Ireland North West MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has described the agreement reached in Brussels as a mixed result. While the agreement includes some good news for the pelagic sector particularly for mackerel, blue whiting, boarfish and herring, the news is not good for the Irish whitefish fleet according to Pat the Cope.
Mr Gallagher stated today “I welcome the increase of 49% in the hake quota and the 20% increase in Megrim which is important for the North West. That said, there is a significant reduction of 28% in the horse mackerel quota. I also welcome the significant increase in the boar fish quota.”
Mr Gallagher further stated “the Irish whitefish fleet is facing a 9% reduction in the prawn quota, Ireland’s second most valuable fishery. There will also be a 33% reduction in haddock and a 23% reduction in whiting in the Celtic Sea. The Commission had originally proposed a 75% reduction in haddock which was totally unjustified. The reduction has been limited to 33% which is at least some consolation. It is now vitally important that Minister Coveney works with the fisheries sector and the coastal communities affected to limit any possible job losses as a result of the agreement and to ensure that necessary scientific is undertaken to avoid such drastic reductions in the future. Thankfully the cuts in the whitefish quotas of 2% in the North West are not as large as in the Celtic Sea”
In relation to mackerel which is Ireland’s most valuable fishery, Mr Gallagher stated “the on-going dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands means that the sharing arrangements for mackerel remain unresolved. Commissioner Damanaki over the last number of weeks has been prepared to cut a deal with Iceland and the Faroe Island’s at any price. Thankfully, Norway has refused to be a party to these unacceptable offers and I will continue to raise the matter in the European Parliament as the strategy pursued by the Commissioner is deeply worrying. The bottom line is that no deal is better than a bad deal from an Irish perspective. The Commissioner seems intent on rewarding the reckless behaviour of Iceland and the Faroe Islands and she has refused to implement trade measures against them despite promising to do so last July.”