SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 11, April 2016 - Page 131

“They pushed us out with red tape. They made it so expensive to run the boats, they knew they could get the deadwood out,” said Farren.

It’s extremely hard to make a living just from inshore fishing in Ireland. One of the problems, according to the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, is that anyone can fish with pots for crabs and lobsters without a license as long as they don’t sell their catch.

However, joining the EU also required Ireland to focus on conservation and sustaining its marine environment. Waste is no longer dumped into the Irish Sea and marine life around the coast has benefited from a cleaner environment. Although according to the Irish Wildlife Trust, up to 88 percent of fish stocks are being fished unsustainably. One way to protect against over-fishing proposed by the IWT would be to implement Marine Protected Areas, which create ‘no-take’ zones. The Common Fisheries Policy, which manages all fishing in EU waters, is currently under review and changes to aid conservation will be considered.

Alan McLeod, an artist who became friends with Farren, noticed the change in Howth harbour too. He got to know Farren after spending many days sketching the boats and fishermen around the harbour and from his studio at the end of Howth’s west pier. Farren occasionally lets McLeod come aboard his boat to sketch whenhe goes out to check on his lobster pots.

“Before when I looked at the sea I just saw a body of water… But the fishermen see it in a different context, they lift up the curtain and I see this wonderful world—the sea bed, the layers of different tides and curves of the coast, where the pots are, where the shipwrecks are, how everything interacts,” said McLeod.

Farren doesn’t know what the future of fishing will be, but he said it will always be around, it just won’t be the same.

“When I get despondent, or things isn’t working out, I have to stop a minute, and say hang on a minute, nothing lasts forever. This will all come to an end someday, so don’t be worrying. And it brings you back down to earth a little bit,” Farren said.