Commenting on the results of the Fisheries Council Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has said that the 9% cut to the prawn quota for next year is extremely unwelcome news for the Northern Ireland fishing industry and wider economy.
Jim said: “The December Fisheries Council is hugely important for Northern Ireland’s fishing industry as it is these negotiations which decide the fishing opportunities for the year ahead.
All aspects of the Council result are important for the industry. Locally the main focus of these negotiations is the prawn quota, the reliance of our fleet and processors on this stock means that the 9% cut agreed for next year’s quota is extremely unwelcome news which hits the fishing industry and wider economy hard. This is a particularly disappointing outcome as the cut in quota for this key species has significant economic consequences and comes at a time when the sector is already working hard to overcome the various challenges and difficulties posed by the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).”
Jim concluded: “These annual fisheries negotiations between Member States are always an anxious time for the industry as crucial decisions are taken which often disregard local needs and evidence. The fact that the European Commission had originally proposed a cut of 24% to the prawn quota highlights the level of uncertainty and degree of frustration associated with this process for our fleet and our processors who rely on what our fishermen catch.”