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O'Neill discusses future fishing opportunities with industry

Fisheries Minister Michelle OíNeill has met with representatives of the fish catching and processing sectors to discuss priorities ahead of this Autumnís vital fisheries councils.
Thursday, 27 October 2011

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said: “We had a very useful and full discussion about the European Commission’s proposals for fishing opportunities next year, and have agreed the main areas we need to work together on. Nephrops is clearly our top priority. There is no need for the proposed quota cut of 19% and we can point to the long term sustainability of this stock at the current level of activity as a clear justification for retaining the current quota.”

The Minister said in discussions on Irish Sea herring there was unanimous support for a strong case to be made for an increase in the quota rather than the proposed cut of 25%. She said: “There is abundant DARD and European funded science that clearly shows the herring stock is increasing and at its highest level for many years.”

Commenting on the Commission’s proposals for a zero cod quota for the Irish Sea, the Minister added: “The proposal for a zero quota has serious implications for the few remaining vessels that target this species. We are expecting shortly further proposals from the Commission on additional technical cod conservation measures and need to analyse these and their impacts before finalising our position. In the meantime, our scientists are working with the industry to examine how to improve the scientific data on cod stocks in the event that this proposal is adopted.

“There is much to be done in the coming months and I, and my officials, will work closely with the local fishing industry, to present scientific and sustainable arguments against quota cuts that cannot be justified.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The main fisheries councils to agree future fishing opportunities will take place on 14/15 November and 15/16 December, in Brussels.
  2. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email pressoffice.group@dardni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.