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Disappointment At 2012 Fishing Proposal

IRELAND - Fisheries Minister Michelle O'Neill expressed her disappointment with the proposals published by the European Commission for fish stocks in the Irish Sea.

The Minister said: "The publication of these proposals is the beginning of a long process of negotiation with the Commission which will eventually result in the agreement of Regulations at the Agriculture and Fisheries Councils in November and December. These Regulations will set down what our local fleet is allowed to catch in 2012."

"I welcome the early publication of the proposals, because this offers more time to have meaningful discussions with the Commission but I'm extremely disappointed with their contents."

"A 19 per cent cut has been proposed for Nephrops (prawns) which is the mainstay of our fishing fleet. The stock is key to the survival of our fleet and the processing industries that depend the landings made into Ardglass, Kilkeel and Portavogie. But this stock is assessed over a very wide sea area which takes in the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and grounds along the west coast of Ireland."

"Our fleet works mainly in the northern part of the Irish Sea and we have robust scientific evidence which confirms that stocks in this area are in good condition and are being fished sustainably. So as always we are affected by the Commissions perception of the state of the stocks in the wider area."

"I'm also very disappointed to see that the commission has imposed blanket 25 per cent cuts to stocks where data on their status is judged to be 'poor'. A better approach is to ensure that all available robust evidence is used in the decision-making process."

"In the coming months I and my officials will work with the local fishing industry, to develop the arguments we will put to the Commission to ensure a more reasonable outcome that will accommodate the environmental, social and economic objectives that we have for fisheries. I will also be working closely with other Fisheries Ministers in Britain and the South to agree our negotiating priorities at the Fisheries Councils in the Autumn."

the Fish Site Editor

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