By Oona Colin | Photo: Michael Hussey (YoughalOnline.com)
Youghal Fisherman Barry Clohessy
Local fisherman Barry Clohessy is outraged with the Department of Marine for ignoring the seal damage to his livelihood. Seals are a protected species in this country but the damage they are doing to nets and the living of the local fishermen is shocking.
Since 2007 Salmon fishing has been banned in these parts because stocks were down. Now the seals that used to feed on the salmon in the nets are now moving inshore and attacking the monkfish caught in the nets.
“The seals are ruining inshore fishing,” says Barry “they are feeding on monkfish, pollack and any kind of whitefish because of the ban on salmon fishing. The seals used to feed on the salmon in the nets but it wasn’t so bad then, as there were other fish in the sea, so to speak.”
With a lot of the fish being eaten by seals these days, most fishermen are left with no choice but to fish for lobsters, which has lead to the drop in prices where at one time they were getting €17 a kilo now they are only getting €10!”
Barry adds “I reckon they should be a cull on the seals, like they do in other countries, in my mind that is the only solution. If I were a farmer and a dog attacked my herd I would have a right to shoot the dog but we are not allowed to touch the seals as they are protected. How is a man to feed his family?”
Out of the 51 monkfish that Barry caught that day, only 7 were whole while the remaining had only their heads left because of the seals that ravaged their bodies.