The Federation of Irish Fishermen (FIF) has called on Minister Coveney to reverse the Commission’s proposed cuts in some key Irish stocks at the Fisheries Council in Brussels next week (December 15-16)

“These cuts are neither justified nor warranted and if adopted , will result in 500 to 600 fulltime and part-time jobs losses in the fisheries sector and ancillaries services. The resulting direct and indirect financial losses would be approximately €78 million,” Sean O’Donoghue, FIF chairman has warned. 

 

DunmoreEast

Fleets in Dunmore East and around the coast will be badly affected if proposed cuts in some fisheries are implemented. Photo Gillian Mills

FIF does not agree with a number of the Commission’s proposals to reduce fishing opportunities for key stocks in 2015:

” Reductions of 64% in cod and 41% in haddock in the Celtic Sea quota makes no sense, considering the abundance of cod and haddock fishermen are seeing on the ground,” he added.

Such cuts will only result in an increase in regulatory discards to an extraordinary level, which is contrary to the new Common Fisheries Policy,” he added.

A 14% reduction in quota proposed for nephrops (prawns) – Ireland’s second most valuable fishery – “has no basis whatsoever, particularly given that ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) has clearly advised a small increase. FIF is seeking a rollover of the TAC for this species at a minimum.

Regarding pelagic stocks, the mackerel TAC was agreed at tri-lateral negotiations on November 21 and is set in accordance with the scientific advice at a level the industry supports. Blue whiting is expected to increase by at least 5%.

The FIF however is totally opposed to setting a zero TAC for herring in the North West “as it does not reflect the reality on the fishing grounds or the problems of mixing with an adjacent herring stock. 

“This issue is now being actively addressed by ICES and we strongly advocate that [this decision] is postponed until after the ICES benchmark in February,” O’Donoghue stated.

FIF believes the Hague Preferences, which sees Ireland and the UK getting elevated quotas for key species when reductions are proposed, “will be easier to deliver this year in light of the stronger wording in the new CFP.”

FIF will be meeting Minister Coveney and his advisers in Brussels on Sunday night and during the Fisheries Council” to support his endeavours to deliver for Ireland the best deal possible.

“I expect Minister Coveney to deliver on his statement to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine on December 2 that he will not support cuts where additional information is available to inform the decision and where there is a real risk of generating higher discard levels than at present.”