300 jobs in jeopardy from Commission proposal

The Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation (KFO) is appealing in the strongest possible terms to Minister Michael Creed to ensure that the European Commission’s proposed cuts for certain key stocks are reversed and that the advised increase for prawns is adopted ahead of next week’s meeting of the Council of Fisheries Ministers to set TACs and quotas for 2018.

These cuts, if adopted by the Council, could result in up to 300 full-time and part-time jobs losses in the fisheries sector and ancillary services. The potential direct losses are approximately €33 million including the 20% reduction in Ireland’s mackerel quota already agreed at the Coastal States negotiations. Some of the pelagic TACs such as mackerel, blue whiting and Atlanto Scandia herring are not included yet in the Commission’s proposals as the international negotiations had not been completed prior to publication of its proposals.

KFO CEO, Seán O’Donoghue said:

“I am very concerned about the potential outcome of this year’s Fisheries Council particularly for certain demersal stocks such as cod, haddock, and whiting in the Celtic Sea and nephrops in ICES area VII and for pelagic stocks Celtic Sea herring. I recognise that when the state of the stock requires it there must be reductions in the fishing opportunities for particular stocks. However, it is my contention in relation to a number of the reductions proposed on our key are unjustifiable and arbitrary. Moreover, they are contrary to the Commission’s own stated position and entirely unacceptable.

For example, the Commission’s proposal for whiting in the Celtic Sea is for a TAC for 2018 of 11,216 tonnes whereas the ICES scientific advice is for a TAC of 19 ,429 tonnes a difference a minus 42%. Likewise, for prawns in area VII the ICES scientific advice is for a 33% increase however the Commission’s proposals do not reflect this increase instead propose the same TAC as this year.”

He added: “The Commission’s proposals take no account of the socio-economic obligations enshrined in the CFP. The proposals only take account of the sustainability principles and even then, the Commission has ignored this principle for certain stocks. If the socio-economic obligations had been taken into account, the proposed cuts in some of our key stocks would almost be eliminated or significantly reduced and I expect Minister Creed to take account of these missing factors from the Commission’s proposals during the Council next week.”

The KFO expects, as in previous years, after the usual battles with other Member States that The Hague Preferences - which see Ireland and the UK getting elevated quotas for a number of key species when reductions are proposed -will be delivered. The loss of these allocations in 2018 would amount to 2,726 tonnes of fish with a direct value of €5million.

The KFO will be meeting Minister Creed and his advisers in Brussels on Sunday night next and on a regular basis during the Fisheries Council negotiations to support his endeavours to deliver the best deal possible in terms of sustainable and economically viable fishing opportunities for Ireland for 2018.

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