Angling Notes: EU ready to act over Faroe Islands’ and Iceland’s mackerel catch

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney secures EU commitment to prepare trade restrictions against the two countries, due to ‘irresponsible behaviour’


A T THE recent Council meeting of the European Union, the Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney, supported by the UK, France and Spain, succeeded in having trade restrictions imposed by the EU Commission against Iceland and
the Faroe Islands as a result of their unacceptable fishing of mackerel.

These two countries set large unilateral quotas at unsustainable levels this year that amount to 52 per cent of the recommended scientifically advised catch of mackerel in 2013. This is the fifth year in which Iceland has refused to engage in meaningful negotiations with the EU and Norway, the recognised major shareholders in this fishery.

Both Iceland and the Faroe Islands have developed a large fishery of mackerel from a situation in 2006 when they had a combined total share of only 5 per cent of the fishery.

Coveney said he secured the agreement of Commissioner Maria Damanaki to immediately prepare for trade restrictions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands, as they are now fishing more than 50 per cent of the recommended catch level for mackerel.

“We have been left with no choice and must act against these countries being rewarded by their irresponsible behaviour,” said the Minister. “I regret that we have been forced to take this action, but the continued absence of any attempt to negotiate by either country has left us with no alternative.”

The north east Atlantic mackerel fishery, if fished within recommended levels, is worth about €1 billion. The value to the EU, as the largest shareholder, is estimated to be more than €600 million.

“Mackerel is our most important fishery, worth over €125 million, and Irish fishermen are hugely dependent on it. If this irresponsible fishing is allowed to continue this stock will be decimated and our coastal communities will have their livelihoods completely undermined. There are many fish-processing factories in counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork dependent on this stock.

“I have been calling for the implementation of trade measures for more than 12 months and now the Commissioner has agreed to proceed with these measures,” the Minister concluded.

At Killala Bay, charter skipper Donal Kennedy reports that a group from Larne and District SAC enjoyed their weekend at Enniscrone which included two days of boat fishing, and recorded an impressive 18 species along with four varieties of ray.

Larne angler Samuel Auld said: “We had probably the best weekend fishing experience in over 20 years, with a special thanks to Donal and Jim for their services.”

Simon Tarpey from Oughterard won Thursday’s qualifier in the World Cup Trout Championships on Lough Mask with three fish, weighing 1.8kg . Michael Drinan (Cork) was second with two fish for 1.1kg and Thomas Walsh (Dublin) also had two fish for 1kg.

The grilse run continued at Galway with plenty of fish showing on a daily basis, although fishing has slowed down, with more fish being lost than landed. There were 19 recorded, including the best fish of the week for Brendan Byrne, a fine summer salmon of 5kg taken on the fly.

“Water levels are perfect for the fly, with just one gate open; and, with such a good run of fish, prospects remain excellent in Galway,” said Kevin Crowley.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) staff initiated an investigation in response to a complaint last month of dead fish in the River Tolka, downstream of the Finglas Road Bridge. Up to 300 adult and juvenile brown trout were killed over a section approximately 250m long. Live fish, including brown trout, were recorded in the affected area during the investigation. Samples were taken for analysis; however, results did not identify any deleterious matter which may have caused the kill. In an ongoing investigation of local surface water drainage systems, IFI is liaising with Dublin City Council in an effort to prevent similar events in the future.

Howth Lifeboat Station is hosting an Open Day on Sunday August 11th from 1 to 5pm and all are welcome. Visitors can explore the all-weather and inshore lifeboats, meet the crew, view safety demonstrations and take part in competitions. The sea safety unit will also be available to check lifejackets and give advice on safety at sea.

“The Open Day is an opportunity for us to welcome the public and acknowledge their unwavering support,” said Howth RNLI chairman Russell Rafter.