The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today commented on the outcome of the 2018 December Fisheries Council in Brussels.
Speaking after the 2019 quotas were agreed, a DAERA spokesperson said: “This was one of the most difficult Councils in recent years.
“It was vitally important to ensure that sufficient quota was obtained for all Irish Sea fish species to enable them to land all the fish they catch from 1st January 2019, particularly whiting, which is caught as a by-catch in the prawn fishery.
"The Commission initially proposed an Irish Sea whiting quota of 612 tonnes. This was successfully negotiated up by 19% to 727t. The Commission has also agreed to carry out a further review of the quota in the New Year. In the meantime, the fishing fleet will continue to do its best to avoid whiting by deploying the best available highly selective fishing gear.”
The Spokesperson added: “Since 2013 the Northern Ireland fishing fleet, working in partnership with our fisheries scientists in AFBI, have made major efforts and achieved significant reductions in unwanted catches.
“The prawn quota for the western waters, which includes the Irish Sea, has been reduced by 32% in line with scientific advice to stay within sustainable levels. Overall, the 2019 prawn quota in the Irish Sea will be sufficient and will maintain fishing at levels close to recent years.
“Other Irish Sea stocks are now being fished at sustainable levels and longer term prospects are good. Cod quota has been increased by 16% and haddock by 17%. Plaice was increased by 72% and much improved sole stocks resulted in a 935% increase. Irish Sea herring quota will be slightly lower this year, falling by 2%.”
Notes to editors:
- The December Fisheries Council, which agrees fishing opportunities for 2019, took place from 17-18 December in Brussels.
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