20th June

Mackerel quota increase of 14% for Irish fishermen

Ireland's mackerel fishing industry will increase by more than 10,000 tonnes in 2017 to a quota of 86,429 tonnes. The increase was secured by marine minister Michael Creed at recent international fisheries negotiations between the EU, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland on the €1bn annual mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic. 

Killybegs

Killybegs, Co Donegal, Ireland's pelagic stronghold 

“Mackerel is our most valuable fishery and allied to the fact that we are the second largest EU quota holder, these negotiations are of crucial importance to the Irish fishing industry", worth over €10m directly to catching sector with further added value through the processing factories in Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork, Minister Creed outlined.

“The quotas agreed for 2017 are consistent with the Long term Management Strategy agreed by the parties last year to provide sustainability and stability in this hugely valuable fishery in line with the scientific advice. Industry representatives, in particular, Sean O’Donoghue of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, Patrick Murphy of the Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation and Francis O’Donnell of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation were very helpful to the Irish negotiating team throughout the negotiations,” he added.

Commenting on the outcome, Sean O'Donoghue said it was "good news" for pelagic fishermen and reflected not only the scientific advice but also the reality on the fishing grounds of a very large stock that continues to grow. "I expect we will continue to see a very large markerel stock given the recruitment coming into the  fishery," he said.

The current sharing arrangement was agreed in 2014 between three parties: EU, Faroes and Norway, and an amount is held in reserve to accommodate other parties. This agreement expires in 2018 and negotiations on a new agreement will commence in 2017.

"This affords an opportunity to renegotiate the 20% reduction in our share that occurred as part of that agreement. This reduction has been masked over [recent] years given the very large mackerel stock, but should the stock decline in the long-term, the reduction of 20% in our share would mean siginficant losses of mackerel fishing opportunities for Ireland," Sean O'Donoghue warned.

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