Written Answers. - Trawler Crew Compensation.

Hugh Byrne

Ceist:

675 Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for the Marine the provisions, if any, made to compensate crewmen of a trawler that has been decommissioned in view of the fact that they will become redundant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16394/96]

The decommissioning scheme for fishing vessels established last year provided for the payment of premia to fishing vessel owners volunteering to decommission their boats.

Many of the boats decommissioned under the scheme were mainly engaged in part-time fishing, predominantly during the summer months and would not, therefore, have offered their crews full time employment.

As a result of decommissioning, some fishermen may have to consider seeking alternative employment. Under the PESCA Community Initiative, funding is also available to assist fishermen to respond to changes in the sector and to diversify into other activities. Earlier this year I announced a further round of 45 PESCA projects representing total funding support of £2 million for alternative economic activities right around the coast. I will also continue to encourage the EU Commission to explore the scope for funding an early retirement scheme for fishermen which was agreed by the Council last year but for which there was no additional funding provided by the EU.
It is the case that where redundancies occur, those fishermen who avail of the special social welfare insurance scheme will have unemployment cover as well as certain other benefits. While the matter of social insurance provision for fishermen is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for social welfare I can advise that the Department of Social Welfare is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the position of fishermen under the Social Insurance system. The review is being fully informed by discussions with my Department and by extensive consultations with the fishing industry.