Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2042)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

2042. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken in conjunction with EU coastal state colleagues to correct the perceived flawed scientific advice furnished by ICES which formed the basis for the 2019 mackerel quota; the measures he is proposing to the EU in order to correct the under allocation of mackerel quota for Ireland; the timeline for allocating the balance of the quota which was due in the first instance; if he has raised the specifics of dealing with the need to correct the anomaly in a time orderly manner with the EU; the extent of debate and discussion he has had on the issue with the EU to date; the further discussion which he plans to have in order to resolve the matter for fishermen here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31651/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The situation in relation to mackerel is that the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) advised in September 2018 that the 2019 TAC should be 318,403 tonnes - a reduction of 68% compared to 2018. ICES did, however, warn about sensitivity of the assessment to some of the data

inputs.

Following five meetings in October/November 2018, the Coastal States party to the 2014 Mackerel Sharing Agreement (European Union, Norway and the Faeroe Islands) decided on a precautionary reduction of 20% and requested ICES to conduct an inter-benchmark review to look at the sensitivities in the data inputs especially tagging data. ICES completed the review in March 2019 and re-evaluated the state of the stock.

New advice was published on the 15th May and this revised the advised catch figure from 318,403 tonnes to 770,358 tonnes – an increase on the current TAC of 18%. For Ireland, if applied, this would equate to an increase in our quota of just under 10,000 tonnes.

Following the publication of the new advice, two further Coastal States meetings were held in London on the 20/21 May and 12/13 June. Ireland, as did other Member States, sought to revise the 2019 mackerel TAC in line with the new advice. Unfortunately, it did not prove possible to achieve agreement between the Coastal States on a revision to the TAC.

New advice for 2020 is expected in late September and the Coastal State consultations will resume in October.