The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD has stressed Ireland’s opposition to the introduction Transferable Fishing Concessions across the EU as proposed by the EU Commission. Speaking at the EU Fisheries Council meeting last week, the Minister also presented a model for the creation of more regional decision making under the CFP.
The Minister said that the privatisation of national fish quotas, through the transferable Fishing Concessions scheme, “would lead, in Ireland, to the buy out of our family owned fleet by well resourced international fishing companies without links to our coastal communities. Under such a system our white fish fleet in the south and south-west and our mackerel and herring fleet in the north-west and west could be bought out and the increasingly internationally owned fleet would increasingly land fish abroad. I explained that this would result in loss of employment in our fishing fleet, processing and other fisheries related jobs in our coastal communities”.
The Minister said he has received support from other European Ministers on the above issue and has met with Commissioner Maria Damanaki and explained his concerns with her. He added: “She appears to now have a much better understanding of the reasons a TFC system would not work for Ireland.”
In relation to regionalisation, Minister Coveney advocated for a system whereby “the new CFP allows measures to be worked up and agreed at regional level with the full involvement of stakeholders through the Advisory Councils, which are already regionally based”. The measures, he continued “would apply commonly to all vessels in the fishery under EU regulation and would be legally enforced on all fleets in shared fisheries. I am satisfied that this model would allow practical and effective conservation measures to be developed at regional level and be put in place in a timely and non bureaucratic manner.”
Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated: “We have made great progress on regionalisation: I’m very optimistic that we will achieve a workable system, not bureaucratic, that can strike the right balance between regionalisation, a new role for our industry and for our advisory bodies and ensuring a level playing field throughout Europe”.