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Coveney heads to Brussels for critical talks on fish quotas

The tense annual negotiations on the next year’s fishing quotas are expected to continue into the weekend.

Cod fishing off Scotland in the Irish Sea could be outlawed in 2012 under proposals put forward by the European Commission.
Cod fishing off Scotland in the Irish Sea could be outlawed in 2012 under proposals put forward by the European Commission.
Image: Maurice McDonald/PA Wire

AGRICULTURE MINISTER Simon Coveney will this morning travel to Brussels for tense talks on agreeing fishing quotas for 2012 – amid plans to outlaw cod fishing in some Irish waters for next year.

The meeting of the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council – made up of the fisheries ministers from each of the 27 EU member states – will debate proposals from the European Commission on amendments to this year’s fishing quotas.

The proposals include plans, based on the current level of stocks, to ban all cod fishing in the Irish Sea, as well as off Scotland – a plan that Irish fisheries groups have urged Coveney to try and resist.

The plans to restrict cod catching comes despite the recovery of cod stocks in other parts of the Atlantic, where it is proposed to double the current quotas.

Plans put forward by Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanski propose to increase the quotas of nine fish stocks for 2012 – but simultaneously reduce the quotas permitted for over 50 other stocks.

The Oireachtas committee on agriculture was addressed by representatives from two fishermen’s associations on Tuesday, who urged the government to seek a viable deal for fishing on Irish waters.

The EU summit is scheduled to conclude tomorrow, but may continue into the weekend until ministers reach an agreement on next year’s quotas.

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Gavan Reilly

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