Written Answers. - Fish Stock Conservation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

262 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the three most endangered species of fish in Irish waters or environs; his and or European plans to improve the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11104/03]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

263 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for the conservation and propagation of fish stocks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11105/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 263 together.

The Marine Institute carries out Irish stock monitoring programmes which feed into the work of other scientific bodies to determine the current status of EU fish stocks. On the basis of the most recent advice, there is a serious concern that many stocks appear to be outside safe biological limits. In so far as the areas and species most affected are concerned, there is particular concern about a number of key whitefish stocks throughout community waters, in particular cod and hake.

Stock recovery measures have been introduced for Irish Sea cod, northern hake and cod in the North Sea and west of Scotland. The Commission is in the process of preparing long-term recovery plans for these and other stocks and specific proposals in this regard are expected later this year. The intention is to have such plans in place from the beginning of next year.

Ireland has been at the forefront at EU level in pushing for enhanced conservation measures to protect fish stocks. I will continue to push for further systematic action in this regard.