Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. welcomed the resumption on Wednesday of important international negotiations on the 2019 Mackerel Quotas for the stock in the North East Atlantic. The negotiations, involving eleven 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, County Cork and follow on from an initial round of negotiations in London in October.
Minister Creed said that “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%. 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”.
Minister Creed added: “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 & 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 2019”.
Delegations from Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland & the Faroe 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 went on to say that “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.”
Note for Editors:
Mackerel is concentrated in the waters of the North Eastern Atlantic and is a highly migratory stock which necessitates negotiations between relevant parties (‘Coastal States’) on how best to manage a shared resource in a sustainable manner. The Mackerel fishery is Ireland’s largest fishery and supports a large fleet in Donegal and along the western seaboard. The fishery also supports factories for on shore processing in Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork.