Written Answers. - Fuel Prices.

Cecilia Keaveney

Question:

239 Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources his views on the current prices that fishermen are paying for fuel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19879/00]

Irish fishermen are experiencing considerable difficulties at the present time as a result of increased fuel costs. The fishing industry is exceptionally exposed to increased fuel prices because of the relatively high proportion of fuel costs to overall costs. The industry, in common with other fishing industries in other member states is rebated excise and VAT on marine diesel. As a result fuel cost increases directly reflect movements in the supply price. Fuel costs to the fishing sector have doubled since January 1999, with a 30% increase between January and August 2000.

I have a very clear understanding of the scale and severity of the problem and I am continuing discussions with the industry and with my colleagues in Government on ways to tackle the difficulties. Options to alleviate the situation including the fishing industry's proposals are being urgently assessed having regard to overall Government strategies and approaches to the fuel issue.