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Only a Third of the Fish Caught in Irish Waters are Caught by Irish Fishermen

On foot of PQ responses from the Minister for the Marine, Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD

and Aontú Cllr in Wexford Jim Codd, have hit out at the fact that only a third of the fish

caught in Irish waters are caught by Irish fishermen and that not enough is being done by the

Minister to stand up for Irish fishermen.


Cllr Jim Codd: “Only a few months ago, Rural Ireland had to come up the Liffey to be

heard. Men and women from as far as Donegal and Kerry came up to ask their government to

stand up for them. There is precious little evidence that anything has changed. The Minister

has said he is asking the Commission, with his best manners, to consider a draft control plan

on the matter.


Does no one remember how the Irish government and EU Commission made

Irish fishermen the sacrificial lambs of Brexit and to appease Boris Johnson? Over 5 years,

Irish fishermen only got 10% of the total amount of Hake fished in Irish waters. Of the most

fished species in Irish waters, the Blue Whiting, over 5 years Irish fishermen only got 21% of

that total. This is even without the 2020 and 2021 figures. The men, women and children I

serve rely on these boats for their living. We need no more glib, lip service. Now we have a

farcical situation where these same fishermen after being thrown about at sea, and in gale

winds, they have their fish gutted, iced and steamed for home.


Now officials tell them to unbox and weigh them on the pier – only then to be reboxed,

brought up 200 yards and weighed again – as it always has been. The Minister needs to stand up and tell the

Commission enough is enough. Let us only hope he does a better job for Irish fishermen, than

the MICA homeowners in his own county.”


An Teachta Tóibín: “Irish fish and fishing rights have been handed over lock, stock and

barrel to other countries. Indeed, many countries are doing far better out of Irish waters, than

Irish fishermen themselves. This is in addition to the cuts in Irish fishing quotas in British

waters. According to Departmental projections, Ireland’s coastal share of fish will shrink by

at least 15% in the next 6 years. Now after being hammered by Dublin and Brussels, Irish

fishermen are now being forced to weigh on the pier to suffice some nonsensical box-ticking

exercise Irish fishermen are being singled out for. No other fishing sector has been so poorly

treated by its own government and by the EU – it is an absolute disgrace. The Minister needs

to start fighting for Irish fishermen, from Dublin to Brussels, else the sector will stand up for




For Written Answer on : 01/12/2021


Question Number(s): 211 Question Reference(s): 59178/21

Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.






To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the efforts he has undertaken to

reinstate the European Commission derogation for Ireland in relation to weigh fish once they


have been transported to the factory.




Ireland was notified of a Commission Implementing Decision revoking the approval of the

Irish control plan submitted for the weighing of fishery products. The European Commission

has deemed that Ireland’s obligations arising from Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 were not

being met by the Irish control plan as the risk of non-compliance with the rules of the


common fisheries policy could not be minimised.


The monitoring and control of fishing vessels within Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone are

matters for the Irish control authorities.  Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction

Act, 2006, all operational issues of this nature are exclusively for the Sea Fisheries Protection

Authority (SFPA) and the Naval Service.  As Minister, I am precluded from getting involved


in operational control matters such as this.


I understand that the SFPA submitted a Control Plan to the EU Commission for review and

approval on 22nd September 2021. A new draft plan must be accepted by the Commission


and formally adopted by it under legislation.


Subsequently, the SFPA has advised that it has had comprehensive engagement with DG

Mare on the plan.   The SFPA advised that it has updated industry representatives on the


discussions with DG Mare.  


During EU Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius visit to Killybegs recently, representatives

of the fishing industry set out the challenges facing the industry in the absence of a control

plan that would allow weighing of fish in factories. I asked the Commissioner, during this

visit, to give as much priority as possible to the Commission’s examination of Ireland’s draft

control plan given the real challenges currently being faced by the industry.

I am keeping the lines of communication open with Commissioner Sinkevicius over the


coming period  so that he understands the challenges that would practically arise if a new

Control plan is not in place for the beginning of the 2022 pelagic season.


For Written Answer on : 01/12/2021


Question Number(s): 212 Question Reference(s): 59179/21

Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.






To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the amount of fish caught in Irish

waters from 2016 to 2021 by species of fish and by the nationality of fishing trawlers in


tabular form.



(See attached file: PQ 59179-21 Tables 1 and 2.docx)


In June 2018 in the context of preparation for Brexit, a fact sheet was published setting out

the landings from the Irish Exclusive Zone for the years 2011 to 2015.


Under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), official landing statistics are reported by Member

States by ICES division, rather than by Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and most ICES

divisions straddle more than one EEZ area.  Landings are also reported by statistical

rectangles - these are the smallest spatial unit by which catches are reported (approx. 36 x 30


nautical miles in size).


In order to estimate the landings from the Irish EEZ, the Marine Instiute has advised that the

best available method is to sum the data by statistical rectangle for all of these units in the

Irish EEZ. For rectangles that fall partially inside the EEZ, the landings inside the EEZ are

assumed to be proportional to the spatial area of the rectangle that lies inside the EEZ.

Annual international landings data, by species and country, at the statistical rectangle level is

held by Joint Research Centre (JRC) on behalf of the Scientific, Technical and Economic

Committee for Fisheries (STECF).  The data made available to the Marine Institute for the

most recent years does not currently provide catch data at country and species level by year


on landings taken in the relevant ICES areas..


The Marine Institute has access to the detailed data for Irish vessels, as well as the

international data from JRC.  On this basis it has estimated the proportion of the total

landings from the Irish EEZ taken by Irish vessels with the balance taken by vessels of other


Member States and Third countries.


The attached tables, compiled by the Marine Institute, set out the weight (in tonnes) and

approximate value (in thousands of Euro) of landings from the Irish EEZ by Ireland for the

top 25 species for the period 2015 to 2019.  The data sets for 2020 and 2021 are not available




Table 1 provides a breakdown of the landings tonnage of the top 25 species by year. Overall

Irish vessels take 35.5% of the landings but this figure varies greatly by species. If only the

species managed under the TAC and Quota system are taken into account, the percentage of


landings by Irish vessels is 31.6%.


Table 2 gives an approximate monetary value of the landings by applying the average value

(price per kg at first sale) of the Irish landings to the dataset. The percentages per species are

the same as the tonnage because the same mean price was applied to Irish and non-Irish

landings. The overall percentage of the value of the landings taken by Irish vessels from the


Irish EEZ is 38.8% for all species and 36.1% for TAC species only.


I have asked my Department to work with the Marine Institute to prepare an information


paper setting out this information and make it publicly available.

By Aontú Press | 9 December, 2021

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