Ahead of the annual fisheries talks (December 12&13) to decide quotas for 2017, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation is calling on the marine minister Michael Creed to ensure cuts proposed by the Commission are reversed or phased in up to 2020.

Castletownbere Howth

Fleets in Howth and Castletownbere will be affected if cuts are implemented

If adopted, cuts proposed in key stocks could result in 400 full-time and part-time job losses in fisheries and ancilliary services, and up to €23m to the economy, says Sean O’Donoghue.

“I am very concerned about the outcome of this year’s Fisheries Council, particularly for certain demersal species (Nephrops, haddock, monkfish, megrim and cod with cuts ranging from 9% for Nephrops to 76% for cod) and pelagic species (horse mackerel 45% and herring 17%) stocks of interest to Ireland.”

Acknowledging that cuts are necessary for stocks in decline, the chief executive said the proposals were “unjustifiable and unacceptable” and at odds with scientific advice that recommends a 9% increase in Nephrops – Ireland’s second most important economic stock after mackerel.

 “Furthermore, the Commission’s proposals take no account of the socio-economic enshrined in the Common Fisheries Policy, [only] taking account of the sustainability principles. If this had been done, the proposed cuts in some of our key stocks would be almost eliminated or significantly reduced.

“I expect Minister Creed to take account of these missing factors from the Commission’s proposals during the Council next week.”

The KFO expects that Hague Preferences (where Ireland and the UK get elevated quotas for some key species when reductions are imposed) will be delivered during sideline battles with Member States.