By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Killeen today welcomed the conclusion of EU/Norway consultations on Fisheries in Brussels yesterday which gives long term stability for the Mackerel Stock

Minister Killeen said "I am relieved that at last we were able to agree measures on a number of fronts with Norway which will put our fisheries on a more stable footing for future years".

These talks which are normally complex and cover a number of management issues relating to joint fish stocks, control, setting TAC's and exchanges in fishing opportunities, were further complicated by the irresponsible fishing activities of Iceland on the mackerel stock, demands by the Faroe Islands for more mackerel quota and most importantly a dispute between Norway and the EU on access arrangements for the mackerel fishery.

The Minister stated that "in the final analysis reaching agreement hinged on the mackerel issue and I am heartened that as the two largest shareholders of this most important stock, Norway and the EU, now have a common understanding and more importantly a comprehensive 10 year deal on mackerel arrangements. This separate agreement to the normal bi-lateral arrangements on fishing opportunities, commences in 2011 and will provide much needed stability and security for our fishermen and processors into the future".

The long-term mackerel arrangement cements relative sharing ratios between the EU and Norway, sets out specific reciprocal access arrangements, deals with areas of control and other key management issues. A separate interim arrangement has been put in place for 2010.

The Minister stated that "Economically speaking mackerel is our most important stock and it is imperative that we protect the sustainability of the fishery. This deal will have the added benefit of placing both parties in a position of unified strength before commencing future talks with the Faroe Islands and Iceland on the mackerel fishery".

With regard to the regular arrangements with Norway on exchanges of fishing opportunities, Ireland benefits little from the transfers of whitefish such as cod, plaice and sole in the North Sea and Arctic cod.  Our main imperative therefore is to limit the transfer of pelagic stocks to Norway in exchange (especially Horse Mackerel and Blue Whiting) for Arctic cod.   Ireland also contributes significantly to the transfer arrangements with the Faroe Islands for no appreciatiable benefit.

Minister Killen said "I fought hard at the December Fisheries Council for a recognition of the unfair treatment of Ireland in the transfer process and succeeded in getting the Commission to state in writing to the Council that they would make every effort to limit the negative impact of the exchange, particularly on Ireland. I am happy to say that my efforts have borne fruit and the Commission have made good on their commitment and when considering the Faroes and Norwegian agreements together our overall contribution in Horse Mackerel will be down by nearly 50% with a small drop in our Blue Whiting transfer. There is still further work to be done on this, and I will be seeking a fundamental review of the process as part of the Common Fisheries Policy review".

The Minister concluded by saying "I want to take this opportunity to thank the  Federation of Irish Fishermen for their valuable advice and support and acknowledge Sean O Donoghue, Chief Executive of the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation, who was in attendance at all the negotiations and was  available at all times to  advise on the impacts of the proposed arrangements on the Irish fleet.   I would also like the thank Commissioner Borg and the Commission officials for honouring the commitment they gave at the December Council. The agreement signed yesterday has been the culmination of an arduous negotiation process with compromises on both sides. I am convinced that the result will put our respective fishing sectors on a sound footing, will heal the strained relationship which has existed in recent months between EU and Norway and most importantly will send a signal to other parties that the EU and Norway are singular in their determination to maintain a sustainable mackerel fishery for future generations"

Date Released: 27 January 2010