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Allister welcomes review of cod recovery scheme

31 January 2006

"Northern Ireland's whitefish fishermen are facing into the 7th year of a spring closure in the Irish Sea.  This is all in pursuit of the EU Commission's Cod Recovery Scheme which, patently, is not working.  Every year this has a crippling effect on the financial viability of the industry. The Commission constantly insists the closure is justified by the science provided by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), while fishermen insist other factors, like changes in sea temperatures and historic cycles of fish movements, explain the reduction in cod stocks.  Thus a thorough review of the Cod Recovery Scheme has been a justified demand of the industry.

After the disappointments of the December Quota announcements, and following consultation with the industry, I proposed to Commissioner Borg that in this year's contract with ICES he should expressly include in their terms of reference a specific working party to undertake review of the Cod Recovery Scheme in the Irish Sea.  I am pleased that this morning at the Fisheries Committee meeting in Brussels Commissioner Borg responded positively to this request and committed the Commission to this course of action.

This will now afford an opportunity for a thorough examination of cod stocks with fishing interests being able to have an input.  I trust the eventual outcome will be a more realistic approach to fishing in the Irish Sea."

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