Co Cork fishermen who managed to disrupt Russian navy plans to carry out military exercises in January say they plan to prevent a French military exercise due to take place later this week.
In a statement this evening, the CEO of Ireland’s Southern and Western Fish Producers Organization, Patrick Murphy, said they were calling on the Irish and French governments to move the planned drills outside the economic zone Exclusive Irish EEZ.
Mr Murphy said they were discussing plans to demonstrate peacefully near where the military exercises were to take place.
“We understand that the live fire exercise cannot take place if our vessels are engaged in fishing in the area, so we are discussing a plan with our vessel owners and captains to stage a peaceful protest again. in our traditional fishing grounds near the proposed military exercise area,” he said.
Mr Murphy said military sonar and live missile launches had the potential to severely disrupt the annual fish migration route and interrupt the breeding season of mackerel and other species.
The French military action coincides with the opening to Irish vessels of the albacore tuna fishery on 23 June.
“It would be infinitely preferable if these naval exercises were stopped as a sign (that) we in Europe are peaceful and not looking to escalate current tensions, but at the very least they should be moved further south in the waters, well in out of the EEZ, beyond our 200 mile limit and away from the men and women who sail their boats in our fishing area,” Mr. Murphy said.