Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has lambasted the Government for the reduction in the Mackerel quota – which in the forthcoming year will see a fall of 17,200 tonne or a full 20% reduction in their catch, this will have devastating effects on the sector and employment of the area.

The recently announce quota as agreed by the coastal states will see a drop in monetary value of the Mackerel catch of in excess of €17 million to the sector.

Pat the Cope added “I am shocked at the naivety of the Government Chief Whip who this morning has welcomed this measure and announcement – there is no disguising the fact it simply means less catch, less employment and less opportunity for the northwest, and for any Government representative to welcome this, demonstrates how out of touch they are with the sector."

Killybegs based fishing fleet will be able to catch 60,000 in 2018,  that is a full 20% reduction on the 2017 quota when our allocation was 74,000 tonnes, this is a very worrying reduction for the sector and allowing for the massive reduction will have massive implications on the sector in the year ahead. Any sector subject to such reduction will have difficulty in readjusting the business model in the course of one year – reductions of this magnitude should not be enforced on any business sector  added Pat the Cope.

Pat the Cope stated; "Only for the fishing sector having being prepared for the negotiations and were able to draw from scientific advice of their own this situation would have been worse such was the poor preparation work done by the Government in advance of the fisheries negotiations. This is the same Government who in the course of this year attempted a smash and grab of quota rights from the fishermen in the northwest, in redistributing the overall quota for the northwest to the southeast – despite the fact it was the fishermen of the northwest that developed this entire sector nationally.

"This is a bad news story for the sector and one which must be avoided in future years, the fishing sector is one of the few lifelines left at rural coastal communities and greater emphasises must be given to protecting this sector in the years ahead, and more measures need to be put in place in order to develop this sector moving forward," concluded Pat the Cope.

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