Mackerel Talks: Cope calls for Irish interest to be protected

Ireland North West MEP, Pat the Cope Gallagher, and a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries have today called on the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, to protect Ireland’s €125 million mackerel fishery during crucial talks in London.

Ireland North West MEP, Pat the Cope Gallagher, and a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries have today called on the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, to protect Ireland’s €125 million mackerel fishery during crucial talks in London.

The high level meeting to be held tomorrow (Monday, 3 September) is a further attempt to resolve the long running dispute over mackerel. Representatives from the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands will attend and Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will attend on behalf of the EU.

Mr Gallagher said: “All parties must go into the talks tomorrow with a clean sheet. I firmly believe that if all sides enter the talks with a constructive approach, a basis for a fair sharing arrangement can be put in place. However, the Commissioner must take a firm approach on behalf of Irish fishermen as the demands by Iceland and the Faroe Islands are unjustified.

“No deal is better than a bad deal for EU and Irish fishermen. Iceland has unilaterally increased its mackerel catch from only 363 tonnes in 2005 to 147,000 tonnes in 2012. The Faroese quota for mackerel has soared from 27,830 tonnes in 2009 to 149,000 tonnes in 2012. It would be grossly unfair to reward countries engaged in unsustainable fishing practices with higher quotas.”

Mr Gallagher also confirmed that on the 12th of September in Strasbourg, the European Parliament will adopt the agreement which he brokered with the Danish Presidency of the EU to introduce sanctions against non EU countries engaged in unsustainable fishing practices.