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Gildernew fails fishermen again - Allister

15 April 2009

Traditional Unionist MEP Jim Allister has deplored the failure of Fisheries Minister, Gildernew, to secure any swap this year from the Republic of Ireland of cod and plaice quota, in return for monkfish, as part of the negotiations which flow, after Quotas are set, from the Hague Preference.
Mr Allister explained:
"The Hague Preference is an arrangement between certain member states whereby some of the impacts of the Fish Quotas, set in December each year in Brussels, are adjusted. Generally, the British Isles gain from the Hague Preference but our fleet loses out on Irish Sea stocks. Normally, this is ameliorated by a swap of stock allowances between Northern Ireland and the Republic, with Northern Ireland swapping monkfish for more cod and plaice quota.
This year, however, Minister Gildernew utterly failed to attain any swap from the Republic, leaving our cod quota particularly short. This is a catastrophic failure by the Minister. She loves to romanticise about the all-Ireland approach, yet here she fluffed the negotiations and came away empty handed. Our fishermen will pay the price of her ineptitude. The question is 'how hard did she try'? Do we have a Minister content to see the Republic hoard extra quota and Northern Ireland go short? It is looking like it!
Even under Direct Rule we never failed to benefit from such swaps, but this year the Stormont Executive has let down Northern Ireland's fishermen."
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