What do new EU fishing quotas mean for Ireland?

We can catch more pawns - but less cod in 2017...

What do new EU fishing quotas mean for Ireland?

Image: Robert F. Bukaty / AP/Press Association Images

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced today that it has secured 233,500 tonnes of quotas worth €280m for Irish fishermen in 2017.

This is an 17,390 tonne increase compared to 2016.

Irish fisherman are allowed to catch less cod (-15%), pollack (-10%) and megrims (-25%) - but have been allotted more of almost every other fish.

A quarter more haddock can be caught in the Irish Sea, as well as 21% more whiting off of the southern coast, and 9% more prawns.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said today's decision, "Is a good result overall and is a long way from the original Commission proposals which would have resulted in very significant losses to our fleet. The original proposal included a 19% reduction in whitefish quotas."

"We succeeded in getting the Commission to apply the appropriate scientific advice for prawns resulting in a 9% increase. This was my number one priority heading into these negotiations and I am very happy with the result," he continued.

The quotas were decided on during a meeting of the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels which lasted into the early hours of this morning.

Fianna Fáil described the agreement as a "mixed bag" - its spokesperson on Marine and Fisheries, Pat Gallagher said:

"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."

"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."

Rolling News

Meanwhile, the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is "disappointed with the outcome" and that it will "do little for coastal communities or the protection of the marine environment."

The IWT Campaigns Officer, Pádraic Fogarty, said: "Minister Creed is doing no one any favours in his prioritisation of certain sections of the fishing industry over the public good.

"In abandoning the Irish and Celtic Seas to a state of ecological degradation he is contributing to the decline of coastal communities and denying future generations the opportunities which come with healthy oceans. There is now an urgent need to close off large sections of the sea to harmful trawling to allow the recovery of beleaguered marine life."

Talks

Karmenu Vella, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries commented on the agreement:

"Today we have taken another important step towards sustainable fisheries, a core objective of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy."

"I am proud to say that our push for healthy fish stocks is starting to pay off: following years of disciplined fisheries policy, scientists this year advised increasing catch limits for several stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea. This is encouraging, and shows that sustainability really does get fishermen the best deal."