The chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO) Patrick Murphy has said that some members of the organization plan to peacefully disrupt Russian military exercises in waters off the Irish coast, which are planned for February.

This was reported by Irish broadcaster RTE.

Patrick Murphy noted that the area is very important for fishermen and they want to preserve biodiversity there.

At the same time, Russian ambassador Yuri Filatov said the problem around the Russian exercises was “very exaggerated” and they “pose no threat to Ireland or anyone else”.

The fishermen’s association said it had already had two conversations with the Russian embassy in Dublin. They have been tried to persuade them that it would be “reckless” to send fishing boats into the planned exercise area and obstruct the maneuvers.

Murphy said the embassy representative was assured that no one was going to send fishing vessels directly to the Russian navy ships, but “we made it clear to them that we would continue to fish where we always do and if it affected their exercises in any way, we would consider it a peaceful protest.”

In a second conversation, an embassy spokesman said a message would be sent to the Irish government about the upcoming exercise and the government had a duty of care to ensure that Irish fishing vessels left the designated area.

The association said it was outraged by this because these are their waters and they have every right to fish there.

“Imagine if the Russians applied to shoot artillery on Irish territory on land, how would that be perceived? It’s the same for the fishermen. This is our territory, this is our ‘farm’, we make our money here. Why would anyone come into our waters for such a purpose if it would affect our operations and biodiversity?” – Patrick Murphy stated.

Earlier, the Irish government called on Russia to abandon planned naval exercises off the Irish coast. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the timing and Russia’s choice of the exercise site looked like a show of strength for Britain and France.