O’Neill hails marine quota success

Welcome news for the local fleet
Welcome news for the local fleet

Proposals to impose swingeing cuts on quotas for Northern Ireland’s fishing fleet have been averted after two days of negotiations in Brussels.

Instead, Fisheries Minister Minister Michelle O’Neill confirmed that local fishermen are set to benefit from an additional £1.2m of fishing opportunities in 2016.

Amid fears of significant quota reductions, she said “complex negotiations” had taken place in opposition to a 17 per cent cut in prawns and a 59 pre cent cut in haddock.

“Some 480 tonnes of additional prawn quota will be available for local fishermen in 2016, worth just over £1m,” said the Minister.

“This brings the value of the quota up to £14.2m. We were able to keep the reduction to two per cent in line with scientific advice and gain an appropriate uplift of 10.2 per cent to account for additional prawn landings under the landing obligation.

“In 2016 our fishing fleet will have access to around 160 tonnes of extra Irish Sea haddock worth in the region of £170,000 which brings the value of the quota up to over £570,000.”

The deal has been welcomed by MEPs Jim Nicholson and Diane Dodds