Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill has expressed her disappointment with proposed European Commission fish quotas for two of Northern Ireland's main fish stocks.
Minister O’Neill said: "On Thursday 26 November, the European Commission finally made proposals for fish stocks that are subject to the fish landing obligation in 2016. These included proposals for the prawn stock around Ireland and Irish Sea haddock. Whist I appreciate the complexity of trying to estimate additional quota to account for extra fish that will have to be landed next year under the landing obligation, I am of the view that the Commission has got the basic quotas wrong for both these stocks.
"The prawn proposal represents a 10 per cent reduction, which is in excess of the 2 per cent reduction suggested by the scientific advice. As this figure also includes an uplift for additional fish that will have to be landed next year, the actual reduction is far greater, at around 17 per cent.
"The Irish Sea haddock proposal appears to have completely ignored positive trends that show that the stock is at its highest level since the early 1990s. This suggests the quota should be increased, yet the proposal represents a reduction of at least 52 per cent.
"Clearly this December’s Fisheries Council is going to be very difficult and highly complicated given that the proposals for many stocks have been announced a month later than usual, and Member States will want to fully ascertain how discard quota uplifts have been calculated. I will fight hard to secure sensible and sustainable fish quotas to enable our fishermen to maintain viable fishing operations."
TheFishSite News Desk