The Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation claims more than 700 jobs in the fishing industry could be affected by the Minister’s decision regarding mackerel quotas.
Marine Minister Michael Creed recently announced the outcome of reviews affecting mackerel allocations and fishing fleet policies.
According to Bórd Iascaigh Mhara, mackerel is Ireland’s most important commercial fishery, with a value of €64 million last year.
Minister Michael Creed decided that where the mackerel quota in the total allowable catch and quota regulation is 90,000 tonnes or below for this year and into the future – then there would be no change to the status quo, 23 refrigerated sea water vessels, from the North West, would receive 87% of the quota allocation. Twenty seven boats registered in the polyvalent segment – which represents the vast majority of the country’s fishing fleet – were entitled to the remaining 13%.
Where the mackerel quota is above 90,000 tonnes, the share out from the excess will be adjusted on an 80/20 basis.
The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation says the decision made by the minister and his civil servants has underpinned what it describes as a ‘deeply embedded policy of apartheid’.
The organisation had proposed a revised mackerel distribution which was rejected.
It had suggested that Ireland’s increased mackerel allocation for this year, be allocated to the 27 boats that can fish for whitefish and mackerel.
These fishermen would then forego their whitefish quota entitlements allowing other whitefish boats to avail of this.
The organisation’s CEO, Patrick Murphy says the Minister’s decision has ‘gifted’ the operators of 23 boats with 40% of Ireland’s earning from fishing while more than fourteen hundred boats are to earn their living from 60% of the country’s fish earnings.
The Killybeg Fishermen’s Organisation has welcomed the Minister’s decision, saying it was glad he had rejected the request by the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation to have 100% of this year’s additional mackerel quota allocated to it.