Relief as Government secures €223m share of EU fish stocks
THE Government has breathed a sigh of relief after securing a share of the EU's fish stocks worth €223m to the industry next year.
The annual skirmish over quotas ended in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after two days of talks with EU fisheries chief Maria Damanaki, who was seeking cuts across most of Ireland's key catches next year.
Minister for Fisheries Sean Connick said the package -- which included a 10pc increase for Ireland's major fishery, mackerel -- was "balanced and sustainable".
Ireland also achieved a coup on prawns -- the country's second most important stock -- securing just a 3pc reduction as opposed to the Commission's suggested 17pc for the €54m a-year industry.
Under the deal, there will be a 15pc increase in haddock and whiting stocks in the Celtic Sea. However, cod quotas off the north-west and the Irish Sea will be reduced by 25pc.
The Commission had been looking for cuts of up to 50pc in several Irish cod and herring stocks, while fishermen were also facing a reduction in the number of days they could spend at sea.
Environmental groups have hit out at the compromise, however, saying that Mrs Damanaki rowed back on recommendations by marine scientists.