Irish Sea herring catch increased
A deal has been secured for an in-year increase to the catch of Irish Sea herring
Northern Ireland’s fisheries minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has announced that a deal has been secured with the European Commission for an in-year increase to the catch of Irish Sea herring.
The final settlement at the December Council last year resulted in a 10% cut for Irish Sea herring in 2012. This was due to the Commission’s policy to cut catches for those fish stocks which did not have a full analytical assessment. But the minister says the decision to cut the herring catch ran contrary to the independent scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
ICES undertook an in depth review of the science for herring back in February and evidence gathered by scientists in AFBI enabled ICES to produce a full analytical stock assessment which has been used to provide advice for catches for 2013.
The Commission was then asked to consider the position for 2012 and agreed that the catch for herring for 2012 can be 5,280t and 4,993t for 2013, providing an increase in fishing opportunities of 440t over the two year period.
The minister said: “Having a full stock assessment for Irish Sea herring is a very important. This paves the way for the development of a long-term management plan which will determine catch levels in the future. It also opens up the possibility of independent accreditation of the fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council which will assist local processors to market their product. My Department and AFBI will be working closely with the industry on these further developments.”
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