Minister Charlie McConalogue has reacted to the Danish Minister of Fisheries’ accusation of a mackerel war with Ireland
Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has reacted to a claim by the Danish Minister for Fisheries, that Ireland is out to steal his country’s mackerel quota.
Commenting, Minister McConalogue said “It has been a tough year for our fishing community. I am in EU Council this weekend to advocate for our fishing community and to fight for our sector. On the Danish mackerel issue I am seeking for the Commission to examine the basis for this quota in 2022 under existing EU arrangements.”
Danish Minister of Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn has accused the Irish of going to war with Denmark over the EU member state’s mackerel quota and this morning in Brussels he again emphasised the words “war” in a tweet.
In an interview with Danish newspaper Avisen Danmark published yesterday, Sunday, 12 December, the Danish Minister said that there was a political feud with Denmark in the lead role taking place behind the scenes whilst the EU fisheries ministers discuss next year’s fishing quotas.
The Danish newspaper writes, “For Ireland has been pressured by Brexit, and this means that they are trying to get their hands on tons of mackerel in the North Sea, which for decades has been for Danish fishermen to catch.”
Fisheries Minister Rasmus Prehn (S) says that the Irish had at a previous meeting on fishing quotas in the EU tried an “ambush”, which was averted and now again they are trying again.
Rasmus who was earlier today cavorting with Danish Pelagic Producer Organisation chief, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels discussed how best to handle the mackerel war with Ireland. Esben Sverdrup-Jensen has also just been elected to the post of President of the European Association of Fish Producers Organisation.
Prior to the meeting in Brussels, Prehen said, “Now we know they will take it up again.”
“Therefore, of course, we have known our visiting hours and spent all our efforts at the fisheries office to prepare and find documents from the beginning of the 1980s, where we can document that we have the right to this quota.”
According to the Minister of Fisheries, there are two main reasons why it is important for Denmark to stand firm.
One is that it is about 12,000 tonnes of mackerel quotas annually for Danish fishermen, which corresponds to a value of DDK 125 million/€16.8 million annually.
The second is that if Ireland would get their way it would be the end of relative stability, which takes into account the quotas that have long been in place. And the Danish are very scared of that.
“If you first start to challenge the relative stability, then you risk that the EU’s fisheries policy will become a big ragnarok, where everyone claims everything,” told Avisen Danmark.
“If you first start to open Pandora’s box, then all countries will be able to come and claim each other’s quotas and rights. Then it’s done having a co-ordinated fisheries policy,” warns the Danish Minister
He believes Ireland’s approach with an ambush is “half-baked style”. And he emphasises that this is a quota that Denmark cannot afford to lose. It “beats nothing” as he puts it.
He concluded the interview by saying, “We really have to stay awake and fight. Nothing is certain until the final sentence has been set in this case. We’re a little nervous.
“Even former colleagues have been found who have interrupted their pension to come in and help because they are aware that this is hammering important. This applies to really important Danish interests,” says Rasmus Prehn.