I consider that the industry itself is best placed to advise me on the management of fishing opportunities, given the wide range of factors which contribute to the optimum usage of available quotas. In relation to the monthly allocation of fishing opportunities, my Department officials and the representative producer organisations in the industry, both fishermen and onshore processors, meet each month and industry representatives make recommendations to me in relation to the quota to be allocated in the coming month for whitefish and some pelagic fisheries, including the small vessel herring fishery in Area Vla. Fisheries Management Notice No 4 of 2014 which is currently in force has set a catch limit of 10 tonnes for under 20 meter vessels in this fishery for the combined two month period of January and February. This was recommended by Industry on 16 December 2013.
I will ask my Department to raise the Deputy’s proposal with the Industry at the monthly meeting when considering their recommendation on the catch limit to apply in the Under 20m vessel herring fishery in Area VIa for March and I will then consider all the issues raised when making my decision on the matter.