Michael Creed T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today announced the outcome of two policy reviews relevant to the fishing industry.
The first concerns proposals the Minister received from the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO) for a revised mackerel distribution between the Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) Pelagic segment and Polyvalent segment of the Irish Fishing Fleet.
The Minister undertook a full public consultation which commenced on the 10th January 2017 and ran until the 28th February 2017 during which 353 responses were received. A wide diversity of views were submitted and, to support transparency, were made publicly available on the Department’s website where consent for such publication was given by the parties in question.
The Minister carefully considered the submissions made and the issues raised during the public consultation process and having undertaken a detailed evaluation, the Minister’s amended policy on mackerel management is attached at Appendix 1 and will be available on the Department’s website.
The second policy review relates to separate proposals from the ISWFPO which related to amending replacement capacity rules for fishing vessels. The review also covered a proposal from the KFO for the ending of a fishing effort regime for the RSW Pelagic segment.
The Minister undertook a public consultation process and 26 submissions were received, which are also on the Department’s website. Following full consideration of the submissions made and the issues arising, the Minister’s amended policy is attached at Appendix 2 and will be available on the Department’s website.
Ministerial Decision Regarding a Proposal From the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation (Is&wfpo) for a Revised Mackerel Distribution Between the Polyvalent Segment and the Rsw Pelagic Segment.
1. Following the request received from the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO) a review of the policy on mackerel allocations between the RSW pelagic segment and the polyvalent segment of the fleet was undertaken. After a full public consultation and careful consideration of the issues raised, my decision regarding the review of the policy is as follows:
1.1 Where Ireland’s mackerel quota in the annual TAC and quota Regulation is 90,000 tonnes or below, for 2017 and future years, the 87%-13% share out in the allocation of mackerel quota between the Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) Pelagic segment and Polyvalent segment of the fleet will remain unchanged. Any adjustments (swops, carry-over/ deductions as provided by EU Regulation) will not be taken into account for establishing this threshold.
The share out will be applied post adjustments in respect of contingency, swops, carry over/deductions (as provided for by EU Regulation) and the allocation set aside for Hook and line fishery for vessels under 15m.
1.2 Where Ireland’s mackerel quota in the annual TAC and quota Regulation is above 90,000 tonnes, the share out will be adjusted so that the element in excess of 90,000 tonnes is shared out on an 80%-20% basis between the RSW Pelagic segment and the Polyvalent segment. The quantity in excess of 90,000t will be taken off first and in full and allocated on an 80%/20% basis.
The balance below 90,000t will be shared out on an 87%-13% basis between the RSW Pelagic segment and the polyvalent segment after adjustments in respect of contingency, swops, carry over/deductions (as provided for by EU Regulation) and the allocation set aside for Hook and line fishery for vessels under 15m.
1.3 A minimum of 2% of the mackerel quota in the TAC and quota Regulation or 1,000 tonnes, whichever is the greater, will be deducted annually for demersal swaps before any share out between segments is undertaken in accordance with (a) and (b) above.
2. Reasons for Policy Changes
2.1 Introduction of a threshold of 90,000 tonnes above which an adjustment would occur in the share out in the allocation of mackerel quota between the Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) Pelagic segment and Polyvalent segment of the fleet.
When the mackerel quota is high, it can be expected, allowing that prices may fluctuate, that the RSW Pelagic fleet does well, recognising that it has the 87% share of the mackerel quota. Over the past 3 years the mackerel quota has been, in recent historic terms, relatively high. It has fluctuated and the average quota for recent years (2014 -2016) is 90,000 tonnes. In these particular circumstances of atypically high quota allocation, a basis exists for allocating an increased share to the Polyvalent segment to provide that it receives proportionately a larger benefit. Such an amendment supports the proper and effective management and rational exploitation of the mackerel fishery. In these circumstances, the polyvalent segment would get an increased share of 20% in respect of that element in excess of 90,000 tonnes only
2.2 A minimum of 2% of the quota in the TAC and quota Regulation or 1,000 tonnes, whichever is the greater, will be deducted annually for demersal swaps before any share out between segments is undertaken.
Setting aside a minimum quantity of mackerel quota is intended to take account of the level of swops in recent years and deliver a greater level of assurance for such swops. This amount should be capable of being increased on the advice of the Quota Management Advisory Committee (QMAC) if required. The initial amount being set aside for swaps to be deducted annually for demersal swaps before any share out between segments is undertaken.
Fleet Policy Statement
1. Replacement capacity requirements for vessels in the Tiered and Ring-fenced portions of the Polyvalent segment
1.1 Vessels in the Tiered (mackerel) and Ring-fenced (herring) portions of the Polyvalent segment may source up to a maximum of 10% of the required replacement capacity from non-Tiered/non-Ring-fenced vessels in the same sub-segment at a ratio of 1.5:1.
1.2 This non-Tiered/non-Ring-fenced capacity does not assume the character of being Tiered/Ring-fenced for subsequent licensing of a vessel.
1.3 In the case of Polyvalent vessels Tiered for mackerel, the 1.5:1 ratio applies to both gross tonnage (GT) and kilowatts (kW).
1.4 In the case of Polyvalent vessels which are not Tiered for mackerel and which are only ring-fenced in the Celtic Sea and/or North-west Herring Polyvalent portions, the 1.5:1 ratio applies to GT only. In such cases, the required kW will continue to be sourced at a ratio of 1:1.
1.5 The surplus non-Tiered/non-Ring-fenced capacity provided under this arrangement, will be regarded as being decommissioned and will no longer be available for use as replacement capacity under any circumstance.
2. RSW Pelagic Effort Regime
The RSW Pelagic Effort Regime, as set out in Part B of Policy Directive 2/2003, will no longer apply.
3. Reasons for Policy Changes
3.1 The Minister has decided that polyvalent vessels to be licensed in the Tiered (mackerel) and/or Ring-fenced (herring) portions will be able to source up to a maximum of 10% of the required replacement capacity from non-Tiered/non-Ring-fenced vessels in the same sub-segment of the fleet at a ratio of 1.5:1.
The application of a ratio will help to ensure that any increases in capacity are necessary, sustainable and managed in a manner consistent with the need to ensure that Ireland continues to meet its obligations with respect to its fleet capacity ceiling at EU level.
Furthermore, there is a limited amount of off-register capacity available in the Tiered (mackerel) or Ring-fenced (herring) portions of the Polyvalent segment. By allowing some flexibility like this in the provision of Tiered (mackerel) and Ring-fenced (herring) Polyvalent capacity, operators seeking to increase the capacity of their vessels for technical/safety reasons will have the opportunity to do so and will still be able to retain their eligibility to fish for herring and/or mackerel.
3.2 The EU Fleet management programme which established the RSW Pelagic effort regime has been superseded by the Common Fisheries Policy, which focuses on output limits, such as TACs and Quotas, rather than effort regimes as a means of sustainably managing fish stocks. For this reason, and the apparent lack of compatibility of the effort regime with the current activities of the RSW Pelagic segment, the Minister has decided to discontinue the RSW Pelagic effort regime.