Concern over quota
Deputy Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has expressed concern for the Irish fishing sector if the independent advice from International Council for Exploration of the Sea ( ICES) is taken in to consideration or adopted by the EU Maritime Member States when arriving at the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the forth coming year.
The headline advice from ICES is that the catch, by all parties including those who operate outside the 2014 Mackerel Agreement, for 2019 should not exceed 318,403 tonnes. This would equate to a 68% reduction compared to total 2018 catches. Ireland's quota would reduce by 61% compared to 2018.
Deputy Gallagher said: "The Irish fishing fleet cannot take a 61% cut in their quota, in fact no sector could sustain such a level a cut in one calendar year – it is simply unsustainable to expect a sector to be cut by 61% and still survive with all the existing overheads an individual would have based on larger annual catches."
Deputy Gallagher said that the Irish Government must immediately take preventive action and engage in a round of talks with similar coastal states in order to prevent such a proposal from even being considered. This will involve serious and hard negotiation on the part of the minister and the Irish Marine Department officials in the coming weeks, otherwise the Irish fishing sector will face catastrophic cuts in the 2019.