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Gildernew focuses on December Fisheries Council

23 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has met with representatives of the fishing industry to focus on priorities ahead of the 2008 December Fisheries Council.

Speaking following the meeting, the minister said:

"It is going to be a very tough Fisheries Council this year, with cuts likely to be proposed for key Irish Sea fish stocks, as well as new proposals for cod recovery, discard reduction and technical conservation measures.

"We have agreed that our highest priority is to maintain fishing opportunities for the prawn fleet and the introduction of a flexible and sustainable system for allocating days at sea in 2009. I will also be pressing for a sensible allocation of haddock quota and a lifting of the herring closure on the Douglas Bank, particularly given that it is now well recognised as having served its purpose. The commission's proposals for discard reduction and technical conservation are too broad and not practical for our fleet. I will be looking for a more flexible and tailored solution.

"With so many issues on the table this year that have a potential impact on us, it will be impossible to get everything we want. We must therefore focus on our main objectives and what is achievable. Today's meeting has focused minds on the realities of the December Council and the challenges that we must face to achieve the best outcome possible for the local fleet." ENDS

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