Pat the Cope has tabled amendments on boar fish and for whitefish vessels fishing of the North West Coast including under 15 metres


On 05 April next, the European Parliament will vote principally to extend the existing transitional technical measures under the Common Fisheries Policy to January 2013. The European Commission is anxious to roll over the Regulation.


However, Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP is aiming to amend this important regulation so as to introduce an appropriate mesh size for the fishery targeting boarfish and separately to enable whitefish vessels and small boats under 15 metres to fish stocks other than cod off the North West coast of Ireland.


Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stated “EU Ministers for Fisheries agreed in December to grant Ireland 67% of the TAC for boar fish. However, the existing rules under the Common Fisheries Policy do not recognise this type of fish, which is caught in nets with a mesh size in the range 32-54mm. Therefore, I decided to use the Regulation on technical measures as a vehicle to introduce the appropriate mesh size. Thus avoiding the need introduce new legislation, which would take too long.”


“The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee strongly supported my amendment in February and I am confident that the plenary will formally adopt. The 27 governments are also supportive.”


“I have also submitted amendments to allow whitefish and small boats under 15 metres to fish off the North West coast in Area VIa. Regrettably, the other political groups in the Parliament failed to support the amendments at Committee”.


“Area VIa is effectively closed for whitefish with a significant loss of income due to unworkable technical measures introduced two years ago for cod recovery. These vessels do not catch cod however the rules under the Regulation make it virtually impossible to catch other species such as megrim, monkfish, haddock and hake. I am very concerned for the financial viability of vessels involved if these measures are not amended without delay.”


“In addition particularly for vessels under 15 metres, there is an important health and safety concern which needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. The current mesh size effectively means that fishermen must steam approximately 80km out from their ports into dangerous waters in order to make a living.”