Ireland’s fish quotas have increased by 17,390 tonnes to 233,500 tonnes in 2017, worth €280m and a 6% increase on 2016. The deal was struck in the early hours of this morning (13/12) following intensive talks at the annual Fisheries Council in Brussels.Clogherhead

Clogherhead: Set to benefit from the 9% increase in the €74m prawn fishery  

Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, described the package as “balanced” and a reversal of “extremely worrying” proposals set down by the Commission that included a 19% reduction in whitefish quotas.

“I am especially pleased that the quotas agreed respect the scientific advice, ensuring that the fish stocks in our waters will be managed sustainably.”

Commission proposal of a 9% cut in the prawn quota (the most important fishery for the whitefish fleet) was reversed on ‘scientific advice’ to a 9% increase.

“This was my number one priority…and I am very pleased with this result.”

Ahead of the talks, the Commission had signalled cuts of 68% for cod and 27% for whiting in the Celtic Sea. While the scientific advice on cod in the Celtic Sea remains cautious, the advice on whiting is “positive. I am satisfied that the final outcome of a 15% cut in cod and a 21% cut in the whiting quota was the most positive that could have been achieved.”

(The impact of the cod cut for Ireland is reduced when ‘Hague Preferences’ are applied. These arrangements benefit Ireland in circumstances where the Total Allowable Catch is set at a low level due to the situation of stocks. When applied, Ireland receives a lower reduction in quota than other Member States.)

Industry response

Sean O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, said the overall outcome was “positive” with significant increases in three pelagic stocks: mackerel (14%): blue whiting (85%) and Atlantio Scandia herring (104%).

He added however that the 20% reduction in haddock (North West) was not warranted “as the reduction is due to scientific error and changing the fishing mortality rate. It is likely that this reduction will cause problems with possible early closures of fisheries during next year in the North West as haddock is under the landing obligation.”

O’Donoghue however acknowledged the “Trojan work” by Minister Creed to resist attempts by some Member States to eliminate the ‘Hague Preferences’, without which the cut in Celtic Sea cod would have been 38% instead of 15%.

“I wish to recognise that Minister Creed and his officials worked very closely with the industry… and took on board our well-founded concerns and advice, [to deliver] a sustainable and economically viable fishing opportunities package for 2017.”

Francis O’Donnell, CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, added it should be recognised that Minister Creed was assisted by “experts” from his department, the Marine Institute and BIM, “each organisation bringing its own skill set to the negotiating table. 

“All in all I am satisfied with the outcome” but he cautioned careful quota planning would be required for certain stocks in 2017.

Welcoming the package overall, Patrick Murphy, CEO of the Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation said the 6% net gain would lead to the creation of “badly needed jobs” in rural communities. 

“We also wish to remind our Minister it is very important that these increases must be distributed in an equitable manner in that the share of increases are targeted to address the imbalance within our demersal whitefish sector which his team have identified within our nation’s fishing fleet.”

Commission position

Concluding the talks, Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs andFisheries, said that a fundamental objective of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was for stocks to be fished “at a level corresponding to a maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2020 at the latest”.

Fishing at MSY levels allows the industry to take the highest amount of fish while keeping fish stocks healthy. In 2009, only five stocks had TACs set at MSY. The agreement brings 44 stocks to MSY levels.

“We have taken another important step towards sustainable fisheries — a core objective of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. I am proud to say that our push for healthy fish stocks is starting to pay off. Following years of disciplined fisheries policy, scientists this year advised increasing catch limits for several stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea. This is encouraging, and shows that sustainability really does get fishermen the best deal.”

The economic performance of the EU fleet has improved considerably from a loss-making position in 2008 to increasingly higher net profits in the past three years.

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/

At a glance:

  • South and West coasts & Irish Sea: 9% increase in €74m prawn fishery to benefit Clogherhead, Howth, Union Hall, Castletownbere, Dingle and Ros a Mhil
  • South West: 9% increase in hake; reversal of cuts proposed for monkfish – importanat fisheries to Castletownbere and Dingle
  • Celtic Sea fisheries: 21% increase in whitiing (proposed cut of 27%); 7% increase in haddock; 15% cut in cod (proposed cut of 68%)
  • Irish Sea: 25% increase in haddock; retention of cod and sole quotas
  • North West: 20% increase in monfish; 9% increase in megrim; almost doubling of the Rockall haddock quota and no change in whiting, benfiting Greencastle and Killybegs
  • Cuts in line with scientific advice were applied to haddock in the North West and megrim in the Celtic Sea
STOCK AREA Quota 2016 Quota 2017 Change 2016 – 2017 Value €million Change 2016 – 2017
TOTAL ALL STOCKS 216,222 233,610 17,388 8% €279 6%
               
