Coveney welcomes EU fish deal
The Minister for Agriculture and fishing industry representatives have welcomed an EU deal on fish quotas, reached earlier this morning.
The deal sees the value and tonnage of whitefish quotas maintained at last year’s level of €114 million while interim quotas with a value of €100 million have been set for most pelagic stocks - such as mackerel and herring - pending further negotiations in the new year.
In a statement, Simon Coveney said the deal was good for Irish fishermen and sustainable for the stocks on which the industry depends.
Ireland secured some 36,538 tonnes of whitefish and 180,000 tonnes of pelagic quotas. The direct value of the package for the Irish fishing fleet in 2013 amounts to €213 million.
The deal contains a prawn quota increase of 6 per cent in the Irish Sea, but cuts to the cod and sole quotas over concerns about low stocks.
The whiting quota in the Celtic Sea will increase by 29 per cent to provide an additional 1,500 tonnes for fishing fleets along the southern and western coasts.
Ireland secured a rollover of the 56,666 tonnes quota in the developing boarfish quota in the north west. A 63 per cent increase in the blue whiting quota will allow for a total haul of 13,105 tonnes.
The final quotas for mackerel, blue whiting and horse mackerel will only be finalised after the EU/ Norway Fisheries Agreement is completed early in the new year.
Mr Coveney said the quotas secured today would support the economies of “coastal communities which are dependent on the resulting employment created both at sea and in onshore related industries.”
Sean O’Donoghue from the Irish Fish Producers organisation also welcomed the deal, saying it will ensure the industry breaks even or achieves financial gains.
He said proposed cuts meant Ireland went into the negotiations in a “very bad situation”, but came out in “a much better position”.
“We’re obviously not happy with everything but there were some very important gains gained by the Minister in this council,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.