that will  tend to develop our fisheries in a satisfactory way should, I think, meet with the approval of all those who are really interested in the industry.
The Parliamentary Secretary gave us some outline of the growth of the fishing industry in recent years. It is satisfactory to note that we can now supply the home consumer market with fresh fish from our own home catches. The difficulty that appears to me to exist in that connection is in the distribution of fresh fish, because those of us who have experience of the actual fishing areas know that sometimes, even within what one might describe as easy reach of the actual fish-catching centres, it is very often impossible to get fresh fish. I do not know whether that is due to faulty organisation. I cannot say to what it is due, but it is sometimes easier for the people in Dublin to get fresh fish than it is for people living in areas contiguous to the actual fishing centres. That is a question I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to examine and see if there could be a better and more satisfactory system of distribution.
The additional amount of money for which authority is being sought is £500,000. This money is to be made available to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara. There could be divergent views as to the best way in which this money could be spent, but I think the one thing that is crying out for consideration and for proper action, at the present time, is the protection of our fisheries around the coast. We have had many experiences of cases in which foreign trawlers come in, apparently inside territorial waters, and actually destroy the nets and gear of the poor fishermen. I exhort the Parliamentary Secretary and the Department of Fisheries to pay special attention to that problem, so that the necessary protection will be made available to the fishermen.
After all, fishing along the sea coast is a hazardous pursuit, and now, not merely have the fishermen to cope with the hazards of the sea but they have to take cognisance of this other hazard that stares them in the face—inroads and encroachment on their preserves and their property by foreign trawlers. We had a case of it quite recently.  Attention was drawn to it in the Press and elsewhere. It occurs to me that the problem has presented itself now in such a way that it should be regarded as one of extreme urgency.
The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the fish processing industry at Killybegs and it is gratifying to know that progress is being made in connection with that. There is still scope for further development in that fish processing industry and it is to be expected that the same idea of fish processing will be implemented in other fishing centres.
I do not know if we would be at liberty to discuss many aspects of the fishing industry in connection with this Bill. I, for one, do not propose to widen the discussion, but there is one thing further that I should like to refer to, that is, the provision of boats for the fishermen. Many people engaged in the fishing industry are of the opinion that a lot more could be done in the direction of providing suitable boats and gear. I know that a good deal has been done down through the years. A lot of good work was done by the first body set up, the Sea Fisheries Association, which was superseded by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
The complaint that the fishermen always had was that the rate of deposit on loans for fishing boats was too high. I know, of course, that the deposit rate was reduced, but there is still a belief that it is too high, although, of course, it could be argued, as it was argued here to-day in connection with another measure, that capital is so dear now that this is not the time to look for a further decrease in the rates of deposit on issues for the purchase of fishing boats. Still, I submit that the fishermen are in a category all by themselves and, in many cases, those engaged in the fishing industry are native Irish speakers. Their case should not be dealt with purely on economic lines. They deserve special consideration, and I think there is a sufficient amount of goodwill in the country to-day to fortify the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary in giving more generous treatment to the  fisherman in relation to the provision of boats and gear than is now the case.
On another occasion, when the Ministry for the Gaeltacht was being set up here, I referred to the question of the initial expenditure on fishing boats and I suggested that, where it is established that the crew of a fishing boat is an entirely Irish speaking crew, the boat should be provided for these people without any initial cost to them. That would be one way of encouraging the preservation of the Irish language. That matter, I understand, has been given consideration and I think it will now be the policy, under the Department of Agriculture or the new Gaeltacht Department, to make these boats available to the Irish speaking crews without any initial expenditure by the crews.
I do not want to delay the House with a long discussion on how the fishing industry in this country should be developed or anything like that, but I am in agreement with and prepared to support the proposal that the amount to be provided for financing An Bord Iascaigh Mhara be increased from £500,000 to £1,000,000. Having regard to the value of money at the present time, I do not think that anyone can cavil at that increase.
Professor Stanford Professor Stanford
Professor Stanford: I should like to make one very brief comment on this Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary has merely directed our attention to the catching of fish. He is not likely, I am sure, nor is his Department likely, to ignore the importance of selling the fish. That is ultimately the main problem. It is the main problem for the taxpayer as well as for the consumer. The better we sell our fish, the less this board and its work will cost the taxpayers.
