Irish fishing industry representatives have held what they described as a ‘positive’ meeting with the EU Fisheries Commission in Brussels.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting yesterday afternoon, the Irish delegation said they feel there has been “a significant shift, and there is now a better understanding of the Irish position”.
The two-hour meeting was held with senior members of the EU Fisheries Commission negotiating team. It took place as a fourth round of talks between Norway and the EU Fisheries Commission is due to open in Brussels today. These talks broke down before Christmas, following strong opposition from the Irish fishing industry to a proposal to give Norway unfettered and unreciprocated access to Ireland’s blue whiting grounds.
The Irish industry representatives say they had a very clear message for the EU negotiating team. They emphasised that “access for Norway to Irish blue whiting grounds east of the 12 degrees west line, must be paid for by a reciprocal transfer of Norway’s blue whiting quota to Ireland.”
The representatives said they felt satisfied that there had been a positive engagement process with the EU today. They included: Aodh O Donnell, chief executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), Brendan Byrne, chief executive of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA), Sean O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) and Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO).
The Irish delegation said their purpose in travelling to Brussels was to deliver the right outcome from the EU-Norway talks for their members in the fishing industry.
Earlier yesterday, they also met the Irish Fisheries Attaché, Colm Ó Súilleabháin and Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine negotiator, Anna O’Sullivan.
A range of further meetings are expected to take place in Brussels over the coming weeks.