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Anger At EC Irish Sea Fishing Proposals


NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has expressed anger at the Commissions proposals for Irish Sea fishing opportunities in 2011.

The Commission published its proposals on 11 November and the final proposals will be agreed by Fisheries Ministers at the December Fisheries Council.

Commenting on the proposals Minister Gildernew said: "Even for species where there is good scientific evidence of a healthy stock, such as Irish Sea herring and plaice, the Commission has refused to propose an increased quota. However, in the coming weeks we will be working hard to change their minds.

“On the vitally important prawn quota, the Commission has pressed ahead with radical changes. As well as moving to lower ‘maximum sustainable yield’ quotas, it has also proposed that the large Area Vll prawn quota is split into smaller sea area units. Under this arrangement our fleet would fare better than most due to the healthy state of the west and east Irish Sea prawn stocks and would suffer a reduced cut in quota of six per cent. However, I appreciate the concerns of the industry that this proposal will restrict their ability to fish outside the Irish Sea. I want to fully discuss the implications of these proposals with stakeholders before deciding our approach with the Commission.”

Minister Gildernew added: “The outlook for the main whitefish stocks in the Irish Sea remains poor and the Commission has proposed a further 50 per cent cut in cod as well as a 15 per cent cut in haddock. There are now only a few vessels dependent on these stocks and I want to discuss the implications of the latest proposals for this sector, with the industry.”

Looking towards the December Fisheries Council meeting, the Minister concluded: “As I have done since I came into office, I will be fighting hard to secure the best deal for our fishing fleet before final proposals are agreed.”