Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (261)

Catherine Martin


261. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason civil society groups have been excluded from the annual fisheries negotiations between Norway and the EU, including Ireland; if he will make representations to ensure that civil society is included in the negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28408/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Ireland has a limited interest in the annual EU/Norway consultations. Our primary concern is with regard to the use of Blue whiting, an important pelagic stock, in exchanges from which we receive little benefit. We do not get involved in TAC setting discussions given that we do not have any quota for the relevant stocks.

Officials from my Department form part of the overall EU delegation which includes representatives from other Member States and is headed by an official from the European Commission who have exclusive competence with regard to such consultations. Representatives from the fishing industry are also often present in the building as observers but do not attend either the EU coordination meetings or the consultations themselves.

In these circumstances, the inclusion of representatives from civil society groups in the same manner as those from the fishing industry would need to be agreed with the Commission and those Member States in particular who, unlike Ireland, do have a direct management interest in the stocks under discussion in the EU/Norway consultations.