EU-UK fish quota negotiations stalled
Post-Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK over fishing quotas for shared fish stocks, which began in early November, were still deadlocked ahead of the EU’s Council of Fisheries Ministers which started on Sunday and ended early this morning. In light of this situation, fisheries ministers have decided to set provisional fishing quotas for EU fishermen for the first quarter of 2022 in case an agreement is not reached before the end of the year.
Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue said: “It is regrettable that negotiations with the UK on fishing quotas for shared stocks, which started on 11 November, could not be concluded before the Council . These negotiations with the UK have proven to be very difficult and it is in Ireland’s interest that the EU does not rush into an unacceptable deal. To avoid any disruption to our fleets, we have agreed on provisional fishing quotas for the first quarter of 2022. The EU remains committed to reaching a balanced and sustainable deal with the UK.
The Council of Ministers agreed to set provisional quotas for EU industry, until the end of March, at the level of 25% of the 2021 quotas. Given the seasonal nature of some fisheries, Minister McConalogue said ensured that the quotas made available for the fisheries which take place mainly in the first three months of the year correspond to the seasonal patterns of these fisheries. The end result was that the full 2022 annual quotas for mackerel, blue whiting and Norwegian herring were agreed, as well as 70 percent of the annual quota for horse mackerel.
In addition, Minister McConalogue ensured that half of the shrimp quota on the Porcupine Bank in the west of Ireland and 85% of the Celtic Sea whiting stock was available in the first quarter, to reflect the seasonality of these important fisheries.
Minister McConalogue said: ‘I was delighted that Commissioner Sinkevičius accepted our request to provide for our seasonal fisheries by providing adequate quotas to allow the Irish fishing industry to continue these economically important fisheries from early January. The Council also accepted my request to apply the Hague preferences, which benefit Ireland when stocks are at low levels. “
Regarding the actions of Norway and the Faroe Islands, by unilaterally setting unacceptably high quotas for mackerel for 2021, Minister McConalogue said: “I have asked the EU to work with like-minded partners. ideas for securing fair and balanced mackerel shares for coastal states in 2022.. important for our own fishing fleet. “
Minister McConalogue also welcomed the commitment obtained from the Commission to examine and produce proposals, by March 31 of next year, on the allocation and distribution of a quota of mackerel from the EU historically linked to an agreement with Norway. The Minister said: “I have been satisfied that the Council has agreed that the mackerel quota in question has been suspended, pending the result of a thorough assessment involving the Commission and the Member States. I will continue to be actively engaged on the issue and look forward to considering the Commission’s proposals. “
Council to finalize list of all agreed provisional TACs and quotas in the coming days