Positive Outcome for Kerry Bass Angling Tourism at EU Fisheries Council

Positive Outcome for Kerry Bass Angling Tourism at EU Fisheries Council

Common Sense Outcome Landed by Minister Coveney

Wednesday, December 16th 2015.

KERRY Fine Gael TD, Brendan Griffin, has commended Minister Simon Coveney for his efforts to safeguard Bass Angling Tourism in Kerry and around the coast.

Minister Coveney informed Deputy Griffin this morning that the EU Council has agreed to the introduction of a catch and release recreational angling fishery for the first half of 2016, with a one fish bag limit for the second half of the year.

Deputy Griffin said:

“This is important for the bass angling tourism industry and I am glad that Minister Coveney listened to the concerns that I raised with him following contact that I received from many constituents in Kerry.

“I am glad that the Minister was able to achieve this common sense outcome. The EU had originally proposed a complete ban on bass angling for the first half of 2016, which would have had a devastating impact on Kerry businesses that benefit from angling tourism.

“In his Dáil response to my question on this, Minister Coveney said that he would aim for a catch and release system for the first half of 2016 and I commend him for achieving success on this. This outcome will come as a welcome relief to the anglers themselves, tourism busineses such as hotels, B&B’s, bars and restaurants and angling businesses.”

ENDS

Please see below also my Dail Question on the matter.

Parliamentary Question No. 245 & 246

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the implications of a measure (details supplied) in relation to Irish bass stocks; if he will oppose the measure in favour of a more common sense approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Griffin.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 15th December, 2015.

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the implications of a measure (details supplied) in relation to tourist businesses in County Kerry; if he will oppose the measure in favour of a more common sense approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Griffin.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 15th December, 2015.

REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine : (Simon Coveney)

I propose to answer Questions No. 45380 and 45381 together.

The most recent scientific advice for seabass suggests that the stock is in rapid decline and that fishing mortality levels for this stock are four times higher than the level that would ensure Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).

In January 2015, the EU Commission introduced emergency measures to reduce the fishing mortality in commercial fisheries (pelagic trawling) of this stock. The EU also adopted a new Regulation that introduced a comprehensive prohibition on commercial fishing for seabass by all EU Member States fishing vessels in the Irish and Celtic Seas for 2015. This underpins the conservation actions already taken by Ireland for over 20 years with regard to this vulnerable stock. The EU has also increased the minimum landing size for seabass for 2015 and again Ireland supported this measure.

In terms of the TAC and quota proposal for 2016, the Commission has proposed, and I generally welcome, further conservation measures for this stock including a continuation of the comprehensive prohibition on commercial fishing for seabass by all EU Member States fishing vessels in the Irish and Celtic Seas for 2016. However, we have a concern that the proposal as it stands, while aimed at protecting the stock, may inadvertently harm the highly regulated recreational angling sector in Ireland. The current proposal would ban all angling activity for seabass for the first six months of the year and a one fish per day rule for the rest of the year. Currently Ireland operates a 2 fish per day rule and the rest of the EU applied a 3 fish per day rule in 2016. I fully support the one fish per day limit suggested, however as I agree with the Deputy on the potential harm to our tourism sector, I do not support a complete ban on angling for the first six months of the year. Irish anglers are not the reason that seabass is continuing to decline and Ireland has been at the forefront of conservation measures for this stock for decades. It would in my view be unfair to take such a severe approach to the recreational sector in Ireland given their ongoing efforts to protect the stock. Consequently, I will endeavour, at December Council, to persuade the Commission that a catch and release recreational fishery be permitted to continue during the first six months of the year.

 

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