European Fisheries Commissioner to Visit Northern Ireland
Date: 21 April 2010
Reference: AGR 12/09/10
The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development is set to host the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. While the date has not yet been set, the Committee will use the visit to show Maria Damanaki the problems facing Northern Ireland’s fishing fleet.
Speaking about the forthcoming visit, the Committee Chairman, Ian Paisley Jnr said: “We are very pleased that the Commissioner has agreed to come to Northern Ireland. We have written to her previously, stressing the hardship that the fishing industry will face after the quota cuts agreed in the December Fisheries Council decision. These cuts will reduce the catch of whitefish by 18% and the prawn catch by 10%.
“This visit is a positive move by Commissioner Damanaki, and the Committee will use the Commissioner’s visit to emphasise the devastating effects that these cuts in quota and days at sea are having on the livelihoods of local people and on our proud fishing heritage.
“I am happy to welcome her to Northern Ireland and will ensure that she sees the major impact the cuts have on our industry first hand.”
The Committee has underlined its willingness to work with the Commissioner’s office and the industry to develop a strategy to secure the future of fishing livelihoods in Northern Ireland.
The Committee is hopeful that the Commissioner will visit fishing villages in Northern Ireland which have been hit by the reduction in quotas. There are also plans for a meeting with the affected industry and local community in order to strengthen the case for Northern Ireland at future Fisheries Council meetings.