Updated: 07/04/17 : 06:32:59
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Concern for 'slaves' aboard some Irish trawlers

The government is being urged to crack down on some Irish trawler owners who are reportedly treating migrant fishermen 'like slaves'.

A report on RTÉ's Prime Time last night highlighted a range of employment breaches and a large number of illegal workers in the sector.

Labour Senator Ged Nash said a permit scheme introduced in 2016 which aimed to protect migrant fishermen is being flouted by certain Irish trawler owners.

"The Irish fishing industry is very dependent on migrant labour, and most of those who work in the Irish fishing industry are from abroad or from Egypt and the Philippines and parts of Africa indeed.

"We introduced a scheme to try to bestow employment rights and protections on those who are working here who were being exploited by certain elements of the industry, but a scheme is only as good as the enforcement of the scheme," he said.