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Decision on mackerel quota review welcomed in Donegal

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

Decision on mackerel quota review welcomed in Donegal

Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation has welcomed the decision review of the national mackerel quota.

The fishing fleet in the north west is to retain its share of the national mackerel quota after a review by  Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The review followed proposals from the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO) for a revised mackerel distribution between the Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) Pelagic segment and Polyvalent segment of the Irish Fishing Fleet.

The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has welcomed the decision by the minister to reject the formal request by the Irish South and West Fish Producer's Organisation to have 100% of the additional 2017 mackerel quota allocated to it.

This means that the 10,589 additional tonnes will now be allocated in accordance with existing sharing arrangements of 87% to the RSW fleet and 13% to the polyvalent segment.

KFO Chief Executive, Seán O’Donoghue said: “I am pleased that the minister made his decision solely on the facts, stakeholders’ submissions and analysis. All we had sought was that the existing percentage sharing arrangements be maintained which have shown to properly deal with year on year fluctuations in the national mackerel quota in a fair, transparent and balanced way. We have not gained additional fish, we have retained the existing percentage sharing arrangement which was in place due to the work we have put into building a pelagic industry in the North West. It is the correct decision and we welcome it even if has taken far longer than we anticipated. We had always maintained that this review was unnecessary.

“I would like to acknowledge the role played and efforts made by our members during the public consultation process in putting forward well founded submissions.”

 Deputy McHugh said the decision gave the local fishing industry certainty over the mackerel catch.

 “The quota has been high in recent years and has not exceeded 90,000 tonnes so this now gives a level of certainty to a national industry which is centred on Killybegs,” he said.

 “As everyone knows here in Donegal I opposed the review taking place at all but it did go ahead and I want to play tribute to the KFO and others whose argument all along was solid and based on the realities they face every day.

 “This decision will now allow all those fishing out of Killybegs and the processors in the county to move ahead and continue their investment in their industry.”

 Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher said the decision was indeed welcome news for fishermen in the RSW sector.

“ The RSW boat owners and operators can now rest in the security that the historical precedents regarding mackerel quota distribution is further underwritten now by the Department and the Minister. The fishing sector is facing very uncertain times due on large part to the BREXIT negotiations and the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s desire for a hard Brexit in terms of access to their territorial waters, it is in that context that any alteration to the mackerel quota distribution would have further undermined confidence and acted as a negative towards the RSW sector.”