Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Questions (1177)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

1177. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of registered boats in the Irish fishing register; the number of these also registered with a producer group; the method by which consultation is carried out with boat owners not registered with a producer group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1567/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Registrar General of Fishing Boats informs me that the Irish fishing fleet comprised 1,998 registered vessels at year end on 31 December 2020.

The Department would not be aware of the number of vessel owners who are members of a Producer Organisation.

Consultation with Industry in respect of the management of Ireland’s fishing quotas is carried out via the Quota Management Advisory Committee. The Quota Management Advisory Committee (QMAC) is a formal consultative committee, involving fishing industry representatives from the catching and processing sectors, which exists at the discretion of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Committee is currently composed of:

- One representative from each of the 4 Producer Organisations:

- One representative from the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association;

- One representative from the National Inshore Fisheries Forum;

- One representative from the Co-Operative group.

- Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (including a Departmental official acting as Chairperson);

- Representatives from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority to provide data on quota uptake;

The QMAC currently meets on a monthly basis. The purpose of these meetings is to make recommendations to the Minister on monthly/bimonthly/quarterly regimes for particular stocks and, as far as possible, the Minister follows their recommendations for regimes for particular stocks, subject to the proper management and rational exploitation of our fisheries.

Additional meetings are organised as required to discuss specific issues in particular fisheries that may arise. In addition, the Department regularly consult the Committee on ongoing issues, by email, throughout the year.

In recognition of the fact that many smaller vessels were not members of producer organisations, in

2014, the Inshore Fisheries Forum initiative was established to provide a platform for engagement with those primarily involved in the inshore fisheries sector. As Minister, I meet with the National Inshore Fisheries Forum, which represents a wider network of 6 Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum.