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Fisheries (EU Legislation)

Volume 518: debated on Wednesday 10 November 2010

10. What assessment he has made of the effects on the Northern Ireland fishing fleet of the operation of EU legislation on working time; and if he will make a statement. (22157)

Responsibilities here are divided: fisheries generally are a devolved matter, but the UK Government have led on aspects of the EU working time directive as it applies to fishing vessels.

EU legislation includes a fundamental right to work. What steps has the Minister taken with his European counterparts to ensure that the fishermen of Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeen, who have had their days at sea restricted, have a right to work?

I understand that Diane Dodds and other Northern Ireland MEPs are working hard to address some of the difficulties experienced by the fishing industry in Northern Ireland, particularly in relation to the matter that the hon. Gentleman raises. I must stress though that fishing matters are partly devolved. None the less, I undertake to look into the matter, write to the hon. Gentleman in due course and put a copy of the letter in the Library.