NI Fisheries Minister Michelle McIlveen attended the Agri-Fish Council meeting today in Brussels and met with the EU Fisheries Commissioner to promote the position of the Northern Ireland Fishing industry ahead of December’s discussions on next year’s fishing opportunities.
Speaking after her meeting with EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Michelle McIlveen said: “Although formal proposals for the main stocks of interest to our fleet have yet to be published for 2017, I took the opportunity to impress upon Commissioner Vella the importance of prawns and haddock to our local fishing fleet.
“I highlighted to the Commissioner the fact that scientific advice for prawns has improved and presented this as a justification for an increase in the Total Allowable Catch for this stock when quotas are published in December.
“In addition to this, I reinforced the work carried out on Irish Sea haddock stocks which is reflected in a scientific paper which was submitted to the Commission in September and I asked that this is considered fully.”
Council were presented with a paper by the North West Waters Regional Group on the implementation of the fish landing obligation. Commenting on this, Michelle McIlveen said: “The landing obligation is a major challenge for the fishing industry. All of us agree that catching and throwing away dead unwanted fish is extremely wasteful and wrong.
“I outlined how our fleet has done more than most to introduce new technology to cut down discards and that we will continue to explore further options. However, choke species present a real challenge and we need to continue to work to prevent a situation whereby fleets end up tied to the quayside, where there are still substantial quantities of other quota available to fish.”