Stock increases welcome but national quotas still an issue – Ní Riada

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has given a qualified welcome to quota increases for Irish fishermen following the December Council meetings.

The Ireland South MEP said the increases were a step in the right direction and an example of what a unified Irish fishing industry could achieve.

However, Ms Ní Riada, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, warned that the issue of the national allocation of quotas still needed to be addressed.

“Naturally, any measures that will help halt the decline of our fishing industry and the coastal communities it supports are to be welcomed,” she said.

“It was a relief to see that the proposed significant cut of 62% to Celtic Sea herring, which is an important stock for fishermen and communities, particularly along our southern, south-western and south-eastern coasts, was more than halved to 30%. The proposed cut was simply unworkable and would have been hugely socio-economically detrimental.

“I am also pleased to see the increases to some of our demersal stocks.

“However, the overall good these moves will do to our beleagured fishing industry is somewhat negated when they are introduced alongside cuts to our stocks of Hake, whiting, haddock and mackerel fisheries.

“With Brexit threatening the very survival of our indigenous fishing industry it is crucial that Irish fishermen as a whole are supported and protected. Giving with one hand and taking with the other merely leaves us with a sort of lottery where some ports win and others lose out.

“All of Europe now recognises that Ireland faces unique challenges following Brexit and have made special provisions for Ireland in the Brexit negotiations. It’s now time the EU did the same thing for Irish fishermen.”

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