Irish fishing quotas for sale to the highest bidder

July 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

An EU proposal to allow member states buy and sell fishing rights could spell the end of the Irish family-owned fishing fleet, it was claimed this week. The controversial plan, part of a major reform package put forward by EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, has been roundly condemned by fishing groups and politicians in Ireland and France.
The Federation of Irish Fishermen warned that the mandatory privatisation of fishing quotas would “benefit those with the most capital,” while Fisheries Minister Simon Coveney said the system would lead to Irish quotas “being bought up by European international companies,” leaving the country with potentially no control of its own fish stocks.
Northwest MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher dismissed the idea as a “trendy solution (…) drawn up to suit the menu of celebrity chefs in their comfortable Chelsea restaurants, far removed from the realities faced by fishermen and coastal communities.”
Mr Gallagher, a member of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, has vowed to seek to change several of the measures proposed, including the mandatory privatisation of fishing quotas. As it stands, the rule will apply to all vessels over 12 metres in length. The Fianna Fáil MEP will lobby for this provision to be changed to exempt all vessels under 15 metres, meaning 80 per cent of the Irish would be exempted.
Northwest MEP Jim Higgins will also warn of the dangers of putting quotas on the market. “What is to stop a large set of Spanish fishermen from setting up a company in Ireland and buying all our quotas?” he said.
The fishing reforms will now be debated and amended by all member states before the due implementation date of January 1st, 2013.

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Entry filed under: Fishing and the EU.

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