Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Monday, 10 September 2012 13:49 UK

NSMC: Agriculture and aquaculture

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill reported back to the assembly on two NSMC (North South Ministerial Council) meetings, on 10 September 2012.

A meeting on agricultural matters was held in Armagh on 25 July 2012.

Among the matters discussed were the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform process, common fisheries policy regulation and international trade in the agri-food industry.

Paul Frew of the DUP, who chairs the assembly agriculture committee, asked about delays in CAP reform.

The minister explained some of the factors causing the slippage in the reform process, she also outlined the nature of her department's co-operation with the Westminster Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Kieran McCarthy of Alliance asked if there was any prospect of improvements in quotas for the local fishing industry.

Mrs O'Neill said she considered the annual quota negotiations to be "a dance" that did not allow fishermen to plan ahead.

The minister then gave a statement on the NSMC meeting on aquaculture held at Derry City Council offices on 4 July 2012.

The meeting discussed two serious assaults on agency staff in the Lifford area of County Donegal, and the preparation of a plan for cooperation between the Irish police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to combat such assaults.

The meeting also received an update on the survival of the Atlantic salmon, the Lough Foyle oyster fishery, and river pollution incidents resulting in fish kills.

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