Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Marine & Fisheries Pat the Cope Gallagher has said the 2017 fishing quotas agreed last night in Brussels represent a mixed bag for Irish fishermen.

Deputy Gallagher commented, “While I welcome the fact that Ireland has seen an overall increase in total quotas of 8% at the EU Fisheries Council meeting, the devil is in the detail.  Fishermen who catch mackerel and blue whiting will be particularly pleased by the increased quota for next year.

“However, the 20% reduction in haddock in the North West for 2017 will come as very disappointing news for coastal communities that rely on this catch, with possible job losses ahead.  A scientific review needs to be carried out immediately to get a more accurate assessment of the stock.

“When I became aware yesterday evening that a number of Member States were opposed to activating the Hague Preferences, which allows Ireland receive increased quotas for certain species, I immediately contacted Minister Creed. I told the Minister to hold firm and informed him as MEP previously, I secured the strengthening of the terms of the Hague Preferences.

“Had Ireland not pushed for these preferences last night, some 600 tonnes of whitefish quota would have been lost.

“Finally, while the actual reduction of cod is less than those initially proposed, this 15% cut will result in significant economic losses for those whitefish fishermen who rely on these stocks in coastal communities”.