Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (428)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

428. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 549 of 22 January 2013 and the vote of the European Parliament on the 6 February 2013 to adopt a legislative resolution on the proposal of a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 regarding the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms, when the amendment to the regulation is likely to become law; the outstanding procedures to be completed to allow the amendment to become law; the implications and opportunities this amendment will have for our small fishermen, particularly in the offshore island of Arranmore, County Donegal surrounded by the waters of ICES Division VIa and when the provisions of the amendment are likely to come into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11284/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1288/2009 of 27 November 2009 established transitional technical measures for the 1 January 2010 to 30 June 2011. Subsequent measures were established by Regulation (EU) No 579/2011 of 8 June 2011 for the period 1 July, 2011 to 31 December 2012. In June 2012, the EU Commission brought forward a proposal to extend the provisions of the Regulation. In October 2012, following triologues on the issue facilitated by the Cyprus Presidency, the PECHE Committee of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers agreed to the adoption of the Commission proposals with a number of amendments. The European Parliament voted in early February on the adoption of the new extension and it was also adopted by the Council in February. It will be formally signed by the Council and Parliament this month. The provisions of the Regulation will come into force on the third day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The main changes in the regime of importance to Irish fishermen are: the introduction of a closed area at EU level off north Donegal, known as the “cape” to protect juvenile cod. This closure covers the period 1 October to 31 March each year. It replaces a closure in place at national level in previous years: a saithe fishery by means of mechanised jigging will be permitted; new arrangements to allow for a lesser spotted dog fishery off the north Donegal coast are being introduced. The fishery is subject to a number of technical restrictions including a restriction on the area, length of gill net that may be deployed, maximum period of soak time, restrictions on by-catches and a gill net fishery sought of 59 degrees north, subject to specified conditions.

In the eastern part of Area VIa, an effort regime, restricting the number of days at sea each year in the area is in place to protect cod. The effort levels available for 2013 were rolled over from 2012 and a reduction was not applied. Gill net fishing and trawl fishing for whitefish stocks and for nephrops are subject to the effort regime. Vessels must have access to fishing effort under the Cod Recovery Plan which is based on historic track record.