Irish welcome progress in blue whiting talks

PROGRESS was made at international blue whiting fisheries negotiations hosted by Ireland, said Irish minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney today.
After the talks, hosted by Ireland at the National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty, Co Cork, the minister said: ‘I am pleased that serious efforts were made this week to resolve the contentious issue of how this important fish stock is shared between the various parties.
‘The current sharing arrangement for this large fish stock, which is heavily fished to the north west of Ireland and Scotland in the spring time, has broken down.
‘The European Union and other parties are looking for a fairer long term sharing arrangement of this valuable resource.
‘The European Commission made a strong case for an increased EU share, which would also mean an increase in Ireland’s quota.
‘It’s unfortunate that a final agreement was not possible with our international partners in this fishery but substantial progress was made in the negotiations.
‘I am hopeful that an equitable sharing arrangement can be found when the parties next meet.’
Negotiations on international management of the very large North East Atlantic blue whiting fishery began on Tuesday and were hosted by Ireland on behalf of the European Union.
Delegates from the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, as well as Ireland, attended.
Fishing industry representatives were also present to monitor the negotiations. The blue whiting fishery is very important to Ireland and for 2015 the Irish quota is more than 23,000 tonnes.
This quota is landed directly into Killybegs and is increasingly processed for human consumption in fish factories, which have pioneered the use of this resource for human consumption.
In addition to the catch by the Irish fleet, vessels from the UK and Norway have landed over 32,000 tonnes of the species into Killybegs this year, creating additional employment in the fish processing industry.