I should like to emphasise that there is considerable dissatisfaction at present, certainly in the City of Dublin, about the price of fish. I will not try to give lengthy examples of the cause of this dissatisfaction. I will, however, quote one example from to-day's newspapers. In a letter in to-day's Irish Times, it is stated that herrings are selling at 3/6 a stone in the wholesale  market but the buyer in the retail shops has to pay the equivalent of 14/- a stone. The consumer has to pay four times the wholesale price. Somewhere between the wholesaler and the consumer there is someone making a 300 per cent. profit. I simply say to the Parliamentary Secretary that as long as that kind of profit is being made, his board will not be successful in selling their fish satisfactorily. I would add that the citizens of Dublin will not have complete confidence in the Department or the board, unless they do something to improve that situation.
I am not going to dwell at length on this, because I think the facts speak for themselves. I would, however, urge the Parliamentary Secretary to continue to give his attention to the selling end of the industry. Unless the price of fish to the consumer can be brought down, I am afraid the best efforts of the Parliamentary Secretary, and they have been good efforts, are certain to fail. I wonder could the Parliamentary Secretary give us any explanation of the fact that the buyer in the retail shops has to pay for fish four times what it costs on the wholesale market.
Further, could the Parliamentary Secretary tell us how much per stone these herrings are likely to fetch on the boats? In other words, can he tell us how much the wholesaler is paying and what is the ratio between the price from the boats, the price from the market, and the price in the shops. Perhaps he could not give us that immediately, but I would urge him to go into this question of the ratio between the price from the boats, the price in the wholesale market and the price which we, the consumers, unfortunately, have to pay.
Liam Ó Buachalla Liam Ó Buachalla
Liam Ó Buachalla: Tá áthas orainn ar fad an dea-thuairisc d'fháil ón Rúnaí Parlaiminte faoin bhforfhás atá tagtha ar thionscal na h-iascaireachta mara ó ritheadh Acht 1952. Is Bille é seo áfach a mba mhaith liom trácht a dhéanamh air mar gheall ar chomh tábhachtach agus tá an iascaireacht mhara ó thaobh gheilleagair agus tráchtáil na tíre. Níl an t-am againn  chuige sin agus ar an ábhar sin caithfidh mé bheith sásta pointe amháin a phlé.
Is trua liom nach ndearna an Rúnaí Parlaiminte aon tagairt don scrios atá á dhéanamh ag na h-iascairí coigríche ar an iascaireacht Éireannaigh agus ar ghoireas agus ar threallamh na n-iascairí Éireannacha. Caithfidh, mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Ciosáin, gur chuala an Rúnaí Parlaiminte i dtaobh an mhísc seo, go mór-mhór faoi nithe áirithe a tharla le gairid ar aghaidh chósta na Gaillimhe amach.
Támuid ar fad ag iarraidh ar na h-iascairí an tionscal a neartú agus d'fheabhsú—ar mhaithe leo fhéin agus ar mhaithe leis an ngeilleagar náisiúnta go h-áirithe. Le cúpla bliain bhí cúrsaí teicniúla ar bun ag Cill Rónáin in Inis Mór, d'aon turas chun na daoine óga a mhealladh le dul isteach sa tionscal agus le oiliúint a thabhairt dóibh ar sheoltóireacht, ar innealltoireacht, ar dheasú agus déanamh eangacha agus ar nithe eile a bhaineas go díreach le ceird na h-iascaireachta. Tá abairt sa nGaeilge “lámh le milleadh agus lámh le tarrtháil.” Is baolach gur mar sin atá an scéal, i nGaillimh go háirithe. Tá Coisde Oideachais Gairme Beatha Chontae na Gaillimhe ag cur cúrsaí teicnicúla ar bun agus tá na h-iascairí óga ag teacht chuig na cúrsaí sin. Ach an túisce a chuireas na h-iascairí chun oibre, tagann na báid choigríche agus scriosann siad a gcuid eangacha— agus níl cosaint le fáil acu ón Roinn Iascaigh ná ón Roinn Cosanta.
An té a léigh óráid an Teachta Mhic Pharthaláin sa Dáil an tseachtain seo caite, ní fhéadfadh sé gan áird a thabhairt ar an moladh ciallmhar a rinne sé i dtaobh na ceiste seo. Mhol sé go gcuirfí caoi ar cheann nó dó de na báid mhóra chruaí atá ag an Roinn ionas go mbeidís i ndon, am ar bith ar ghá é, na h-iascairí Éireannacha a chosaint. Is léir nach féidir do na cúrsóirí—na Corvettes—atá againn bheith ins gach áit; ní féidir leo an cósta ar fad a chosaint—is cósta an-fhada é. Cósta na Gaillimhe fhéin tá sé suas le 400 míle ar fhaid. Ó tá na báid aige chuige, iarraim ar an Rúnaí Parlaiminte an cheist seo  ar fad a scrúdú agus rud éigin dearbhach a dhéanamh faoi. Tá an ceart ag na h-iascairí an chosaint seo d'fháil. Ná ceiltear feasta ortha í.
