Mr Murrin, who ran for Fine Gael in the European elections in 1984 and is a former Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) chairman, claimed the country was losing millions of euro because of EU and Irish government dithering.
The KFO however said it rejected “personal comments by Joey Murrin on the mackerel negotiations as unfounded scaremongering” and giving the “incorrect impression that he is the only one who is actively campaigning to stop the reckless and irresponsible behaviour of Faros and Iceland in setting unjustified enormous autonomous mackerel quotas.”
The KFO said it had been very active in attending and participating in all mackerel negotiations over the last two years and has had several meetings with Minister Coveney and his predecessor on an agreed national position.
The KFO says it has full confidence in the Department’s negotiator that attends the meetings and sees no basis whatsoever of the claim that Irish pelagic fishermen could lose €30 million in 2012.
The body claimed it had been instrumental in conjunction with EU pelagic industry colleagues in getting the EU Commission to bring forward its sanctions proposal on the 12th December 2011.
In a statement issued today the Chief Executive of the KFO Sean O’Donoghue said he was “surprised at Joey’s comments as he has neither been party to any of the negotiations nor been in touch with the organisation to get updates on the negotiations, and seems to be unaware that the sanctions proposal by the Commission was published before Christmas and discussed at the December Fisheries Council.”
He went on: “I am at a loss to understand how he arrived at an estimated loss of €30 million in 2012 for Irish mackerel fishermen.
“Furthermore I have full confidence in the Department’s negotiator that attends the Coastal States meetings. He not only fully understands the importance the mackerel fishery for Ireland but has a very clear negotiating mandate from the Minister and has remained in constant with the KFO during meetings.”
He added: “These are personal comments by Joey and do not reflect the views of the KFO. The Commission sanctions proposals published by the Commission before Christmas has been called for by KFO and EU pelagic industry colleagues for almost two years and were a key priority at our meeting with Commissioner Damanaki last July.”
The statement went on: “The factual situation as regards the mackerel Coastal States negotiations is that a further round of negotiations is scheduled for next week in Reykjavik Iceland from the 14th February to 17th February.
“Should there be no agreement there both the EU and Norway have already agreed that they set the final TAC based on the ICES scientific advice for 2012 which is almost identical to 2011 advice. It is anticipated that Ireland’s final quota will be only slightly down on the 2011 quota but most certainly not a 20% reduction.
“The sanctions document that has been published by the Commission before Christmas has already been discussed by the European Parliament Fisheries Committee. Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP has put forward some very good amendments that significantly strengthen the document which were well received by the Committee.
“A satisfactory outcome to mackerel situation is of paramount importance to the KFO and no stone will be left unturned to ensure that happens. The KFO is fully aware of the importance of mackerel fishery to Killybegs particularly to employment at sea and ashore.”