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Written Answers. - EU Fishing Industry.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 40. Mr. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey  if he will make a statement on the outcome of the pre-Christmas Fisheries Council. [3485/02]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey The outcome of the Fisheries Council in December was generally satisfactory from an Irish viewpoint. The negotiations were unusually difficult and prolonged. Close liaison was maintained with the representatives of the fishing industry throughout the Council.

The Commission had proposed large-scale reductions in total allowable catches for a number of stocks. The scale of the reductions in many cases were not justified on scientific grounds. Where the scientific advice on stocks was robust, I argued for a more stepped approach involving enhanced technical conservation measures as opposed to across the board cuts. I underlined the case for a sustainable balance between the requirement to protect fish stocks and the need to sustain the livelihoods of fishermen. We succeeded in transforming the Commission proposals which would have reduced Irish whitefish quotas by more than 30% into a 5% increase over last year's quotas.

Ministers also agreed to extend for six months the current EU fleet programme which will enable investment in the fleet to continue pending new Commission proposals. The Commission also proposed quotas for deep-sea fish stocks. This proposal was not a balanced one and we successfully opposed it. The Commission also made a presentation on its proposal for a multi-annual cod and hake recovery programme. These proposals are now being discussed with a view to decision at the April Council.

The most difficult and prolonged part of the negotiations was the successful defence of Ireland's Hague Preference entitlement as an intrinsic part of relative stability. This was achieved in the face of extraordinary hostility by the Commission and certain other member states.

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