Irish fishermen allocated a larger quota for next year
Industry welcomes 233,500 tonnes quota, an increase of 6% on 2016, and worth €280m
The Irish fishing fleet will secure some 233,500 tonnes of quota next year which is worth €280 million to the industry, Minister for Marine Michael Creed has said.
The industry has given a broad welcome to the deal – billed as a 6 per cent increase on last year’s share – which was agreed after overnight negotiations involving EU fisheries ministers in Brussels
However, the first taste of Brexit was felt, according to industry representatives, when Ireland was left without British support to secure additional share under the so-called Hague Preferences.
These 1976 conditions, which come up for review in every new fisheries management policy, recognise the particular needs of coastal regions where populations are particularly dependent on fishing.
Industry representatives in Brussels have welcomed Mr Creed’s efforts to secure a far better outcome than had been forecast in EU Commission proposals.
The deal includes significant increases in three stocks caught by the Irish pelagic fleet – with mackerel up 14 per cent, blue whiting up 85 per cent and Atlanto Scandia herring up 104 per cent.
A proposed nine per cent cut in Irish share of prawns- this State’s second most important fishery by value after mackerel – was reversed, with a nine per cent increase.
Mr Creed noted that the €74 million prawn fishery benefits the ports of Clogherhead, Co Louth; Howth, Co Dublin; the west Cork ports of Union Hall and Castletownbere; Dingle, Co Kerry; and Ros a Mhil, Co Galway.
His team also secured a 9 per cent increase in hake, and a reversal of cuts proposed for monkfish – key stocks for the southern ports of Castletownbere and Dingle.
Celtic Sea stocks secured include a 21 per cent increase in whiting, a 7 per cent increase in haddock, and 15 per cent cut in cod – significantly reduced from the 68 per cent cut proposed).
In the Irish Sea, there is a 25 per cent increase in haddock and retention of cod and sole quotas. In the north-west, a 20 per cent increase in monkfish quota, a 9 per cent increase for the megrim quota, and a near doubling of the Rockall haddock quota have also been agreed, Mr Creed said.
Birdwatch Ireland said that Mr Creed would “ultimately have to provide justification for postponing action to recover vulnerable fish stocks such as Celtic Sea Cod” and “the socio-economic arguments used to defend setting quotas above the science”.