Tuesday, 24 February 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
127. Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the conservation measures which have been introduced within the Irish fishing fleet in the past year to ensure that the fishing industry is adapting to more sustainable fishing practices. [5876/04]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): The measures under which the Irish fishing fleet operates are governed by the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy. Within this framework, there is a wide range of conservation measures already in place in Community waters generally and these apply to all EU fishing fleets.
The basic objective of the Common Fisheries Policy is to provide for the sustainable exploitation of resources, taking account of the environmental, economic and social aspects in a balanced manner. This fundamental objective is ongoing in nature and will continue to be the driving force underpinning CFP actions and initiatives.
In so far as the waters around Ireland specifically are concerned, there has been a number of noteworthy conservation measures and developments within the past year. These include the successful outcome to the Irish Box issue under which fishing effort levels of fishing fleets, both Irish and otherwise, will be curtailed. Decisions were also taken within the past year to strengthen recovery measures for cod stocks in the Irish Sea and off the north-west coast of Ireland and for the hake stock off the south and west coast.
Notwithstanding these specific improvements in resource conservation, it is important to plan for strengthened conservation measures for the future. To that end, I have arranged for a major conference to be held in Ireland next month to consider in detail the specific subject of how best to fast-track the further development of environmentally-friendly fishing methods. This conference will be attended by Commissioner Fischler and several Fisheries Ministers from inside and outside the EU and representatives of the various stakeholders.
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