The figure marks a reduction of more than 17,000 tonnes on the 2017 quota of 86,429 tonnes for Ireland’s most valuable fishery.
Marine Minister Michael Creed TD made the announcement after the international fisheries negotiations which concluded in London on Wednesday (11 October).
These negotiations — between the European Union, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland — were focused on the sustainable management of the €1 billion annual mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic.
“Mackerel is our most valuable fishery and allied to the fact that we are the second-largest EU quota holder, these negotiations are always of crucial importance to the Irish fishing industry,” said Minister Creed.
“There was new scientific advice this year which showed that, while the stock is in good shape, a precautionary approach for long-term sustainability was necessary, with a significant reduction in quota recommended.
“Accordingly, following careful consideration of scientific advice of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and discussions with the Marine Institute and industry stakeholders, I supported a reduction, in line with the agreed Long Term Management Strategy, in the quota for 2018.”
The current sharing arrangement for mackerel was agreed in 2014 between three parties only: the EU, Faeroes and Norway. An amount is held in reserve to accommodate the other parties.
This agreement is due to expire at the end of 2018, and it is expected that intensive negotiations on a new agreement will take place throughout next year.
“The quotas agreed for 2018 are consistent with the Long Term Management Strategy which aims to provide sustainability and stability in this hugely valuable fishery in line with the scientific advice,” Minister Creed added.
“In terms of the negotiations to come these are likely to be further complicated by Brexit. I remain dissatisfied with the 2014 agreement and will be working for a more equitable sharing arrangement that also protects the ongoing long-term sustainability of the mackerel stock.”