Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP, a member of the EP Committee on Fisheries, while speaking in Strasbourg this week was strongly critical of the EU Commissioner for Fisheries, Maria Damanaki. Mr Gallagher slammed the Commissioner for her failure to live up to her promise to enact trade sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands due to their massive overfishing of mackerel in the North East Atlanti
Speaking in the presence of the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Mr Gallagher stated:
“Commissioner Damanaki on the 10 July informed the Committee on Fisheries that trade sanctions would be imposed on Iceland and the Faroe Islands before the summer recess as they have increased their overall share of mackerel from 5% in 2005 to 52% in 2013. She has failed to deliver on her word and now she has refused to meet with the Committee to outline her position until the 27 November at the latest. In my view, she is showing absolute contempt towards the European Parliament.”
Mr Gallagher welcomed the publication of recent scientific data on the health of the mackerel stock, which is positive. This may open the possibility of a negotiated settlement to the long running dispute according to Mr Gallagher.
Mr Gallagher stated “I want to welcome the latest scientific advice from ICES which recommends a large increase of 67% in the Mackerel Total Allowable Catch for next year. The scientific advice is finally reflecting what the fishermen have encountered in the fishing grounds over the last five years. Regrettably, the large recommended increase is minimal in reality as it is only 14,000 tonnes greater than the declared expected catches of 334,000 tonnes for 2013 by the Faroe Islands, Iceland and now Greenland as they have established their own bilateral quotas for some time now.”
Mr Gallagher has warned that the Irish Pelagic Sector must not be punished at the expense of Iceland and the Faroe Islands as a result of any agreement. Mr Gallagher concluded “the new advice by ICES will give a renewed impetus to efforts to reach a negotiated agreement on the sharing arrangements between the coastal states. However, this opportunity must not be at the expense of Irish fishermen, who have acted in a responsible manner by rewarding Iceland and the Faroe Islands with an unjustified percentage share.”