19/12/2007

EC Cuts On NI Fishing Catch Less Than Expected

There was a mixed 'catch' for fishermen from Northern Ireland this week with news that while major quota cuts proposed for fishermen have been averted the number of days they can spend on the Irish Sea has been reduced.

The Government announced the results after extended meetings between the NI Assembly's Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew and EU commissioners with whom she conducted intensive all-night talks.

Ms Gildernew has now said that the agreement at the annual fisheries negotiations in Brussels represented the “best possible outcome” for the local industry.

The good news is that allowable catch quotas for Irish Sea prawns, herring and plaice - which had been in line for reductions - will be maintained at their present levels in 2008.

Also, an anticipated 25% cut of the cod quota has been reduced to 18%, while the number of haddock the Northern Ireland fleet can catch has increased by 5% when a 15% reduction was expected.

Meanwhile, the number of days NI-based trawlers can be at sea, which was due to be cut by 25% across the fleet, has been reduced by only 10% for the prawn fleet and some 18% for the small white-fish fleet.

The Minister said there still the possibility of getting the number of days increased.

Speaking at the end of the talks, Ms Gildernew said: “In partnership with the industry, we had agreed the key priorities for the fishing fleet in the North. We achieved what we wanted thanks to a well-planned approach to the negotiations. I believe this is the best possible outcome to a very difficult negotiation.

“Based on the scientific evidence available, we have secured an increase in haddock and maintained our prawn and herring quota. We have also limited the cuts that the Commission wanted to make to the number of days that our fleet can fish.

“A key issue for all fishing fleets is the number of days that they are allowed to fish.

"The Commission had proposed a 25% cut in the days for the Irish Sea fleet. Again, we convinced the Commission that its proposals were too harsh and brought the cuts down to just a 10% cut in days at sea for the prawn fleet and an 18% for our small white-fish fleet.

“Although the Irish Sea is a mixed fishery, our prawn vessels catch very little cod. Under the terms of the agreement with the Commission, vessels that catch less than 5% cod will experience no cuts in their days at sea under certain conditions. My officials will be having further discussions with the industry early in the New Year about the details of this," she said.

“This has been a long and protracted negotiation and throughout I fought hard to secure the best possible deal for the industry. I have achieved this in partnership with the industry representatives who have worked closely with me and my officials over the past months.

“I look forward to continuing this relationship so that we can maintain a viable fishing industry in the north.

“The results of the fisheries negotiation is tangible evidence of how having a local voice at the table makes a difference. Devolution has delivered for the fishing industry, their needs have been heard and met.”

(BMcC)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 November 2020
DUP Seek Reassurance For NI Car Industry
The DUP have called on the government to ensure the European Union "get real and show respect" for Northern Ireland business regarding the VAT margin scheme.
27 February 2020
Meet The NI Couple Transforming The Funeral Industry
A L'Derry couple has set out to transform the funeral industry by thinking outside the box. The death industry as it's cheerily known is not the most obviously appealing when it comes to career pathways, but 'death care tech' hopes to bring the age old sector right into the 21st century.
27 January 2020
NI Pupils Complete Coding Industry Training
Hundreds of primary and secondary school pupils have been given awards for completing an 'invaluable' computer coding programme. Delivered by PwC, the Hive Academy takes pupils through the fundamentals of coding and the cloud-based platforms used in the industry, with classes delivered both in schools or the firm's Google Lab in Belfast.
13 October 2021
Protocol 'Condemns NI To Further Harm And Instability'
If the Protocol is not replaced it will condemn Northern Ireland to further harm and instability, DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP has said. Responding to a speech by Lord Frost, Mr Donaldson said: "The Protocol does not have the support of a single elected unionist in Northern Ireland.
07 October 2021
Lights Dimmed at Belfast City Hall Over Universal Credit Cuts
The lights at Belfast City Hall were turned off on Wednesday, 06 October, to mark the end of the £20 increase in Universal Credit. Sinn Féin Councillor Ciarán Beattie welcomed the lights being dimmed.