Cod VIIa 97 97 0   €0.3  
Cod VII b-k 864 738 -126 -15% €2.2 -15%
Megrims VII 3,021 2,266 -755 -25% €8.2 -25%
Monkfish VII 2,540 2,540 0   €11.1  
Haddock VII b-k 1,613 1,722 109 7% €3.4 7%
Haddock VIIa 716 898 182 25% €1.8 25%
Whiting VIIa 46 46 0   €0.1  
Whiting VIIb-k 6,333 7,651 1,318 21% €10.4 21%
Plaice VIIa 768 768 0   €1.5  
Plaice VII bc 63 63 0   €0.1  
Plaice VII fg 200 200 0   €0.4  
Plaice VII hjk 59 56 -3   €0.1  
Pollack VII 1,030 927 -103 -10% €2.3 -10%
Saithe VII 1,491 1,491 0   €2.2  
Common sole VIIa 17 17 0   €0.2  
Common sole VII bc 36 36 0   €0.3  
Common sole VII fg 24 26 2   €0.2  
Common sole VII hjk 171 171 0   €1.5  
Norway lobster VII 8,610 9,350 740 9% €73.6 9%
Sub Total (Area VII) 27,699 29,063 1,364 5% €120 4%
               
Cod VIa 0 0 0   €0.0  
Cod VIb   16 16 0   €0.0  
Megrims VI 675 736 61 9% €2.7 9%
Monkfish VI 638 765 127 20% €3.4 20%
Haddock VIb XII XIV 353 410 57 16% €0.8 16%
Haddock VIa Vb 1,008 495 -513 -51% €1.0 -51%
Whiting VI 64 64 0   €0.1  
Plaice VI 261 261 0   €0.5  
Pollack VI 56 56 0   €0.1  
Saithe VI 384 433 49 13% €0.6 13%
Common sole VI 46 46 0   €0.4  
Norway lobster VI 223 222 -1   €1.7  
Sub Total (Area VI) 3,724 3,504 -220 -6% €11.4 0%
               
Stock AREA Quota 2016 Quota 2017 Change 2016 – 2017 Value €million Change 2016 – 2017
Tusk V, VI, VII 53 53 0   €0.1  
Hake VI, VII 3,415 3,732 317 9% €8.6 9%
Blue Ling Vb,VI,VII 14 32 18   €0.0  
Blue Ling II, IV 4 4 0   €0.0  
Ling VI – IX, X, XII, XIV 758 1,008 250 33% €1.6 33%
Skates & Rays VI, VIIa-c, & e-k 1,048 1,100 52 5% €1.9 5%
Greenland Halibut IIa, IV, VI 16 16 0   €0.2  
Spurdog/dogfish I, V – VIII, XII, XIV 0 0 0   €0.0  
Cod I,II 298 344 46 15% €1.0 15%
Redfish V, XII, XIV (Shallow) 0 0 0   €0.0  
Redfish V, XII, XIV (Deep) 0 0 0   €0.0  
Sub Total (Shared Area VI & VII) 5,606 6,289 683 12% €13.4 11%
               
TOTAL DEMERSAL 37,029 38,857 1,828 5% €145 4%
               
Stock AREA Quota 2016 Quota 2017 Change 2016 – 2017 Value €million Change 2016 – 2017
Greater silver smelt III, IV 7 7 0   €0.0  
Greater silver smelt V, VI, VII 305 276 -29   €0.2  
Boarfish VI, VII,VIII 29,464 18,858 -10,606 -36% €3.3 -36%
Herring VIaN 630 630 0   €0.2  
Herring VIaS, VIIbc 1,482 1,482 0   €0.5  
Herring VIIa 1,191 1,074 -117 -10% €0.4 -10%
Herring VII ghjk 13,345 12,502 -843 -6% €4.3 -6%
Blue whiting I – VIII a,b,d,e XII,XIV 24,550 45,547 20,997 86% €12.0 86%
Mackerel VI, VII 75,837 86,426 10,589 14% €86.4 14%
Horse mackerel IVb, IVc, and VIId 347 438 91 26% €0.4  
Horse mackerel IIa,IVa,VI,VIIa-c,e-k,VIIIabe 27,621 21,268 -6,353 -23% €18.8 -23%
Herring I, II 1,830 3,731 1,901 104% €1.3 104%
Albacore North Atlantic 2,584 2,514 -70   €6.8  
TOTAL PELAGIC 179,193 194,753 15,560 9% €135 7%