Business news JANUARY 2020 Sustainable quotas for vulnerable fish stocks worth €275m secured The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has announced that EU Agreement has been reached on setting sustainable quotas for fish stocks. The total package of fish quotas agreed is 195,000 tonnes, worth €275 million for the Irish fishing industry in 2020. There will be increases in quotas for a number of our important stocks – including Mackerel (41 per cent increase), and Haddock (+30 per cent), Monkfish (+7 per cent) and Megrims (+3 per cent) in the Celtic Sea. Our second most important fishery, Prawns, has been reduced by 15 per cent in accordance with the scientific advice due to the decline in stock density in some important prawn beds. Some stocks such as cod and whiting in the Celtic Sea remain in very poor shape and at this Council agreement was reached on the introduction of significant additional safeguards designed to rebuild these stocks. Commenting, the Minister said: “Securing agreement on rebuilding measures in the Celtic Sea was one of the most difficult aspects of these negotiations. Council agreed measures that will deliver the necessary protections for cod and whiting while still allowing vessels to continue fishing in a sustainable way. These measures were trialled by our experts in BIM and the Marine Institute, working closely with our fishing fleet. By taking these necessary steps now, we can rebuild the stocks in our Celtic Sea fisheries and avoid the need for closures.” 8 The European Milk Forum (EMF) has published new research which shows that, while the majority of Irish consumers believe they are personally responsible for creating a sustainable future, only four in ten people believe they are well-informed about sustainability. The research – conducted as part of “Sustainable Dairy in Europe”, a threeyear campaign by the European Milk Forum and funded by the EU – was undertaken to gain a better understanding of consumers’ perceptions of sustainability, climate change and the challenges they pose in relation to the dairy sector. Over 2,000 consumers in Ireland were involved in the research as well as consumers in Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands. The important place that dairy continues to play in Irish life is evident in the results of this research, not just in relation to diet but in the context of the contribution that the sector makes to the economy. Chief Executive of the National Dairy Council, Zoe Kavanagh states: “It’s not too surprising that the majority (87 per cent) believe that dairy produce is nutritious and good for them. However, it is very encouraging that Irish people are proud of Ireland’s dairy sector and that they recognise its importance to the economy and jobs. It is clear from the research too that many Irish people believe that the dairy industry has a clear responsibility when it comes to sustainability.” Continuing, she explains: “Sustainability and climate change are pressing challenges that need immediate action globally. The Irish and European dairy sector are working hard to be part of the solution. We have a strategic national plan to help Ireland’s agri-food industry and support Irish farmers to produce dairy products that are important in the daily diet in a more sustainable way, using new farming practices to reduce their impact on the environment.” The research also provided an insight into the consumption of dairy products in Ireland. Milk continues to be the most popular product with 70 per cent drinking it daily. Over half (51 per cent) eat butter daily while three in ten (31 per cent) eat cheese and a quarter eat fermented milk products such as yoghurts. Irish consumers want more information about sustainability Creed highlights the challenge of achieving the SDG 2 Zero Hunger target by 2030 The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, addressed the sixth meeting of the National Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Stakeholder Forum in December, which was held in Dublin Castle. Minister Creed highlighted the support that his Department is providing to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to advance SDG Two ‘Zero Hunger’. Ireland has been a member of the WFP Executive Board for the past two years and during this period Minister Creed has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the WFP. “This partnership commits funding in the amount of €70m from my Department to the WFP over the period 2019-2021, as Ireland’s contribution towards their work in achieving SDG Two Zero Hunger. More than 800 million people in the world were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity in 2018. This underscores the immense challenge of achieving the SDG 2 Zero Hunger target by 2030.’’