Mr. O'Gorman Mr. O'Gorman
Mr. O'Gorman: I have listened with very great attention to the various speakers and I am in complete agreement with what Senator Kissane and Senator Ó Buachalla have stated, coming as I do from the south coast of Ireland, which is renowned as one of the finest fishing centres in Europe. I should like to pay a tribute to the Parliamentary Secretary. Since assuming office in that Department, he has visited the South of Ireland on a few occasions and he has had heart-toheart talks with the fishermen in various localities down there. He has listened attentively to their grievances and helped them in a few matters. We Irish people, it can be truthfully said, are not a fish-eating people and I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary and to the Press, that the people should be urged to eat more fish. There is nothing more annoying or distressing than seeing vast catches of mackerel, herrings or various other types of fish, arriving at a port or harbour with no demand for them. I understand a new fishmeal factory is being set up in County Donegal and that there is some talk of building another one in West Cork. That would benefit all the fishermen on the southern coast.
Everyone who was born close to the sea will agree that there is no more hazardous occupation than the life of the fisherman. They have to get their livelihood from toiling at sea and often their catches are very small and do not compensate for the danger and risks they run. The point has already been made by other speakers that where fishermen apply for help for boats, they should get every consideration. In my own county, from February until about the middle of July, on the Blackwater and at Youghal, there is some of the finest salmon fishing. This year the fishing was very bad and the only thing which gave the fisherman a meagre livelihood was the price of fish. I know the Parliamentary Secretary cannot be blamed for that, but where fishermen apply for a loan to  purchase a boat, it should be given to them at the lowest possible rate of interest.
There is a good living to be made out of the sea. We have all heard of the “golden harvest” which is seen when corn is ripening in the country. The same thing happens in the sea, where there is a silver harvest. Fishing provides a good livelihood for many people and I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to do his utmost for them in any way in which he can help them. As I have said already, we are not a fish-eating people, but I do think that, through the Press and otherwise, we should urge the people to eat more fish. We all know that very little fresh fish is obtainable in some of the hotels on the road to Dublin, through the Midlands.
Poaching by foreign trawlers around our coast is a source of constant annoyance. At certain periods of the year, particularly in September, you will see, along Ballycotton, Youghal and Ardmore and towards the coast of Waterford and Kerry, twinkling lights at night which are the lights of foreign trawlers. I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary would bring to the notice of those responsible for safe-guarding the interests of our fishermen, and particularly the Department of Defence, that they should have a patrol moving around the coast more frequently. I feel certain that the Parliamentary Secretary will in the future, as he has done heretofore, meet the fishermen in every way possible.
Mr. Crosbie Mr. Crosbie
Mr. Crosbie: We have had a very interesting discussion on this Bill. We had the Parliamentary Secretary on the catching end; we had some interesting remarks from Senator Kissane, and we have heard Senator Stanford on the marketing of fish. May I intervene very briefly on the building end, because this Bill does provide money for the building of boats?
I should like to draw the Parliamentary Secretary's attention to this: I hope that the money spent on building boats will be more evenly spread and that it will not be concentrated on one particular area. We have in this country probably the best designer and builder of small boats in the world in  the town of Arklow. I know that work has gone to that yard for the building of fishing boats because one can recognise an Arklow built boat anywhere; but I should also like to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that in Cork Harbour, at Crosshaven, there is a very fine shipyard for the building of small boats and there are some first-rate shipwrights employed in that yard. I hope that in future a certain amount of the Department's work in boat building will go in that direction, so that these men may be kept in employment. Shipwrights are not by any means two a penny nowadays. Like many other crafts, it is a craft that is rather inclined to disappear, and it would be a great pity indeed if what few shipwrights we have left around our coasts were not provided with suitable employment.
Mr. O. Flanagan Mr. O. Flanagan
Mr. O. Flanagan: I appreciate very much the very valuable expressions of opinion that Senators have given on this Bill. One of the main reasons why I value expressions of opinion such as these is that some people thought it rather strange that one who comes from the Midlands of Ireland should be in charge of Fisheries. I come from a part of the country where fishing boats are never seen and where fish is seldom seen, and when I assumed office two years ago I found myself in the position that I had to familiarise myself with conditions relating to every aspect of the fishing industry. I felt the only way I could do that was, first of all, to visit every fishing port in this country. Shortly after assuming the responsibility I now hold, I undertook that task, and I visited most of the fishing centres around our coast. I felt that one way in which I could vastly improve my knowledge of the industry was by meeting the people primarily concerned with it. Therefore, the first people I endeavoured to meet were the fishermen themselves. I felt that, if we could have a contented group of fishermen, that in itself would be an outstanding aid to the further development of the fishing industry.
