IRELAND has experienced an explosion in the number of bluefin tuna feeding in its waters during annual migration, but Irish fishermen have no commercial quota to target this valuable species.
That’s according to Independent Deputy Michael Collins who told the Dáil that Irish fisherman were not getting their fair share of the species.
In fact, they must actively avoid catching these fish while fishermen from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus are allowed a catch allowance, he said.
‘Quotas for bluefin in European waters are set by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, ICCAT,’ he said. ‘This year, the authorisation was given to 1,088 vessels and the EU quota has been set at 15,850 tonnes, of which Ireland has been allocated zero. Denmark, which had no commercial quota like Ireland, has now applied for quota. Has the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine made the same request to the EU or ICCAT on Ireland’s behalf?’ he asked.
In reply, Minister Michael Creed said the species is the subject matter of a quota and of international negotiations between the EU and other interested parties.
‘The State pursues its interest in consultation with the various fish producer organisations, including the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation Ltd,’ he said. ‘The Deputy is correct to state that we do not have a quota as we prioritise other species.’