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Coveney Attends Irish Skipper Expo, Galway

Commends Irish fishing industry for agreeing a novel conservation initiative to protect young fish in the Celtic Sea

Simon Coveney, T.D, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will visit the Irish Skipper Expo in the Galway Bay Hotel today. The Minister will visit this major annual event for the Irish fishing industry where over 100 companies are displaying their products and services to fishermen.

Minister Coveney, with the fishing industry, has just agreed a novel initiative that promotes the use of selective conservation fishing nets, allowing young fish to escape. Under this initiative in the Celtic Sea, additional quota will be made available by the Minister to skippers of Irish fishing boats which use an escape panel in their nets, allowing young whiting and haddock to escape. The escape panel, developed by the Irish industry, has been endorsed at EU level and is expected to be a mandatory requirement later in the year.

Minister Coveney said "I am delighted to support this proactive initiative from the Irish industry whereby skippers who use escape panels in their fishing gear will have a 25% bonus of quotas of haddock and whiting available to them. The use of this panel will significantly reduce discards of juvenile whiting and haddock in the Celtic Sea, allowing juvenile fish to grow and mature and contribute to increased stock size and returns for fishermen in future years. This initiative effectively ensures that discards are voluntarily reduced through incentive measures and in that respect I wish to compliment our fishing industry for acting proactively. I believe that this offers an example of a practical approach to dealing effectively with the discards problem and retention of a flexible quota allocation system that we should take forward in the context of the Common Fisheries Policy Review."

Minister Coveney concluded "I am very impressed by the scale and expanse of this event which showcases a wide range of products and services for the fishing industry. While visiting the stands, I was able to meet and discuss with fishermen current issues and also get a good understanding of the latest developments and innovations in their industry".



Date Released: 25 February 2012