EU and Norway to meet in Ireland to finalise 2013 fish quotas –

EU and Norway to meet in Ireland to finalise 2013 fish quotas Published:  14 January, 2013

Ireland, on behalf of the European Union, is hosting important fisheries negotiations between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

These negotiations on the annual fishing arrangements for 2013 between the European Union (EU) and Norway commence at the National Seafood Centre in  Clonakilty  tomorrow, Tuesday the 15th January.

Economically one of the most important fishing agreements entered into by the EU, the talks involving Norway for 2013 have not concluded successfully so far due to difficulties on a number of fronts notably, balancing an exchange of fishing opportunities, mutual access arrangements, and cod management arrangements.

Over seventy delegates from across Europe and Norway will meet at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty for the week-long talks.

The talks will in part deal with the arrangements for 2013 for the annual €1 billion mackerel fishery. It is expected that, in light of the continuing refusal of Iceland and the Faroe Islands to enter fair and appropriate management arrangements for mackerel, both the EU and Norway, as the largest shareholders of the North East Atlantic mackerel stock, will take this opportunity to finalise fishing limits for mackerel for 2013.

Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said: “I hope that the question of quotas for mackerel in particular are finalised this week to allow our industry plan for the year ahead. I also expect that with a successful  outcome on the exchange of fishing quotas and access arrangements will enable the finalisation of quotas for other stocks such as Blue Whiting and the Herring in Norwegian waters  which are of major importance to our pelagic fishing fleet. Agreement on access for Norwegian vessels to EU waters is also vital to facilitate the landing and processing of Norwegian Blue Whiting in our pelagic factories along the west and north west coasts. ”

On mackerel the Minister added: “I am very concerned about the ongoing crisis associated with the mackerel stock.   It is imperative that pressure is applied to Iceland and the Faroes to cease their unsustainable fishing operations and come to the table with meaningful proposals to resolve the impasse.    With that in mind, I am seeking a joint approach by Norway and the EU on appropriate   measures to address the current overfishing of Mackerel by Iceland and the Faroes.

“It is a good opportunity for Ireland, at the start of its Presidency of the European Union, to host these important talks and to put Ireland again centre stage in terms of our positive role within the European Union. Over seventy international delegates descending on Clonakilty for a week in mid January will bring a welcome boost to the local economy .”

Scottish Liberal Democrat fisheries spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP said, on the eve of the talks:

“These are vital talks for local fishermen. We need a constructive, positive and good outcome from these EU/Norway negotiations. The idea that all is calm in Scottish fishing waters for 2013 after the Christmas Fisheries Council is laughable. Our boats still face major financial challenges and therefore these negotiations are extremely important for the year ahead.”