Minister Connick Discusses Issues of Shared Interest on Fishing and Aquaculture with the Norwegian State Secretary for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Mr Vidar Ulriksen
Sean Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, met with Mr Vidar Ulriksen the Norwegian State Secretary for Fisheries and Coastal affairs, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Ireland.
The meeting comes at a very opportune time when the annual EU /Norway fisheries agreement is under discussion and further attempts are being made between the EU and Norway to broker an agreement with Iceland and the Faroe islands on management arrangements for mackerel, Ireland's most important fishery. The Ministers also discussed issues of common interest on salmon farming.
Minister Connick outlined Ireland's support for a fisheries agreement with Norway which took account of the interests of both parties. The transfers between the two parties relate primarily to the North Sea stocks and Arctic stocks where Ireland does not have any significant quotas. However, the Minister advised the Norwegian Minister that he would not support an arrangement whereby Norway would be given a share of fish stocks such as mackerel or horse mackerel in areas where we have quotas, as we do not benefit from transfers from Norway.
Both Norway and the EU are working closely together to put in place long term sustainable and fair management and sharing arrangements for the mackerel fish stock. Both parties are seeking to end the unrestrained fishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroe Islands which will, if left unchecked, result in the depletion of this important stock. On the lack of progress on reaching an agreement with Iceland and the Faroe Islands on management arrangements for mackerel Minister Connick said "We have a common approach with Norway in seeking to limit the share of the stock going to Iceland and the Faroes, while wanting to arrive at a fair and proportionate arrangement which guarantees the sustainability of the mackerel stock into the future".
Discussions to bring about a resolution to the impasse on mackerel management recommence in Oslo on Thursday 25th November, while the EU Norway negotiations resume in Bergen on Monday 29th November.
The Minister also discussed the salmon farming industry with Minister Ulriksen. Norway is the leading fish farming country in the world in terms of the production of Atlantic salmon. The Ministers discussed issues of common interest including the market, environmental sustainability and development challenges. Minister Connick said "Ireland's salmon farming industry is very small in comparison with the Norwegian situation and is focusing on high quality, organic production. The Ministers discussed shared experiences and opportunities for growth. Minister Connick pointed out his commitment to working with all stakeholders to remove obstacles, many of which are shared with Norway, as the industry has very good potential to increase employment in coastal communities particularly off the west coast".