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News Roundup for the Week

CONCERN ABOUT SPANISH VESSEL AT CASTLETOWNBERE

The skipper and eight of the crew of the ‘Notre Dame Cedeira’, which docked in Castletownbere on April 21 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to media reports in Spain. Six of the crew of the 33-metre longliner were not infected when given hospital tests. The skipper wanted to remain on the vessel to avoid infecting his family, but was told he had to quarantine elsewhere and is in a local hotel, according to the reports. The French-flagged Spanish-registered longliner operates out of La Rochelle in France, but her home port is in Celeiro, Spain.

During fishing trips to the Irish coast it regularly lands catches into Castletownbere which are unloaded and shipped directly to Spain. The Skipper maintained that the crew was not allowed to go into Castletownbere town on their last call. However, there is concern amongst the community which has not been relieved because of the lack of response from the Department of Health to the situation. Media reports from Dingle in County Kerry highlighted local concerns about non/Irish vessels landing there.

MEP UNDERTAKES TO RAISE COMPLAINTS ABOUT FRENCH FISHERMEN

Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher has told the Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-op that he will raise with the EU Commission the reported boycott attempts by French fishermen against Irish fish exports to France, as reported by the MARINE TIMES in last week’s Update. Castletownbere Co-op Managing Director John Nolan said last week that French fishermen used Irish waters as European waters to make catches but didn’t want their markets in France to be European.

DELAYED IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PILOT QUOTA BALANCING POLICY FOR DEMERSAL (WHITEFISH) STOCKS

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced that the implementation of the Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Demersal (Whitefish) Stocks will be delayed until 1st June 2020.

The Minister has acknowledged that the current economic climate has had a significant impact on the seafood industry and has been particularly challenging for vessels in the demersal (whitefish) fleet, stating “this delay will allow our whitefish fleet extra time to become familiar with the quota balancing process and to adapt in these unprecedented times.”

The Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Demersal (Whitefish) Stocks (with technical amendment of August 2019) was due to be implemented from 1st January 2020, with quota balancing statements to issue to licence holders later this month. It is anticipated that quota balancing statements for demersal (whitefish) stocks for the calendar months of January 2020 to May 2020 will be issued to licence holders for information purposes only.

A copy of the Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Demersal Stocks (with technical amendment of August 2019) is available to view on the Departments website at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/seafoodpolicy/forms/