The Federation of Irish Fishermen (FIF) says it cannot support the mackerel deal agreed yesterday in London as it has rewarded those that have acted irresponsibly over the last number of years in setting totally unjustified enormous autonomous mackerel quotas.
The fact that Faros were given 12.6% share up from 4.6% and that 15.6% was set aside for Iceland, Russia and Greenland up from 4.78% is totally unacceptable and is rewarding those who have acted in reckless and irresponsible manner over last four years. Sean O’Donoghue commented after the signing; “I can only conclude that the reckless and irresponsible behaviour by the Faroe Islands has paid off and they have been rewarded by a huge increase in their share from 4.6% to 12.6%. This sets a bad precedent for the future as most of the pelagic stocks in the N E Atlantic are shared and jointly managed. We see already that Greenland has copied the approach developed by Faroe Islands and – being outside the agreement – has awarded themselves a 2014 mackerel quota of 100,000 t. In fact the Faroe Islands has already repeated their mackerel behaviour by stepping outside the existing coastal state agreement for Atlanto Scandic Herring in 2011 and setting a unilaterally much higher quota for this vulnerable stock”.
He added; “I consider the reason we have ended up with this unsatisfactory situation in terms of shares is due to the unreasonable behaviour of the European Commission as the sole negotiator for the EU for this type of agreement. The current Commissioner Ms Maria Damanaki has in the view of the FIF alienated herself from the fishing sector by refusing to sufficiently defend the interests of the Irish and EU fishing industry. This is in sharp contrast with the situation in the other coastal states where Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Russia and Greenland strongly defend their industry interests. Ultimately this has led to the EU giving away our valuable mackerel quota that we have effectively managed and grown to a very healthy state over the year. We recognise that Minister Coveney was steadfast in his opposition to the unjustified increases in percentage shares both to Faros and Iceland and that he was on his own in this regard at the Council of Fisheries Ministers. Without his steadfast opposition which was fully supported by FIF the outcome would have been worst particularly in terms of access.”
Ireland’s mackerel quota for 2014 should be approximately 105,000 tonnes a sixty percent increase on the provisional quota issued at the start of the year