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Fish Package Secured on the Back of Conservation

IRELAND - Irish Ministers Mary Coughlan and John Browne, have secured a valuable package of measures for Irish fishermen at the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels.

The duo secured 35,612 tonnes of whitefish quotas for Irish fishermen, which is the same level as last year. This was deemed a significant success given that the initial proposal by the Commission involved cuts of up to 25 per cent for 25 of the 37 stocks of importance to Ireland.

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) levels for many of Ireland's most important fish stocks have been maintained including monkfish, prawns and haddock, with an increase secured for hake, plaice off the south-west and haddock in the Rockall area.

The Ministers also successfully defended the crucial Hague Preferences after a number of Member States attempted to have them set aside this year.

Ministers Coughlan and Browne delivered 125,956 tonnes of pelagic quota, too, which included a substantial increase of 24 per cent in the horse mackerel quota - a very important species to the Irish fleet.

Concern about herring stocks has forced the Commission to propose reductions of 25 per cent in the TACs. However, Irish Ministers have gained the support from EU colleagues for a rebuilding plan for herring in the Celtic Sea which commits to a suite of conservation measures aimed at rebuilding stocks.

“I am delighted that we have been successful in delivering a balanced package of fishing opportunities for our fishermen," said Minister Coughlan, Ireland's, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. "Where I saw that cuts in TACs were required for conservation reasons I sought and secured alternative increased opportunities in other valuable stocks. The final package of quotas for Ireland will underpin our €750 million seafood sector.”

Minister of State John Browne said that he had worked closely with Ireland's fishing industry over the past few weeks to ensure that Ireland's priorities were delivered. The outcome had been positive for the industry and it was now in a position to move foreward.

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