Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has welcomed the increase in the Irish fleet’s quota for blue whiting from 28,438 tonnes last year to 53,776 tonnes in 2023.
This comes with the conclusion of the extended negotiations between the EU and Norway and a bilateral fisheries agreement for 2023 being struck.
‘These are always difficult negotiations with different Member States having different interests. For Ireland, I am satisfied that the final outcome is the strongest possible one for our fishers. They now have a quota of 53,776 tonnes for 2023 worth in excess of €13 million,’ Charlie McConalogue said.
‘There were many different elements in these complex talks including reciprocal access to waters and transfers of quotas between the parties and internally in the EU. In that regard, I am particularly satisfied that in relation to Blue Whiting Ireland was able to secure a 33% reduction in the traditional level of Norwegian access to EU waters from 68% to 45% and their complete exclusion from the Blue Whiting fishery in the Irish Box off the North West Coast of Ireland.’
He commented that in terms of quota transfers he was able to maintain the principle that Ireland’s contribution to the EU quota transfer to Norway would be capped at 4% and established for first time that Ireland would be directly compensated with additional quota by other Member States for transfers and access provisions.
‘In this regard I was able to secure an additional 4820 tonnes of blue whiting for the Irish fleets,’ he said.
‘Scientific advice tells us that the blue whiting stock is in good shape and expanding rapidly and this coupled with the agreement secured bodes well for the sustainability of this fishery for Irish fishers going forward.’
He thanked industry representatives Aodh O’Donnell (IFPO), Sean O’Donoghue (KFO), Patrick Murphy (ISEFPO) and Brendan Byrne (IFPEA) for what he described as ‘close cooperation throughout the process and their active campaigning in Europe that helped to secure this strong outcome for Irish fishers.’