Ireland’s fishing industry could face losses of up to €70m based upon European Commission proposals to limit catches, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has warned.
At the final day of scheduled talks of EU Fisheries Council in Brussels today, Mr Coveney will use research provided by BIM and British experts to argue for less restrictive catch limits for some stocks. He will argue that the EU’s response to available scientific studies on healthy stocking levels is excessive.
“I am not convinced that the proposed level of cuts is justified in certain cases,” said Mr Coveney. “The total financial impact of the proposed cuts would, according to BIM, amount to over €70 million. I accept that some reductions are inevitable to protect the health of stocks, but I also believe that the Commission’s interpretation of the scientific advice in some cases is excessively precautionary and will result in increased discarding of fish at sea. I do not wish to see the council taking decisions which could result in an increase in quota-driven discards.”
Mr Coveney said a proposed 24% cut to prawn catches would have a very negative impact on Irish coastal communities.
He had similar concerns about proposals to cut haddock by 75%, cod by 33%, whiting by 22%, megrim by 20% and sole by 20%. Other proposed cuts in stocks of particular concern include pollock (20%), haddock and cod in the Irish Sea (20%), and sole in the Irish Sea (33%) as well as horse mackerel (40%) and monkfish in the north-west (20%).
However, due to a lack of progress in separate talks between the EU and Norway and between the EU, Norway, the Faroes and Iceland, today’s Fisheries Council talks will only discuss provisional quotas for mackerel, blue whiting, and Atlanto Scandic herring.
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