- 15% overall increase in tonnage to 270,000 tonnes in 2014
Following very long and difficult negotiations the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD announced that he has secured 270,077 tonnes of quotas for Irish fishermen for 2014. The value of the package of quotas secured for 2014 is 2% greater than the value of quota available for 2013 (€255 million) and will provide € 260m to the fishing industry next year.
The Minister said that overall, the package of quotas secured was a good outcome given the very serious cuts that were proposed by the Commission going into the Council.
“Negotiations this year were extremely difficult in Council but important increases have been secured in specific stocks. While some of the quotas for whitefish stocks were reduced in the Celtic Sea, this reflected the scientific advice of poor recruitment into the stocks of cod, haddock and whiting; cuts were required to take account of the scientific advice. For other whitefish stocks such as the economically important hake and monkfish, significantly increased quotas were secured reflecting the positive scientific advice for these stocks. We have also secured increased quotas for herring mackerel, boarfish and blue whiting.”
The Minister welcomed;
· A 49% increase in the Hake quota
· A 30% increase in the Celtic Sea Herring fishery off the south coast
· 13% increase in the mackerel quota
· A 55% quota increase in the large Boarfish fishery off the south west
· A 36% increase in the Blue Whiting quota for the north west
A 20% increase in the Megrim quota for the north west
A 22% increase in the Haddock quota in Rockall
A15% increase in the Monkfish quota for the south and west
A 14% increase in the Albacore Tuna quota for the summer fishery off the south west
The Minister said that he has also successfully reversed the proposed 20% cuts to Pollock and Megrim quotas in the south west and secured a rollover of the Irish Sea Haddock quota.
However, the overall package did also include some reductions in quota, responding to scientific advice on a number of stocks, which are designed to ensure the sustainability of the fish stocks into the future.
The Minister said he had entered the Council facing 75% cuts in the Haddock in the Celtic Sea. Following protracted negotiations and after expressing his strong concerns that the levels of reduction would result in widespread quota driven discarding of adult fish, the Haddock quota in the Celtic Sea will be reduced by 33%. We aligned the Haddock quota with the Cod quota to avoid discards. A provisional quota for Whiting in the Celtic Sea will be set at 22% lower than last year, but this will be reviewed and may be improved following further negotiations in the New Year.
The Minister said that at the outset of this Council he had faced a 24% cut in the important prawn (Nephrops) fishery in the Irish Sea and off the south and west coasts.
“I was very concerned about the effect that the proposed 24% cut would have had on the prawn fleet and negotiated a substantial reduction in the proposed cut to 9% reflecting a more balanced recognition of the scientific concerns about the state of stock in certain areas.”
On the long running issue of the allocation of Mackerel between EU, Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland, Ireland strongly maintained its position and urged the Commission to support a balanced proposal made by Norway to resolve the issue.
The Minister concluded, "The fishing industry faced very drastic cuts on key stocks going into this Council and my team and I have worked hard over the two days of negotiations to deliver a much better package of quotas for Irish fishermen for 2014. I can assure you we have secured the maximum commercial value from fish stocks for the fishing industry while taking responsible decisions to protect vulnerable stocks where appropriate.”
“For some areas of the industry there are very significantly increased opportunities for Irish fishermen in 2014 and I will continue to work on negotiations where the final quotas for 2014 were not settled at this Council."