Marine Minister Michael Creed welcomed today’s (Wednesday 7 November) resumption on Wednesday of important international negotiations on 2019 mackerel quotas for the stock in the North East Atlantic.
The negotiations, involving 11 EU and non-EU countries, are being hosted on behalf of the EU by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine in the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co Cork and follow on from an initial round of negotiations in London in October.
“Mackerel is our single most important fishery economically and the negotiations this year are especially challenging given that the new scientific advice is for a reduction in quotas of 61%,” Minister Creed said.
“There are concerns from the scientific community about the quality of that advice but we need to take full account of all of the available information, the sustainability of the stock and the socio-economic importance of the mackerel fishery to peripheral coastal communities.
“These negotiations will be very difficult. The proposed 61% cut in the mackerel quota for 2019 would be very significant for our fishing industry along the western seaboard, particularly in Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork.
“Ireland is committed to the long-term sustainability of this stock and has worked hard to date to get a more graduated response to the scientific advice, taking account of the fact that this will be subject to a full review and quality assurance early in early 2019.”
Delegations from Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands will try and reach an agreement on the total allowable catch (TAC) for mackerel for 2019.
Up to 50 international delegates are expected in West Cork for the three-day negotiations. Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, supported by scientists from the Marine Institute, will represent Ireland at these negotiations.
Minister Creed added: “I am pleased that Ireland, on behalf of the EU, is hosting this second round of Mackerel negotiations in the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty. The fact that these negotiations are being facilitated by my department in Ireland underlines the economic importance of this stock to the Irish fishing industry.
“Mackerel is the single most valuable stock for the Irish fleet, and indeed the EU as a whole, and it is very much in our interests that we secure agreement at international level on management arrangements and catch levels for this stock.”