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.”