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Displaying items by tag: mackerel

#Fishing - The European Union, Norway and the Faroe Islands have agreed to a 20% reduction in mackerel quotas in the North East Atlantic for 2019.

The news for Ireland’s single most valuable fishery was the outcome of international fisheries negotiations which concluded in Bergen, Norway yesterday (Thursday 29 November).

Marine Minister Michael Creed — who described the negotiations, which also took place in Clonakilty earlier this month, as “challenging” — added: “The reductions reflect the available scientific advice that the abundance of this stock has declined. This level of reduction is seen by all parties as essential to ensure that the stock is fished sustainably.”

The minister also confirmed that agreement was reached on a two-year extension of the sharing arrangement between the three main parties. “This provides a welcome degree of stability for this hugely important fishery. Irish fishermen will now have a quota worth over €55m directly to our catching sector for 2019,” he said.

“While the quota for Ireland is less than that of recent years, those quotas were unusually high by historical standards. The quota of 55,000 tonnes achieved today is in line with our historical average quota.

“We must continue to be cautious with this crucially important stock. As always, industry representatives, in particular Sean O’Donoghue of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, were extremely helpful to the Irish negotiating team.”

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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.”

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#MarineWildlife - The RV Celtic Voyager departed the Port of Cork yesterday (Wednesday 24 October) for ‘Operation Orca’, a 12-day survey of an offshore killer whale community associated with the Northeast Atlantic mackerel fishery.

A team of marine scientists from University College Cork is on board the research vessel that’s headed to waters east of the Orkneys, to study the orcas that feed on mackerel between October and February each year.

“This is the first time a dedicated research vessel will be heading up to study these killer whales and we are hopeful to come back with a lot of data,” said PhD researcher and chief scientist Róisín Pinfield in her introductory blog for the survey.

“We will have cameras, GoPros, drones, underwater hydrophones collecting acoustic data so we can hear the killer whales and a RIB so we can get in close if weather conditions allow. Time to pray to the weather gods to keep the storms away!”

The [email protected] blog will be regularly updated by the Celtic Voyager team once they reach the fishing grounds and begin their survey, which runs till Sunday 4 November.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed held a key bilateral meetings on the margins of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg this week with his Danish and Spanish counterparts to discuss Brexit and fisheries priorities.

Minister Creed met the Danish minister for fisheries Eva Kjer Hansen on Brexit, with both ministers agreeing to continue to work together over the upcoming critical period to deliver on the EU guidelines for a future relationship in respect of fisheries.

Minister Creed also held a bilateral with the Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Luis Planas Puchades to discuss development of CAP strategic plans, as well as key concerns with regard to Brexit.

“I welcome the understanding that both Ministers demonstrated in our discussions today with regard to Brexit and its impact on both the Irish agri-food and fisheries sectors,” said Minister Creed yesterday (Monday 15 October).

“There is a strong appreciation of the Irish concerns in the context of Brexit negotiations and I very much welcome the ongoing support provided by my Danish and Spanish colleagues in this regard.”

Ministers Creed and Planas also reviewed challenging issues facing both member states in advance of the full introduction of the discards ban on 1 January next and setting quotas at the December fisheries council that supports the practical delivery of this new policy.

Minister Creed addressed the setting of the mackerel total allowable catch (TAC) and quotas for 2019 in a situation where the scientific advice advocates a 61% cut from 2018.

Minister Creed said: “We need to take full account of the concerns from the scientists themselves about this year’s advice and take account of the socio-economic importance of the mackerel fishery when deciding on a TAC for 2019.

“We must work closely at an EU level with Norway and the Faroe Islands, our partners in the management agreement, to reach a balanced outcome that avoids undue inter-annual fluctuation in the management of the stock.”

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#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed TD has launched a public consultation on the Inshore Fisheries Strategy, following a proposal made by the National Inshore Fisheries Forum.

The consultation process will be open for a seven-week period and is due to close on Friday 17 August.

The proposed strategy will frame the work of the Inshore Forums over the next number of years. It follows an extensive consultation process involving the National and Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums on initiatives that seek to cultivate a more sustainable, profitable and well-managed inshore fisheries sector.

This is the first time in the history of the State that inshore fishermen have set about developing a sector-specific strategy for themselves, the minister’s department added.

“I welcome the crucial role that the Inshore Fisheries Forums have played in its development and I am pleased that the Forum members are continuing to take the lead when it comes to engaging with issues that affect the inshore sector. I would like to thank BIM for facilitating the Forums in undertaking this task,” Minister Creed said.

The development of an inshore strategy will underpin a sustainable inshore fisheries sector and afford an opportunity to target funding support available under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to where it can be most effectively used.

“This is an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute their views on the development of the first strategic plan for the inshore sector,” the minister said. “It is critical that stakeholders have their views considered as this strategy will frame the work of the Inshore Forums over the next number of years and provide a clear direction for the development of the inshore sector.”

Interested parties are invited to view and complete the consultation available online.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has begun an investigation into the State’s monitoring of supertrawlers in Irish waters, according to The Irish Times.

Inconsistencies in Ireland’s mackerel fishery out of Killybegs prompted new controls by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, which are currently under audit by the EU directorate-general for maritime affairs and fisheries.

