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Minister Murphy presses fisheries case

19 November, 2008

The European Fisheries Council today agreed unanimously to a revised cod recovery plan to protect cod stocks in EU waters.

Conor Murphy MP MLA, who represented Michelle Gildernew MP MLA at the discussions, expressed his real concern at the reductions in fishing effort which will affect the local fleet because of depleted cod stocks.

He said:

"This was an extremely difficult negotiation given the European Commission's determination to conserve cod stocks and reduce cod mortality including discards. The Commission did show some flexibility on the baseline to be used to measure fishing effort and on the ability to grant extra effort to vessels which follow cod avoidance plans. However on the issue of reducing fishing effort by 25% it showed no flexibility.

"I strongly opposed this stance which I regarded as unacceptable to the local fleet. But the Commission would not move on this figure and it formed part of the overall package which was agreed unanimously by all 27 member states at the Council."

The Minister stressed that: "It will be important for officials and the industry to work together and consider carefully the new arrangement and to establish what opportunities there are to take full advantage of the flexibilities in the agreement." ENDS

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