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Deal Secured to Increase the Catch of Irish Sea Herring

07 August 2012

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Fisheries Minister, Michelle O’Neill has announced that a deal had been secured with the European Commission for an in-year increase to the catch of Irish Sea Herring.

The Minister said: “I was disappointed and frustrated that the final settlement at the December Council last year had resulted in a 10% cut for Irish Sea herring in 2012. This came about because the Commission implemented a policy to cut catches for those fish stocks which did not have a full analytical assessment. But the decision to cut the herring catch ran contrary to the independent scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

“ICES undertook an in depth review of the science for herring back in February and evidence gathered by our scientists in AFBI enabled ICES to produce a full analytical stock assessment which has been used to provide advice for catches for 2013.

“In light of this we asked the Commission to consider the position for 2012. The Commission has now agreed that the catch for herring for 2012 can be 5,280t and 4,993t for 2013. This will provide an increase in fishing opportunities of 440t over the two year period. My officials have consulted the local industry and they are happy with this outcome.”

The Minister added: “Having a full stock assessment for Irish Sea herring is a very important. This paves the way for the development of a long-term management plan which will determine catch levels in the future. It also opens up the possibility of independent accreditation of the fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council which will assist local processors to market their product. My Department and AFBI will be working closely with the industry on these further developments.”

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