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Coveney Welcomes Crucial International Negotiations on €1 Billion Mackerel Industry

Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today welcomed the start of crucial international negotiations on mackerel quotas for the North East Atlantic.  The negotiations are being hosted by Ireland in the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, County Cork.

Minister Coveney said that “I am very pleased that Ireland is hosting these negotiations.  Mackerel is the single most important stock for the Irish fleet and the value of the international mackerel industry has been estimated at €1 billion annually to the parties. We need to secure agreement at international level on management arrangements for this stock. I very much hope that a fair and balanced agreement can be reached this week at what I am sure will be intensive and tough talks.”

The aim of the negotiations is to try and reach agreement on the sharing arrangements for mackerel between the EU, Norway, Iceland & the Faeroes islands.  The Russian Federation and Greenland will also participate as observers. Up to 70 international delegates are expected in West Cork for the week long negotiations.

Minister Coveney went on to say “From an Irish perspective, I have never accepted the irresponsible behaviour of  both Iceland and the Faeroe Islands, who have engaged in unacceptable unilateral fishing of the shared mackerel stock over the past number of years.  That said, let me be clear, I want an agreement this week, just not at any cost.  Iceland and Faeroes are entitled to a fair and justifiable share but any new agreement must also protect the interests of EU Member States, like Ireland,  who have relied on this fishery for over 40 years.”

At last month’s Council meeting of Fisheries Ministers, Minister Coveney outlined his view that any new offer to Iceland must be jointly agreed with Norway on the basis of equal burden sharing and that Iceland should not be granted access to EU waters as a part of any deal. The Minister also expressed his support for an initiative from the European Pelagic industry.  Minster Coveney said today that “I consider that the industry initiative, involving a tiered approach with different percentage shares for each of the parties depending upon the scientific advice on the size of the stock, might form the basis for a balanced and equitable agreement.  Ireland will continue to work closely with the Commission, who negotiate on behalf of the EU, and other Member States with a significant interest in the fishery at the negotiations in the National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty with a view to finding a solution acceptable to all.”

Date Released: 18 November 2013