Ireland’s mackerel quota, the second largest in the EU, was reduced for 2018 to just under 70,000 tonnes in last October’s international fisheries negotiations, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - The new mackerel quota for Irish fishermen for 2018 will be just under 70,000 tonnes (69,143 tonnes) with a landing value of €70 million.

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.”

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Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD today welcomed the positive outcome for Irish Fishermen at the international fisheries negotiations which concluded today at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. These negotiations, between the European Union, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland were focused on the management of the €1billion annual mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic.

The new mackerel quota for Irish fishermen for 2017 will be 86,429 tonnes - an increase of over 10,500 tonnes from 2016.

Minister Creed said:

“Mackerel is our most valuable fishery and allied to the fact that we are the second largest EU quota holder these negotiations are of crucial importance to the Irish fishing industry. In that context, I very much welcome the outcome of the international mackerel negotiations today, hosted by Ireland, in which Irish fishermen will now have over 10,500 tonnes more in 2017. This is worth over €10million directly to our catching sector with further value to be added by our mackerel processing factories in Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork”.

The current sharing arrangement for mackerel was agreed in 2014 between three parties only – EU, Faroes and Norway. An amount is held in reserve to accommodate the other parties. This agreement is due to expire in 2018 and it is expected that negotiations on a new agreement will commence in 2017.

The Minister added that:

“The quotas agreed for 2017 are consistent with the Long term Management Strategy agreed by the parties last year to provide sustainability and stability in this hugely valuable fishery in line with the scientific advice. Industry representatives, in particular, Sean O’Donoghue of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, Patrick Murphy of the Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation and Francis O’Donnell of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation were very helpful to the Irish negotiating team, throughout the negotiations .”

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Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today welcomed the start of important international fishing negotiations on the mackerel stock in the North East Atlantic. The negotiations are being hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine on behalf of the European Commission in the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, County Cork.

Minister Creed said that “I am very pleased that Ireland is, once again, hosting the very important Coastal State Mackerel negotiations. The fact that these negotiations are being held in Ireland emphasises the economic importance of this stock to the Irish fishing industry. Mackerel is the single most valuable stock for the Irish fleet and we need to secure agreement at international level on management arrangements and catch levels for this stock.”

Delegations from Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland & the Faeroe Islands will try and reach an agreement on the total allowable catch (TAC) for mackerel for 2017. The Russian Federation and Greenland will also participate as observers. Up to 70 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 went on to say that "Given the importance of Mackerel to both the Irish catching sector and to our seafood processing industry I very much hope that an agreement on sustainable catch levels for 2017 can be reached next week in the context of the Long Term Management Strategy agreed last year. Ireland currently has a quota of 75,000 tonnes – the second highest share in the EU – and we will be working to achieve an increase in line with the latest scientific advice”.

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#Fishing - Marine Minister Simon Coveney has welcomed the positive outcome of the international fisheries negotiations that concluded today (Tuesday 27 October) at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co Cork.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the negotiations between Norway, the Faroe Islands and the European Union concerned the management of mackerel in the North East Atlantic.

The mackerel quota for Irish fishermen for 2016 will be just over 75,000 tonnes. This reflects a precautionary approach in accordance with the latest scientific advice and the long-term management strategy also agreed between the parties today.

“I welcome the outcome of the international mackerel negotiations today, which Ireland not only hosted but was also a central participant as the second largest EU quota holder," said the minister.

"Irish fishermen will now have a quota of 75,000 tonnes, worth over €63m directly to our catching sector, for 2016 and the new long term management strategy will provide stability to our fishermen in this vital fishery for Ireland by avoiding large variations in the quota from year to year.”

Mackerel is Ireland’s single most valuable fishery and today’s agreement provides a high quota, stability and a framework to help ensure the long term sustainability of the stock.

The latest agreement builds on the five-year sharing agreement reached in March 2014 between those parties. Further discussions on that agreement are expected in the coming months.

Minister Coveney added that “while the quota achieved by Ireland is less than that of the last two years, those quotas were unusually high by historical standards.

"The quota of 75,000 tonnes achieved today is considerably higher than our historical average quota of approximately 54,000 tonnes, apart from the last two years. Crucially, for the sustainability and stability of this vital fishery for Ireland, we now also have a long-term management strategy in place for mackerel.

"As always, industry representatives, in particular, Sean O’Donoghue of the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation were extremely helpful to the Irish negotiating team.”

Published in Fishing

Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today welcomed the start of important international negotiations on the mackerel stock in the North East Atlantic. The negotiations are being hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine on behalf of 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 we need to secure agreement at international level on management arrangements for this stock. I very much hope that agreement on a sustainable strategy can be reached this week at what I am sure will be intensive and difficult talks.”

The aim of the negotiations is to try and reach agreement between the EU, Norway, Iceland & the Faeroe Islands on the total allowable catch (TAC) for mackerel for 2016. The Russian Federation and Greenland will also participate as observers. Up to 70 international delegates are expected in West Cork for the three day negotiations.
Minister Coveney went on to say that "Mackerel is very important both for the Irish catching sector and to our seafood processing industry in Donegal and along the western seaboard and provides significant seasonal employment in Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork. Our aim this week and always is to have a sustainable long term management strategy for this vital shared stock.”
Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, supported by scientists from the Marine Institute will represent Ireland at these negotiations.

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Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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