Conor Murphy meets EU Commissioner Joe Borg
Ministers from the different Fisheries Administrations have met with EU Commissioner Joe Borg in Brussels ahead of discussions on Fisheries at the November and December Council meetings.
Conor Murphy MP, MLA represented Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA at the discussions and afterwards he said: "We discussed the Commission's proposals on changes to cod recovery plans and on Total Allowable Catches and quotas for 2009. I stressed the need for a fresh approach which ensured sustainable whitefish fisheries and was appropriate to the circumstances of the local fleet.
The Commissioner made it clear that he believed there was a need for strong action to rebuild cod stocks. However he agreed to consider the scope for an alternative approach to cod recovery in the Irish Sea which allowed for more fishing effort provided effective cod avoidance plans were agreed."
Commenting on the TAC proposals Conor Murphy said: "I told the Commissioner we were totally opposed to the proposed 15% cuts in the prawns quota for our local fleet. I stressed this could have a serious impact on the viability of the industry as 90% of the local fleet targets prawns which are processed by local factories.
I pointed out that the scientists accepted that the prawns stocks were fished sustainability. It is clear that we face a difficult road in persuading the Commission to reverse the proposed cut. However it has been agreed that there should be a further meeting between officials to review the approach on prawns and to consider additional evidence on the current state of stocks."
After the meeting Conor Murphy met Alan McCulla, the Chief Executive of Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation, in Brussels and briefed him on the discussions with Commissioner Borg.