23rd September

Prawn fishery closure to Irish vessels

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on government to explain why ‘the most productive prawn grounds in Europe’ are closed to Irish fishermen but not to other boats. On July 25, Irish vessels were instructed to cease fishing by a Closure Order than came into effect at noon.

Castletownbere2

Castletownbere: The prawn fishery on the Porcupine Bank is curently closed to all Irish boats 

“This is an absolutely ludicrous state of affairs where Irish fishermen cannot fish Irish waters, but French, Spanish and British boats can; it beggars belief,” she remarked.

Ní Riada said the situation was a consequence of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments signing up to ‘poorly negotiated deals with Europe in which, despite having 20% of the EU fishing waters, we would only get 2% of the quota’.

Advice from the Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation, the Marine Institute and the Sea-fisheries Authority to close the fishery during the June and July spawning season to all fishermen was ignored, she added.

“This must rank as one of the most incompetent decisions of this government in a long list of incompetent decisions," 

Responding to a query from Inshore Ireland, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) said the state’s policy on the management of fish quotas was set out on their website.

Arrangements between licenced vessel owners and seafood processing firms, in relation to the supply of fish to private fish processing firms ‘are private matters between the parties concerned’.

Background 

Allocation of quota shares between Member States was agreed for most fish stocks back in the early 1980s based on track record at that time. Any change in quota shares between Member States must be negotiated at EU level. ‘

Any increase in shares would involve a reduction for another Member State which makes change difficult to agree.’

Changes are examined during the review of the Common Fisheries Policy which was last reviewed in 2012 and which confirmed the ‘status quo’ on quota sharing. The CFP is due for review by 2022.

Ireland accounts for 42% of landings by weight and 36% of the average value of landings in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone. Ireland also lands 34% of its fish from the UK Exclusive Economic Zone.

Member States directly impacted by BREXIT are working closely together at ministerial and industry levels on Brexit negotiations.

‘The Minister has made clear that he considers this collaboration as essential to deliver for the Irish fishing industry post Brexit’.

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