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Irish Times: Shell plan to restock lobsters rejected

By: Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent,
Published: Dec 19, 2006

North Mayo fishermen have turned down a 1 million plan to restock lobster grounds which would have been paid for by Shell E&P Ireland.

The proposal could have involved additional funding and support from An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the State’s fisheries development board.

A shellfish grouping within the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association said it could not accept money from Shell until the issue of a discharge pipe from the Corrib gas terminal was resolved.

The planned discharge pipe would run 11km from shore at Broadhaven Bay to within 2km of Erris Head at its closest point to shore. Fishermen have been concerned for the past six years about the impact of contaminants from the pipe on marine life and have called for the pipe to run back to source at the well-head for the Corrib gas field.

Shell E&P Ireland established a community investment fund for projects in north Mayo,which it publicised at several open evenings in Belmullet last month. The deadline for applications was December 1st, and a company spokeswoman said that submissions were currently being evaluated. She could not comment on individual proposals.

Conditions for the fund are “transparent”, the company has said.The fund was to be “unconditional with no strings attached”.

However, members decided to reject the plan without it being put to a vote, according to committee member Pat O’Donnell, who said that “like the Rossport Five, Erris fishermen are not for sale”.

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