MINISTER Joe McHugh has tonight welcomed a deal which will allow a €61M mackerel quota boost for Donegal-based fishermen.
Under an order issued earlier this year and lobbied for by Donegal Deputy McHugh, the Killybegs-based mackerel fishing sector will be allocated 87 per cent of the overall quota agreed today in London.
This means the Donegal-based sector will catch almost €61M of the €70M Irish quota announced tonight by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.
“This is good news for the fishing fleet along the west coast and which fishes out of Killybegs,” said Minister McHugh.
“I want to thank Minister Creed who contacted me this evening with this news. I am also satisfied that Minister Creed will be lobbying hard for a larger quota when current arrangements expire at the end of 2018.
“As everyone in the industry knows I worked hard for the Killybegs-based sector to retain its share of the quota and they did so when then Department review was completed. Mackerel is an extremely important part of our fishing industry, particularly for Killybegs where so many other jobs in processing and engineering rely on this quota.”
Minister Creed announced the outcome of the international fisheries negotiations which concluded today in London.
These negotiations, between the European Union, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland were focused on the sustainable management of the €1billion annual mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic.
Minister Creed said: “Mackerel is our most valuable fishery and allied to the fact that we are the second largest EU quota holder, these negotiations are always of crucial importance to the Irish fishing industry.
“There was new scientific advice this year which showed that, while the stock is in good shape, a precautionary approach for long term sustainability was necessary, with a significant reduction in quota recommended.
“Accordingly, following careful consideration of scientific advice of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and discussions with the Marine Institute and industry stakeholders, I supported a reduction, in line with the agreed Long Term Management Strategy, in the quota for 2018.”
The new mackerel quota for Irish fishermen for 2018 will be just under 70,000 tonnes (69,143 tonnes) with a landing value of €70 million.
The current sharing arrangement for mackerel was agreed in 2014 between three parties only – EU, Faeroes and Norway. An amount is held in reserve to accommodate the other parties. This agreement is due to expire at the end of 2018 and it is expected that intensive negotiations on a new agreement will take place throughout 2018.
The Minister added: “The quotas agreed for 2018 are consistent with the Long Term Management Strategy which aims to provide sustainability and stability in this hugely valuable fishery in line with the scientific advice. In terms of the negotiations to come these are likely to be further complicated by Brexit. I remain dissatisfied with the 2014 agreement and will be working for a more equitable sharing arrangement that also protects the ongoing long term sustainability of the mackerel stock.”
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