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O’Neill meets Tri-Council Fisheries Group

9 November, 2011 - by Michelle O'Neill

Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill today met with representatives of the Tri-Council Fisheries Working Group to discuss a range of issues affecting the fishing industry.

The Tri-Council fisheries Working Group is made up of representatives from Ards Borough Council, Down District Council, and Newry and Mourne District Council.

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said: “We had a very useful and full discussion about the European Commission’s proposals for fishing opportunities next year, and I appreciate the interest and support of the Tri-Council Working Group members in this matter. I assured them that I would be making a strong case to Brussels to resist the proposed cuts in the prawn and herring quotas.

“We have very robust scientific information that demonstrates that those stocks are in very good health and that they are being exploited sustainably by our fishing fleet. These issues will come to the fore at the December Fisheries Council in Brussels and between now and then I, and my officials, will work closely with the local fishing industry, to present our arguments to the Commission against quota cuts that we all agree simply cannot be justified.

“While quota is usually the main issue at this time of year I also had a good discussion with the Group about the importance of conservation measures to protect brown crab stocks in our inshore waters which are vital to the many smaller boats in the fishing fleet. I explained that my Department would be taking these views on board as part of the ongoing work to develop an Inshore Fisheries Strategy.”

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