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Coveney fights for Irish Coastal Communities dependent on Mackerel

Minister Simon Coveney T.D., today at the Council of Ministers, and in a separate bilateral meeting with EU fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki made the case for a fair and balanced sharing agreement for mackerel and argued strongly against rewarding Iceland and the Faeroe Islands for their unacceptable and irresponsible actions in respect of the shared mackerel stock over the past number of years. 

The Minister also met with the key Ministers from other member states including Minister Canete from Spain, the new UK Minister, George Eustice and the Scottish Minister, Richard Lochead, and pressed Ireland’s position.

Minister Coveney said that “I outlined today to the key players what I consider must be the fundamental principles for any agreement with Iceland.  Any new offer to Iceland must be jointly agreed with Norway on the basis of equal burden sharing. Iceland must not be granted access to EU waters as a part of any deal. Critically, I made it clear that while any deal should provide a fair and justifiable quota share for Iceland, it must also protect the interests of EU Member States like Ireland who have relied on this fishery for over 40 years.

Negotiations are due to take place in London next week between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faeroes on possible future sharing arrangements’ for the mackerel stock in the North East Atlantic. In advance of those negotiations, Minister Coveney asked that the issue be discussed by the full Council of Fisheries Ministers. He also sought a meeting with Commissioner Damanaki to outline his concerns that any solution to this long running issue must be fair and balanced and not discriminate against the Irish fishing industry.

 Minister Coveney concluded “Ireland will participate fully in the important negotiations next week in London and will do all that we can to ensure that any agreement is balanced and equitable and protects the interests of EU Member States like Ireland who have such a strong reliance on the mackerel stock”.

Date Released: 17 October 2013