When meeting the fishermen in all the fishing ports. I invited their views on the various aspects of the industry.  I felt that, meeting them, hearing their problems and their expressions of view would be a considerable help to me in the discharge of my duties. I found that, because I did visit most of the fishing centres, I was in a position to be of some help and some value to fishermen.
What Senator O'Gorman said is quite true. A fisherman's life is an extremely difficult life. He is deprived completely of all the enjoyments of home life that are enjoyed by most of us in other walks of life. Whether we are members of professions, whether we are attached to the Civil Service, whether we are associated with trades or whether we are engaged in business, we do not have to take the risks the fishermen take. I have always had great admiration for fishermen because I thought that to be a fisherman required great courage and skill. There are more risks attached to being a fisherman than to any other profession or walk of life. The fisherman depends upon the weather; he depends upon the sea. Only a few weeks ago, we read with regret of two of our fishermen who met their deaths off the Kerry coast. That serves to bring home to us the dangers associated with the lives of fishermen and the necessity for the great courage and great skill shown by them.
I quite agree that it is most important, before we start asking the people to eat more fish and before we commence a publicity campaign in relation to fish, to make sure that we have the fish. I am glad to say we have now reached the stage where we can supply at the existing level all the fish required for the home market. That is due to the manner in which the board provided our fishermen with boats and first-class equipment of the most modern design.
I think Senator Kissane made reference to the fact that he felt boats should be provided for our fishermen on more generous terms. It is necessary for them to put down a deposit of 10 per cent. of the cost of the boat; but I feel that, when the State is prepared to take the risk of the other 90 per cent. without any other security  whatever, it is meeting the fishermen fairly generously. I do not know of any other scheme whereby a boat—and remember a boat is a most expensive commodity to-day—is provided on a deposit of 10 per cent. and the State is prepared to take the risk of the remaining 90 per cent. of the total cost of that boat.
Senator Kissane also referred to the provision of boats for Irish-speaking districts. I remember announcing the Gaeltacht boat scheme in Caherciveen some 18 months ago. Something in the region of £18,000 was allocated by the Government from the National Development Fund for the provision of boats for Irish-speaking districts. That scheme has been in operation for the past 18 months. No deposit is necessary for a boat under the Gaeltacht boat scheme and quite recently one of these boats was handed over and is at present fishing into Teelin in Donegal. We hope to have another of these boats available for handing over at an early date.
It must be borne in mind, however, that one cannot build boats overnight. From the commencement of operations until the boat is completed is approximately 12 months. I agree with what Senator Kissane has said about providing boats in the Irish-speaking districts. Conditions governing the provision of boats in these districts are laid down in the scheme. It is stipulated that the crew must be entirely Irish-speaking. In addition to that, they must fish into a port which is part of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht.
I hope to be in a position to make further boats available as soon as possible. We have applicants from the Connemara Gaeltacht; we have applicants from Helvic; and we have applicants from the Kerry Gaeltacht as well. I am doing everything I possibly can to expedite delivery of the boats, so that Irish-speaking fishermen in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht will be guaranteed a good livelihood in the Gaeltacht. We will do our part in supplying the boats. It is up to them to do the rest.
With reference to the distribution of fish, first of all we must have the fish.  When we have the fish, we can examine the marketing end of it. I have asked the board to examine this matter and I know that they have been actively engaged for some time past in setting up depots in various parts of the country for the distribution of fish. Reference was made to-day by, I think, Senator Kissane to the fact that people in fishing districts cannot obtain supplies of fish when such supplies are readily obtainable in Dublin. When I entered the Fisheries Branch, one of the first questions I asked was how it was that there appeared to be a real scarcity of fish in certain areas? I know that in areas like Youghal, close to Ballycotton, and in parts of Sligo, not very far from Killybegs, there is a shortage of fish while, at the same time, fish is available in Dublin City. The reason fish is available in Dublin is that the price is good and the fish follow the price. If there were satisfactory prices in other areas, then the fish would go into those areas. Of course, it is practically impossible for these other areas to pay the prices that prevail in Dublin and naturally the fishermen will not send their supplies to be marketed in those areas.
