Aquaculture for all

Tough Negotiations on Fish Quotas


UK - Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew has met with members of the Tri-Council Fisheries Working Group to discuss issues affecting the local fishing industry.

Speaking afterwards, the Minister said: "This was a useful meeting, in which we discussed a range of matters impacting on the fishing industry here.

"In particular we discussed the recent scientific advice on prawns and priorities for this years December Fisheries Council. The advice for prawn quotas in the Irish Sea is disappointing and, I believe that, an over cautious approach has been taken by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) in proposing a significant cut in the prawn Total Allowable Catch (TAC).

"Our own scientists have a different view and I have already asked for a robust scientific case to be prepared to argue for a higher but still sustainable TAC than the ICES approach would suggest.

"Elsewhere the advice was much as expected with no change indicated in TACs for Irish Sea herring, and haddock. However, further reductions in cod quota are likely.

"However, between now and December I will be working hard to secure the best possible fishing opportunities for our fleet in 2010. I have already had several meetings with my counterparts in Scotland, England and Wales, and I have also met with Commissioner Borg. I will also meet my counterpart in the South to discuss how we can work together and influence the Commission to our mutual benefit.

"On support for the industry I was able to inform the Working Group that I hope to open four key measures of the European Fisheries Fund within the next two weeks. These measures will fund activities of collective benefit to the fishing sector, such as safety and pilot gear trials. The measures also cover port improvement, processing and marketing and investment in aquaculture.

The Minister added: "I was also urged to support the work of the Trawlermens Trading Company in Portavogie which has made a significant contribution in reducing fishing costs and improving revenue for its members. I was happy to confirm that EFF funding would continue to be available for good capital projects proposed by the organisation."