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Creed prepares for key EU Fisheries Council which faces the twin challenges of improving the sustainability of fish stocks whilst maintaining the viability of the fishing industry.

Creed prepares for key EU Fisheries Council which faces the twin challenges of improving the sustainability of fish stocks whilst maintaining the viability of the fishing industry.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., reflected on the progress being made to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishing, ahead of the upcoming annual EU Fisheries negotiations taking place in Brussels on the 16 and 17 of December.

Minister Creed stated “The CFP sets out the objective of settings Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas to deliver sustainable fisheries. This means setting TACs and quotas at levels that ensure long term sustainability, known as Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). At EU level we are committed to apply this level of sustainable management for all stocks by 2020. We are now committed to taking the necessary decisions, including applying reductions where necessary, to rebuild fish stocks. Making prudent decisions now will be of benefit to these stocks – and the fishing industry which depends upon them.”

The Minister commented “While there are many challenges ahead, we must also recognise that significant progress has already been made. For the 74 stocks of interest to Ireland, 35 are now fished at MSY. This figure has been improving, year on year, since 2013.”

The Commission’s proposal includes increases to a number of important stocks including Mackerel (41% increase), Haddock (30% increase), Monkfish (7% increase) and Megrim (3% increase) in the Celtic Sea.

Referring to the proposed cuts to Celtic Sea Cod and Whiting, the Minister said “We fully share the concerns about the current state of these stocks. We are supportive of additional measures to improve selectivity and reduce the quantities of cod and whiting caught in mixed fisheries in order to rebuild these stocks. At these negotiations, my goal will be to work constructively with the Commission and other Member States to find comprehensive solutions which will protect vulnerable stocks while allowing sustainable fishing of other stocks to continue.”

The Minister went on to say “This year has seen the full implementation of the landing obligation or ‘discards ban’, bringing an end to the dumping of perfectly good fish at sea. Implementing the landing obligation is not without its difficulties, but we will continue to work with industry and our experts in BIM and the Marine Institute to make it work.”

As part of the open consultation process on the Commission’s proposal, the Minister met with fishing industry representatives and environmental NGOs on the 25 November. The purpose of this meeting was to give a further opportunity to the main stakeholders to outline their positions on the various aspects of the proposal. The Minister will meet all Stakeholders again on Sunday evening in Brussels ahead of the Council.

Minister Creed added “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders for their efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishing in Ireland and throughout the EU. In particular, I would like to recognise the contribution of the men and women of the fishing industry, who are on the front line of these changes. Without their hard work and dedication, none of this progress would have been possible.”

Date Released: 14 December 2019