Increases in fishing quotas hailed
Valuable increases in fishing quotas will support on-shore employment in Ireland's processing industry, a minister said.
Simon Coveney said he was delighted with the outcome of talks on next year's EU fishing quotas, which will allow the Irish fishing fleet to look forward to 2012 with optimism.
The Marine Minister said the immediate reopening of Irish Sea prawn fishery and a hike in quotas will push the total value of next year's fishing opportunities to a record level of 250m euro.
"The measures agreed in these negotiations will maximise employment and economic activity in our coastal communities," he added.
Mr Coveney said his priority during three days of intensive negotiations was to achieve an outcome that protected the Irish fishing industry while respecting the most up-to-date scientific data for priority stocks of critical importance to fleets.
He described the immediate reopening of the Irish Sea prawn fishery as a very significant hard-won achievement and said he secured catches of 141,000 tonnes of pelagic and tuna quotas and 36,000 tonnes of white fish.
In the Celtic Sea the Irish quota for cod is increasing by 77%, haddock and whiting are up 25% and 15% respectively, while quotas for pollock and saithe remain at existing levels. There is a also a 200% rise in the haddock quota off Donegal.
The Irish quota for Celtic Sea herring is also increasing from 11,407 tonnes to 18,236 tonnes, a 60% increase.
"These are valuable quota increases and will support additional on-shore employment in the processing industry," said Mr Coveney.
The minister said he also negotiated a significant increase in the Irish quota of 155% for the spring boarfish fishery off the south-west coast, which he described as a new and very exciting fishery.