I am in full agreement with the views expressed as to the protection of our fisheries. I am very interested in this matter, because my attention has been directed to a number of outstanding grievances in this regard. Time and again, I have been in touch with the Department of Defence. As Senators are aware, the Department of Defence is responsible for the protection of our fisheries. I know that the corvettes are limited in number and they cannot be expected to provide 100 per cent. protection, but they are doing their best. However, I have asked them to do even more than their best.
To-day, I replied to a question in the Dáil in connection with a case which occurred within the past week or ten days. As Senators are aware, we endeavour in the Fisheries Branch to trace the owner of the foreign vessel and, having traced the owner, we endeavour to see as far as possible that compensation is paid for any damage done. We endeavour to ensure that full compensation is paid to any fisherman  whose nets are destroyed or whose property is damaged in any way. I have noted very carefully the observations of Senators with regard to fishery protection and I undertake to take the matter up again with the Minister for Defence to see what more can be done, in view of the strong plea put forward here to-day both by Senator Kissane and Senator Ó Buachalla.
Senator Stanford raised the question of the price of fish. He said that prices in Dublin are too high. He instanced the difference between the wholesale price and the retail price; he quoted the extraordinary difference there is. Prices are not a matter for the Fisheries Branch. We do not control prices and we cannot, therefore, regulate prices. There is very little we can do about prices. It must be borne in mind that the price of fish is usually based on one day's business and the overheads are consequently very high. It is not possible for me to give the Senator any satisfactory reply to the query he addressed to me this afternoon. I will undertake to look into the matter and satisfy myself in the matter. Again, let me remind the House that the question of prices is not one for the Fisheries Branch and there is very little we can do about it.
With regard to supplies of fish which cannot be disposed of, my attention has on a few occasions been directed to such a state of affairs. It is my aim and ambition to ensure that no fisherman will ever have to dump back into the sea one single fish that he has taken out of it. It is deplorable that in the past fishermen have had to resort to that device, a poor return indeed for their work, their skill, their courage and their industry. Instead of receiving a remunerative price or some return for their catch, they were forced to dump it back into the sea. I can assure Senators that that will not happen again.
That is one of the reasons why I have asked the board to embark upon the provision of fishmeal plants on a large scale. The fishmeal factory in Killybegs, established more or less as  an experimental pilot plant, has proved a success and, as a result of the operations of that plant, very valuable information and experience have been gained. I am glad to say a group of private individuals have now decided to establish a large scale fishmeal factory near Killybegs. The board will consider the question of setting up fishmeal factories in other areas around the coast and that will ensure that no fisherman will have to dump his fish back into the sea. There will be a market for every single fish caught.
That is my aim. That is the aim of the board. Those are the lines along which we are travelling. We want to ensure that there will be no question of loss so far as our fishermen are concerned and I am principally and primarily concerned with ensuring that our fishermen will have a good living and are adequately paid for their labour. Fishermen themselves, and the advancement and promotion of the industry as far as they are concerned, are what I am concerned with.
This Bill is asking for approval for a further £500,000 so that the board may continue with the good work of advancing the interests of the fishing industry and endeavouring to bring about an increased measure of prosperity in that respect; so that the board may have further funds available for the erection of ice plants, for the opening of distribution depots and for the extension, if necessary, of our boatyards, for the building of further boats and the provision of more gear and for the speeding up of the advance of the fishing industry on a much quicker scale to a sound future. The board has an extensive programme in mind and at the end of four years, we hope to be able to look back on a period of proud achievement.
Since its setting up under the Sea Fisheries Act of 1952, An Bord Iascaigh Mhara has done a marvellous job of work. I feel that, when we look back on the great amount of good work done for the fishing industry on the limited sum of £500,000, we can assure ourselves that, if the same progress is made in the next four years with a further £500,000, we will be able to look  upon the fishing industry as an industry we can be proud of.
I have noted carefully the observations of Senators in the debate and if I have not fully replied to these observations, I will bear them in mind and have them examined. I can assure Senators that any time they have a problem in relation to the Department of Fisheries, the knob of my office door is ready to their hands. I am always prepared to listen and to be taught, and that is why I like discussing these problems with people who probably know more about them than I do. If Senators have any problems, I want to assure them that they are very welcome to bring them to me. I am prepared to listen to their problems and to do what I possibly can to help them in every way.
Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining stages to-day.
Bill put through Committee; reported without recommendation; received for final consideration; and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.
Seanad Éireann 46 Sea Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 1956 (Certified Money Bill) —Second and Subsequent Stages.