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Ireland Opposes Transfer Of Quota


IRELAND - At the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels today, Sean Connick Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, set out his strong opposition to Irish fish quotas being transferred under this year' s EU-Norway fisheries agreement. The Minister set down clearly the parameters of a deal that Ireland could support with the Faroe Islands on mackerel.

Under the EU-Norway agreement each year, Norway and the EU swap fishing opportunities in each other's waters. However, this has resulted in the EU giving fish stocks off the west coast of Ireland to Norway in exchange for Norwegian cod. Minister Connick advised his fellow Ministers of the Commission's commitment from last November "to ensure that the costs and benefits for individual Member States of the annual arrangements with Norway should be as balanced as possible".

Minister Connick said: "It is a fact that Ireland does not benefit from the transfers from Norway, other than a very small quota of Arctic cod. I pushed strongly for arrangements that do not involve the transfer of the fish stocks in Western Waters where we have good quotas. The EU needs to develop a new framework whereby, Member States who want to avail of the Cod on offer can contribute to a communal EU pool for exchange with Norway. In this way those Member States who want the Cod can avail of it but not to the detriment of Member States who do not benefit."

The Minister also set down his position on securing agreement with the Faroe Islands on the management of the mackerel stock. Both the Faroe Islands and Iceland landed large quantities of mackerel in 2010, operating outside the UN straddling stocks framework. The EU and Norway have been the main players in the mackerel fishery but both the Faroe Islands and Iceland have commenced fisheries which in 2010 involved landings of over 200,000 tonnes representing over 20% of the total catch.

Efforts last week at a formal meeting to agree management arrangements with the Faroe Islands and Iceland were not successful. Minister Connick said: "I welcome progress made with securing an agreement with the Faroe Islands to put in place long term management measures. In the end of the meeting the level of quota and the access being sought by the Faroes Islands was higher than can be justified. I am disappointed that Iceland is not prepared to enter into meaningful negotiations but appears to be planning to continue its unrestricted fishing in 2011.

"The mackerel fishery is very important for our fishermen and I am committed to continuing to work with other Member States, the Commission and Norway to find an equitable arrangement to protect mackerel stocks and the future for our coastal communities dependant on fishing".