Deal Reached Following Difficult Negotiations Of Fishing Quotas

Simon Coveney T.D. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine today welcomed the deal reached early this morning after two days and an overnight session of difficult and complex negotiations.

Minister Coveney said: "I am pleased that we have secured a good deal for Irish fishermen at the EU Fisheries Council that will support our fishing industry over the coming year and which is sustainable in terms of the fish stocks on which we are dependant."

During the negotiations 6,400 tonnes of whitefish quotas were secured over those proposed in the Commission proposal. At the end of the negotiations which set fish quotas for 2013, Minister Coveney was satisfied to have secured some 36,538 tonnes of whitefish and 180,000 of pelagic (mackerel, herring etc) quotas. The direct value of the total package for the Irish fishing fleet will be €213 million for 2013. The value to the overall Irish economy will be significantly higher when the added value in onshore processing is included.

The quotas finally agreed by Council were very significantly increased from those originally proposed by the European Commission for the 2013 fishing year. Minister Coveney outlined the challenge facing him at this Council.

He continued: "Despite the difficult initial starting position, where I was facing large cuts in over 30 stocks of interest to Ireland, the result achieved is a good deal for the Irish fishing industry. We have secured increases from last year for key stocks including increased prawn quota in all areas totalling 8,733 tonnes and an increased whiting quota in the Celtic Sea amounting to 6,812 tonnes. The package of quotas secured today will support the economies of those coastal communities which are dependent on the resulting employment created both at sea and in onshore related industries."

Minister Coveney was speaking after two days of intensive negotiations, which concluded at 7am this morning. The Minister described the Council as "very challenging" and said that "My primary aim from the outset was to achieve an outcome that protected the overall interests of the Irish fishing industry while respecting the most up-to-date scientific advice for key stocks of critical importance to our fleets. I believe that I have achieved that aim".


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