Minister Connick said: "This was my first opportunity to formally influence the direction and outcome of this Reform, which is critical to the future of the Irish fishing industry and coastal communities' dependant on that industry, right around our coastline".
Ireland submitted a comprehensive report to the EU Commission in February 2010, setting out the National position on the CFP Reform process.
The Minister said "The Reform of the CFP is vital to our fishing industry and will be one of the most significant challenges I will face in my new role as fisheries Minister. I therefore took the opportunity to set out Ireland's position with my Ministerial colleagues and hear their thoughts and reasons for the approaches they are taking. It is now very clear to me that there are some divergent views on various aspects of the reform process. I also availed of this opportunity to meet with Ministers of similar views on aspects of the reform in order to form alliances to strengthen our case in the upcoming intensive negotiations on the reform of this policy."
Irelands' priorities for the new CFP are set out clearly in the submission which can be accessed in its entirety on www.fishingnet.ie. Central to those priorities are:-
- A new focus on addressing discarding of fish at sea
- The retention of a management system based on national quotas supported by increased flexibility.
- A complete rejection of the mandatory privatisation of fish quotas or the international trading of fish quotas
- New measures to strengthen the market for EU producers and the prices being achieved by our fishermen
- New measures to develop an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture sector, which could reduce our dependence on imported products.
- Greater regionalisation of the decision making process with an enhanced role for industry.
The Minister went on to say "Following my discussions with Commissioner Damanaki and other fellow Ministers, I am satisfied that while there are differences of opinion around the table, I am confident that I can work with my colleagues to produce a practical and effective policy for fisheries into the future. The protection and support for our coastal communities dependent on the seafood sector is uppermost in my mind and my ultimate objective in this reform process".