Minister Creed today acknowledged the outcome of the international fisheries negotiations which concluded in Bergen, Norway between the European Union, Norway, and the Faroe Islands and on the management of mackerel in the North East Atlantic.
Minister Creed said “These challenging international mackerel negotiations, at which Ireland was a central participant as the second largest EU quota holder, have been finalised today. The countries involved in the negotiations have agreed to a 20% reduction in their Mackerel quotas for 2019. 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.”
Minister Creed also said “Agreement was reached on a two year extension of the sharing arrangement between the main parties – the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands. 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.”
Mackerel is Ireland’s single most valuable fishery and today’s agreement provides stability combined with a precautionary approach to help ensure the long term sustainability of the stock.
The mackerel quota for Irish fishermen for 2019 will be just over 55,000 tonnes. This reflects a precautionary and progressive approach in applying the scientific advice. That advice is currently also being reviewed and assessed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The Coastal States will meet again to consider the outcome of that review when it becomes available. This is expected to happen early in 2019.
The Minister added that “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 Fishermens Organisation were extremely helpful to the Irish negotiating team.”