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Minister Achieves Breakthrough in Preventing Privatisation of Fish Quotas

15 May 2012
Irish Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

IRELAND - The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney at the EU Fisheries Council welcomed the Danish Presidency proposal which allows each Member State to implement its own management arrangement for fish quotas.

Ireland had strongly opposed the EU Commission proposal that would have required all Member States to privatise national fish quotas, and allow them to be traded on the open market.

Minister Coveney said: "Since my appointment as Minister, I have made the protection of Ireland's fishing resources and fishing industry my top priority. At every available opportunity, such as last month's Fisheries Council, at bilateral meetings with fellow Ministers, I set down my strong opposition to this proposed privatisation of our national fish quotas. Privatising fish quotas would have been a serious threat to the economic survival of our coastal communities. If fish quotas were traded on the open market they could be bought by international corporations and would no longer be landed into Ireland. This would directly threaten economic activity in our main fishing ports with the loss of jobs not only in the fleet but also in the vital fish processing sector."

Minister Coveney added: "I have argued consistently that Member States should be able to determine their own management arrangements for their own particular circumstances. In Ireland, fish quotas are a State-owned national asset and can be used to the benefit of our coastal communities and family owned fishing fleet."

"This win helps us to ensure that the public resource model for our fisheries is not threatened and the family ownership of our fishing fleet is protected".

The Common Fisheries Policy reform agenda is under discussion by the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament. This will continue into the Irish Presidency during the first 6 months of 2013. Discussions focussed on EU funding arrangements under the new Common Fishing Policy, covering the funding for development support, innovation in the seafood sector, scientific advice and control. There were also discussions on providing scientific advice for fish stocks so that in future years there will be greater assurance that stocks are fished in a sustainable manner.

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