The 400 tonnes limit for the Mackerel Hook and Line Fishery was adopted as part of Polyvalent Mackerel Management Arrangements and licensing issues in November 2010. This policy was adopted after detailed analysis and public consultation procedure was completed. This policy represents a balance between all interests in the mackerel fishery and I have no plan at this time to review it.
In respect of the 750 kg per trip catch limit, in March of this year, the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) put forward a proposal requesting an increase in the per trip catch limit per vessel from 500 kg to 750 kg. Within this proposal, the NIFF also requested that, if the proposal was supported, a review should be carried out after 12 months to ensure that no other vessels are disadvantaged because of the increase.
The Minister adopted the NIFF’s proposal taking into account that the 400 tonnes quota limit set had not been fully utilised by the relevant vessels in previous years. The Minister considered that the request to increase the per trip catch limit from 500kg to 750 kg, representing a 50% increase in the limit, could be accommodated within the existing 400 tonnes quota limit set for the fishery. On 28th April 2020, the Minister approved the request to raise the per trip limit to 750 kg from 500 kg. However, there was concern that this increase could disadvantage smaller vessesl and accordingly it is planned to reveiw the trip limit set should the allocation be exhausted early in 2020 or future years.
I will examine all aspects of this quota limit before the commencement of this fishery next year to determine if the trip limit set supports the fishery for the vessels in the category and taking into account if the fishery has been operating within the quota limit set for it.