The Seafood Sector Task Force Report published today has recommendations on burden sharing for the pelagic and whitefish sector
The Seafood Sector Task Force has issued their recommendations on burden sharing the their report published today.
The Report reads:
The Task Force considered proposals submitted by members to alleviate the loss of quota share suffered by Ireland under the TCA. The recommended actions, are set down in detail in this report, including specific challenges arising and how the actions may be progressed. The Task Force recommends that all options to alleviate the loss of quota share be pursued at every available opportunity and treated as a matter of urgency. This should involve a whole of Government approach supported by a lobbying exercise by industry and Government at all EU levels.
In summary, Ireland contributed about 15% of the total value of our total 2020 fisheries quota to the Agreement. Proportionally, this is substantially more than that of any other Member State impacted by the TCA. The Task Force notes that the case was made by some members that if the transfers to the UK were evenly divided across each Member State with fishing rights, it would involve a 5.8% transfer per Member State.
For Ireland, mackerel, prawns (Nephrops) and whitefish stocks off the northwest of Ireland were the most impacted. Before Brexit, about a third of the fish caught by the Irish fleet was from UK waters.
In totality, quotas were cut by an average of 13% in the TCA, but our two main fisheries mackerel and prawns were cut by 26% and 14% respectively. Most of the transfer of mackerel came from the Northwestern stock where Ireland has the majority share, and a minimal transfer was applied to the North Sea component of the mackerel stock. Some of the important whitefish stocks in the northwest are subject to substantial cuts including monkfish by 20%, Rockall haddock by 23% and megrim by 19%.
The Task Force recommends the following specific actions. These are divided between actions targeted at pelagic quotas and actions targeted at demersal quotas.
Actions targeted at pelagic quotas
- As the largest EU shareholder, Ireland must lead the case, working with other EU Member States, for an increased share of mackerel quota for the EU and specifically for the Northwestern Waters component in the negotiations with Norway, Faeroes, Iceland and the UK under the Coastal States agreement.
- Continue to work with other EU Member States for the EU to seek a larger share of Blue Whiting in the upcoming negotiations at Coastal States negotiations.
iii. Work for the EU to reduce further the transfer of blue whiting to Norway and to reduce the impact of this transfer by including the Southern Component of Blue Whiting in the transfer in the context of the EU/Norway bilateral negotiations.
- As part of the EU/UK consultations under the TCA pursue all opportunities that encourage and facilitate swaps for North-western Waters mackerel to the EU.
- Use any available opportunity to seek a re-distribution of the mackerel quota transfer under the TCA across the four management areas (i.e. North-western waters, North Sea, southern component and Norwegian waters).
- Consider within the CFP review a “surplus plus” model whereby when the mackerel combined TACs for all areas exceeds an agreed set level, a higher percentage would be allocated to the North-western Waters TAC area.
vii. Consider within the CFP review a proposal to increase Ireland’s Hague preference for mackerel based on allocating the UK’s North-western Waters and North Sea preferences to Ireland’s existing preference.
viii. Ireland leads the EU in seeking to leverage greater quota share in mackerel and blue whiting from Iceland and Norway in exchange for market access in the current EEA negotiations
Actions targeted at demersal quotas
- At a national level, complete a review of the benefit accruing to certain Member States from the non-application of The Hague Preferences to the UK and use this as a basis for adjusting relative stability shares for certain stocks at EU level within the CFP review.
- Seek an EU Review of quota utilisation with a view to rebalancing the quota shares for Nephrops and other key quota stocks and seek that this is integrated into the review of the CFP.
iii. Set as a priority, efforts to copper fasten the annual application of Irish Hague Preferences as a permanent binding legal requirement under the CFP under the CFP Review or in advance where an opportunity may arise.
- Seek a complete review of all existing relative stability shares as part of the CFP Review process taking specific account of quota share loss under the TCA and utilisation.
- Within the CFP Review, seek beneficial changes in management areas. The background analysis of the management of certain stocks should be a first priority for the national forum of stakeholders to be set up by the Minister on the CFP review
Read the full report here.