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Gildernew raises local fishing concerns with Commissioner Borg

1 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA today met with European Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg in Brussels.

After her meeting with Dr Borg, Michelle Gildernew said:

"I took the opportunity at today's meeting to update the Commissioner about the challenges facing the fishing fleet in the north and the difficulties it is currently facing with rising fuel costs. I stressed the importance of having a level playing field and I asked the Commissioner for his view about subsidies being given by other Member States and Commissioner Borg has accepted my invitation today to visit the north to see the progress and challenges in our fishing industry in the near future."

The Minister also spoke about the importance of prawns and haddock to the Irish Sea fishing fleet and fish processing businesses. She said:

"The vast majority of our fleet are dependent on these species and we are determined that fishing opportunities are maximized and that the fishery continues to be managed on a sustainable basis. With increasing evidence of an abundance of Haddock and Herring in the Irish Sea I will be pushing strongly for an increase in all stocks again this year where there is scientific evidence to support this."

Commissioner Borg was also briefed by the Minister on the effects that year on year reductions on the number of days that can be fished has had on the fleet and on the urgent need for EU proposals to achieve Irish Sea cod recovery.

Outlining her view the Minister added:

"A more flexible regional approach is needed, with greater autonomy given to Member States to manage the fishery as there is a real danger that measures introduced to protect one fishery could have unintended consequences for the viability of others."

The Minister briefed local MEP's following her meeting with Commissioner Borg.

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