Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, secured 233,500 metric tons (MT) of quotas worth an estimated EUR 280 million (USD 291.4 million) for country’s fishermen for 2017 at the annual EU Fisheries Council in Brussels.
In volume terms, the package represents an increase of 17,390 MT compared with this year, which Creed described as “a balanced package” for the Irish fishing industry.
"The total EUR 280 million value of quotas, which represents a 6 percent increase on 2016, is a good result overall and is a long way from the original [European] Commission proposals which would have resulted in very significant losses to our fleet. The original proposal included a 19 percent reduction in whitefish quotas,” he said.
"I am particularly pleased to have persuaded the Commission to reverse the proposed 9 percent cut in the prawn quota, the most important fishery for the whitefish fleet. We succeeded in getting the Commission to apply the appropriate scientific advice for prawns resulting in a 9 percent increase. This was my number one priority heading into these negotiations and I am very happy with the result”.
The specific details negotiated by the minister include:
- For the south and west coasts and the Irish Sea, a 9 percent increase in the EUR 74 million (USD 77 million) prawn fishery
- For the southwest, a 9 percent increase in hake and reversal of cuts proposed for monkfish
- For the Celtic Sea fisheries, a 21 percent increase in whiting (from a possible 27 percent cut), a 7 percent increase in haddock, a 15 percent cut in cod (reduced from the 68 percent proposed cut)
- For the Irish Sea, a 25 percent increase in haddock and a retention of cod and sole quotas
- In the northwest, a 20 percent increase in monkfish quota, a 9 percent increase for the megrim quota, a near doubling of the Rockall haddock quota and no change in whiting
- Cuts in line with scientific advice were applied to haddock in the northwest and megrim in the Celtic Sea
"The most difficult area coming into these negotiations was the Commission proposal for cod and whiting in the Celtic Sea. The proposal was for a 68 percent cut on cod and a 27 percent cut in whiting. While the scientific advice on cod in the Celtic sea is worrying, the scientific advice on whiting in the Celtic sea is positive. I am satisfied that the final outcome of a 15 percent cut in the cod quota and a 21% increase in the whiting quota was the most positive that could have been achieved.”
The minster said he was very satisfied with the increase in the quota allocation for mackerel – the country’s single most valuable fishery – which will have a value of EUR 86 million (EUR 89.5 million) next year.