Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP, a member of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee has welcomed the outcome of the Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels negotiated over the weekend as a good deal for Ireland and the North West.
 
Pat the Cope said today “There has been a realistic increase taking into consideration the scientific advice in the total allowable catch and quotas from the original proposals published by the European Commission.”
 
“I am pleased that despite the ongoing talks on mackerel between the Coastal States including the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, the quota for mackerel for next year has been maintained and that 80% of the catch can be landed during the first three months of 2012.”
 
“In the meantime, the negotiations will continue with the Coastal States with a view to realising an outcome that will ensure a sustainable stock into the future. I would be hopeful that the sanctions announced by Commissioner Damanaki last week will focus the attention of the Icelandic and Faroese authorities in particular.”
 
“I welcome the increase in the boar fish quota to 82,000t, of which Ireland has a 69% share of this fishery resulting in a TAC of 56,666t. I am hopeful that this fishery will become as important as herring and mackerel when efforts to develop the fishery for human consumption come to fruition as it is now largely used for industrial purposes. I am particularly pleased as I played a key role last year in securing a legal base for this fishery and the size of mesh required.”
 
“The 500% increase in the blue whiting catch is a welcome and positive development”
 
“With the explosion of the haddock stock off the North West there will be opportunities for the smaller fleet, providing the European Commission removes current restrictions on Gill netting. The fishing grounds off the Donegal coast are not suitable for trawling due to the hard grounds therefore Gill netting is vital. I shall be exerting every pressure on the Commission to remove this restriction.”
 
Pat the Cope paid tribute to all involved in the negotiations including Minister Coveney, his officials, the industry including the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, the Irish Fish Producers Organisation and the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation.