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Irish fishing industry bodies say they are “gravely concerned” that the outcome of current ongoing negotiations in Oslo will see Norway granted access to Irish waters to fish 150,000 tons of blue whiting.

This move would confer a value to the Norwegian fishing sector estimated at €42 million and without any compensation to the EU and Irish industry, they claim.

Aodh O Donnell of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO) said that the Irish industry is not opposed to granting Norway access arrangements to fish blue whiting, as they have done so for many years.

However, the industry “considers it entirely reasonable” that the EU receives compensation from Norway for granting such access.

O Donnell says: “We are in Oslo to participate in ongoing fishing negotiations for 2024 and with a prospect of Norway being granted access to our waters to fish almost three times Ireland’s own quota and free gratis. This access ambition is of critical importance to Norway as this blue whiting stock is abundant mainly in Irish waters.

“We are not opposed to reaching an agreement and there is precedence in such arrangements for granting access. The access for Norway to Irish waters underpins their profitability for this fishery.

“However, a fair treatment is needed if Ireland’s seafood sector is to survive and grow, as Norway’s is. This is critical for the Irish industry, which is still reeling from the Brexit TCA in which we lost 40 per cent of the total EU value in this deal.”