Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Common Fisheries Policy

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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132. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will argue the case for an economic link to fish quotas under the Common Fisheries Policy as opposed to the current proliferation of fish quota from a wide range of European Union member states into the control of a small number of corporations to the detriment of coastal communities across the European Union. [16791/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) provides that it is a matter for each Member State to decide how its fishing opportunities, which are not subject to a system of transferable fishing concessions, are allocated to the vessels in its fleet. In allocating fishing opportunities, the CFP requires Member States to apply transparent and objective criteria, such as the contribution to the local economy.

A system of transferable fishing concessions allows for a Member State's quota to be allocated to an individual fisher or group of fishers which is available to them to transfer, lease or sell to other vessel owners, this is commonly known as an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system .

The last reform of the CFP set out the option for Member States to introduce ITQ system for their fleets. The European Commission had proposed that such a system be mandatory for all Member States. Ireland was successful in strongly opposing a mandatory ITQ system, on the basis that it would inevitably lead to a concentration of ownership in a small number of international fishing companies with little or no links to Ireland's fishing communities.

In Ireland, fish quotas are a public resource owned by the State and are made available to fishing vessels based on an overall policy framework which has been developed over the past 30 years. The result of this long-standing policy is that the Irish fishing fleet has retained a strong economic link with our coastal communities and has delivered economic activity including vital employment in these communities, where there are very limited alternative economic activities.

I am firmly of the view that system of quota management must remain within a Member State's competence and must not be determined at EU level. The Government is fully committed to maintaining our quotas in public ownership to the benefit of our fishing fleet and coastal communities.


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