Irish Fishermen’s Organistation: Quotas Must Benefit All Fishermen

In a statement issued today, the Irish Fishermen’s Organisation (IFO) said:

Minister Connick was pleased with his negotiations in Brussels during the December quota meeting with €223million Quota for Irish Fishermen.

But isn’t a pity it is not for the benefit of all Irish fishermen. Instead the deal will benefit 35 to 40 pelagic boats mostly in Killybegs with a 10% increase in mackerel, boar fish and herring which again will only benefit those larger boats. The rest will again suffer a 3% cut in prawn which could be up to 1.6milliion euro on top of last year’s cuts, not to mention what might come down the line next year and the following years.

The Celtic Sea will also see a reduction in fishing days, in an area where prawn stock is sustainable.

Ireland has good sustainable prawn fisheries which are very important to the white fish industry. The industry catches its quota not like other EU countries which have quota left over every year.

So the mighty win and the small man get the crumbs as usual. How many all year around jobs are created by the white fish sector and how many could it create if it were given the respect it deserves.

Maybe our minister forgets that we are practically bankrupt and they need to make a better effort to keep this indigenous industry viable.

To think that in 2010 international fleets took 994,155 tonnes of fish out of Irish waters with an estimated value of €1.18billion out of this only €0.19 billion was caught by Irish boats. It is an absolute disgrace for any country to allow this to happen – can you imagine how this could benefit our coastal communities and this island as a whole.

The solution for this bankrupt state lies with the government if they had the courage to develop our fishing industry.

Maybe Angela Merkel would get her money back sooner if she would support the fishing industry!

IFO is very pleased that functional units for area 7 were not introduced and feel that the meeting with Commissioner Damanaki the week before the December Council made a serious contribution to helping keep the prawn fisheries in this area as it is.

Two IFO representatives travelled to Brussels on the 6th – 8th December last and had several meetings with other ROSA (Reclaim Our Seas Alliance) representatives from Scotland, France, Northern Ireland and the People’s Movement, preparatory to meeting the Commissioner, her top civil servant and MEP’s from several countries.

Along with other members of ROSA (Reclaim Our Seas Alliance) they had a “very constructive meeting” with Commissioner Damanaki and her top civil servant, Lowri Evans and were amongst 12 other people who attended along with an number of MEP’s from Ireland, France and Portugal.

The IFO representatives spoke at length about several issue of concern to Irish fishermen including what had been proposed for the December Council in relation to functual boxes in area7. They explained the importance of this fishing area to the Irish prawn industry and the other representatives supported them..

They spoke about the need to keep what quotas the country had especially as the country is going through a very serious financial crisis.

Losing any more quotas would force skippers to hand back the keys of their boats to the banks.

They also spoke about the need to work  together to improve fish prices and that Irish, Scottish, French fish needs to make top price in Europe to keep fisheries sustainable. This is a high protein food that comes from sustainable fisheries, where as cheap imports are doing hugh damage to fish prices all over the EU.

At the meeting the Scottish and Irish representatives spoke about the very serious seal problem and the need to contain the numbers. Mrs Damanaki said that this was up to Member States and if they needed help they could approach the EU but so far no Member State had done so. The IFO has brought this issue up on several occasions with the Minister.

Mrs Damanaki expressed the view that “regionalisation” of the Common Fisheries Policy was important and would feature in its reform but that the EU is not sure what form it will take yet. This will be up to the stake holders, Member States, and scientists.

Concern was also expressed over  ITQ’s the ROSA representatives argued strongly that they must be avoided at all costs particularly between Member States. ROSA felt that she agreed with this stand.

Over all it was felt that the meeting was very constructive and the representatives were impressed with the Commissioner’s willingness to listen and to try to understand the industry though there was little actual agreement between the two sides.Nevertheless the ROSA representatives went away convinced that the Commissioner was willing to listen and engage in a good honest discussion.


The IFO/IS+EFPO have been working from the one office in Waterford and feels that this is a very positive development  for the industry. The organisations have met and will continue to meet Minister Sean Connick regarding all the issues relating to fisheries.

They have written to the Minister expressing their opposition to ring fencing any fisheries and especially our herring fisheries which has now seen an increase in quota. Their message – let’s make sure it does not benefit only the few. IFO believe that too much of our national quota go to a handful of boats. This gives some boats access to all fisheries and other boats access to very little.  As Ireland has a tradition of mixed fisheries we should ensure it stays this way.

The IFO/IS+EFPO will be sending out membership letters over the next few week “ Ni Neart le cur le Cheile” – “Unity in Strength “

Athbhlian faoi shéan is faoi mhaise do gach éinne a bhfuil baint acu leis an tionscal iascaireachta agus go raghaimid  slan don bhlian atha romhainn.

Caitlin Ui Aodha IFO.

085 2469164

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