Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has successfully secured an increased Mackerel quota share for the Irish fleet.
Following intensive engagement at the EU Fisheries Council of Ministers which began on Sunday, Minister McConalogue successfully negotiated a permanent allocation of additional Mackerel quota for the Irish fleet:-
“This issue centred on the allocation and distribution of an EU mackerel quota historically linked to an agreement with Norway. This quota has been unallocated for the past two years and I was determined to reach a resolution on this issue. Mackerel is Ireland’s most important pelagic stock and the cuts due to the quota transfers under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement significantly impacted our fleet. This new, permanent allocation of Mackerel quota, while not replacing all of the quota we have lost, will be worth approximately €3 million annually for Ireland’s fishermen.”
This year, the EU’s negotiations with the UK and Norway concluded in advance of December Council. This means that there will be no need for provisional Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas as the final, full year quotas will apply from 1 January 2024.
Minister McConalogue said:-
“Most of Ireland’s commercial fish stocks are now shared with the UK and the satisfactory conclusion of the bilateral EU-UK negotiations will provide much-needed stability for our fishermen. The final outcomes represent a balanced result overall for the key fish quotas for Ireland. We have increases for a number of our important commercial stocks including Nephrops in the Porcupine Bank, Celtic Sea Monkfish and Megrim and North-west Haddock and Whiting. Restricted, by-catch only TACs have been set for vulnerable stocks to help them recover.”
Commenting on the outcome of the EU-Norway bilateral agreement, the Minister said:
“I welcome the continuing downward trend in the level of Blue Whiting used in the EU’s quota transfer to Norway as well as the level of Norway’s access to fish Blue Whiting in European waters, particularly those waters west of Ireland. Ireland’s contribution to the Blue Whiting transfer for 2024 is less than the 4% cap I established in previous years. In addition, the traditional level of Norwegian access to EU waters is also reduced to approximately 41% for 2024.”
“The timely conclusion of the EU’s negotiations with Third Countries will provide certainty for our fishermen and allow them to plan their activities for the year ahead. I would like to thank Fishing Organisation representatives for their engagement and work throughout this process as well as the long hours and work of my team in securing this positive outcome for Irish fishermen for the year ahead,” concluded Minster McConalogue.