Written Answers. - EC Fisheries Minister's Meeting.

Donal Carey

Question:

44 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for the Marine the issues he intends raising at the EC Council of Ministers meeting on 24 June 1993.

There are 16 items on the agenda for today's meeting of the Fisheries Council. Several of these items are of major importance for Ireland, in particular: the Commission's proposal for a Community control regime; the review of the fisheries provisions of the Iberian Act of Accession; the Commission proposal for a new mandate to enter into negotiations for a fisheries agreement with the Russian Federation; and the Commission's report to the Council on the Irish paper which was submitted in the course of the review of the Commons Fisheries Policy in 1992.

With regard to the Commission's proposal for a Community control regime, the Minister, who is attending today's meeting, intends to pursue strongly the Irish case for an increased Community contribution to the costs of surveillance and enforcement of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The main Irish concern in the review of the fisheries provisions of the Iberian Act of Accession is to ensure that any changes to the present system will not give rise to increased fishing effort in areas of particular importance for Irish fishermen, including the Irish Box. It is also the Minister's intention to resist strongly any changes to the present regime which could generate further difficulties from an enforcement perspective.

The Commission's proposal for a new mandate to enter into negotiations with the Russian Federation on a fisheries agreement raises a number of very serious issues for Ireland, in particular in regard to access to waters, stock allocation and market access. Under the proposed mandate, for example, Russian vessels could gain access to, and thus increase fishing effort on, the pelagic stocks of the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone of the North East Atlantic. The Minister is determined to ensure that Ireland's interests are protected in any negotiations which may be initiated.

The Commission is due to present its report on the Irish paper which was submitted to the Council during the review of the Common Fisheries Policy in 1992. The main issue outstanding, in addition to the operational costs of surveillance which I mentioned earlier, is the Irish case for an increased share of fish quota allocations. The Deputy may rest assured that this case will continue to be pursued as a matter of the highest priority.
Finally, I would like to underline the vital importance attached to finding satisfactory solutions to these particular issues. With this objective in view, the Minister has, in advance of today's Council, taken every opportunity of pressing Ireland's concerns in these matters and in recent weeks has travelled to Brussels and to Denmark for discussions with the Fisheries Commissioner — Commissioner Paleokrassas — and the Danish President of the Council — Minister Westth.