Gildernew meets Kilkeel fishermen
Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has met fishing industry representatives from the Kilkeel based Anglo North-Irish Fish Producers Organisation (ANIFPO).
A wide range of issues, including priorities for the forthcoming European Council of Ministers meetings were discussed at the meeting.
Speaking afterwards, Minister Gildernew said: "We had a full and wide ranging discussion about fishing opportunities for 2011. This included the vital prawn total allowable catch.
“The fishing industry is very concerned about the Commission’s radical proposals to change the way that prawn stocks are managed. We discussed in detail the “pros and cons” of the proposals. The Commission’s proposed new system would mean a cut of 6% in the quota available, but if that is not adopted we could be faced with a larger cut of up to 17%.”
The Minister added: “The impact of cod recovery measures was also discussed and it was recognised that more work needs to be done to prove to Europe that cod mortality is being reduced. The industry made some positive suggestions as to how this could be done. We will be happy to work with them and support the development of further cod conservation measures.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned that fish is caught from sustainable fisheries. We were able to agree a timetable that should lead to an Irish Sea herring Long Term Management Plan. If adopted by the Commission in 2011, this will be a major step towards sustainable accreditation for this fishery.”
In conclusion she said: “This meeting was very useful in clarifying industry concerns about fishing opportunities and in highlighting areas for future collaboration.”