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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Fishing industry rights and benefits

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which he remains satisfied that the rights and entitlements of the fishing industry here will continue to be observed to ensure the future of the viability of those dependent on the fishing industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which he remains satisfied that Irish fisherman will retain their fishing entitlements into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


I can assure the Deputy that this Government is committed to addressing the challenges facing our seafood sector following the T2022 December Fisheries Council (TCA) with the UK.  I am pursuing all opportunities at EU level to help address the unequal burden sharing whereby Ireland carries an excessive burden of the EU quota transfers to the UK.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) provides the framework for the long-term conservation and sustainability of fish stocks around our shores and is designed to ensure the long term sustainability of fishing in Ireland and throughout EU waters. The CFP specifically calls for the progressive restoration and maintenance of populations of fish stocks above biomass levels capable of producing Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).  

Scientific information on the state of the fisheries exploited by the Irish fleet is compiled by the Marine Institute and is published in the Stock Book each year. The most recent Stock Book, 2022, which was published last week, contains 75 stocks that are subject to the scientific advice of the Marine Institute. From the 75 stocks, 40 are assessed as being sustainably fished in 2022. This number has grown consistently every year since 2013. This, in turn, leads to the number of stocks being over-fished declining from 22 in 2014 to 16 in 2022.  

I am pleased that the scientific advice supports increases in a number of stocks of importance to Ireland such as Monkfish and Megrims in the Celtic Sea.  This shows that the many years of intensive, industry-led conservation measures are paying off.  

The preparation for the 2022 December Fisheries Council is well underway.  At the December Council, quotas for 2023 will be agreed upon. Following Brexit, the majority of stocks of interest to Ireland are dealt with in consultations with third countries such as the EU-UK consultations. I have closely monitored these negotiations and I am hopeful of a satisfactory deal for Irish fishers for 2023. That being said I will not accept an agreement that disadvantages our fishers. In the event that an agreement is not reached with the UK, provisional TACs and quotas for 2023 will be set for the first quarter of the year on the basis of scientific advice.
I am confident that, through the CFP, we will be able to ensure the sustainability of our fish stocks and, in turn, the economic viability of our fishing fleet and fish processors, thereby supporting the families and communities that depend on a vibrant fishing industry.

The Programme for Government sets down an ambitious programme of actions that promote a sustainable seafood industry and I am committed to working to continue to build on the progress that has been made to secure a sustainable future for our fishing industry and the coastal communities which depend upon it.

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