Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has met Irish fishing industry representatives in the National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty to discuss the state of play on Brexit and possible serious impacts facing the sector.
The Minister outlined the exposure of the Irish fishing sector to the serious threats posed by a possible ‘No Deal’ Brexit.
‘A ‘No Deal’ Brexit poses serious challenges for the Irish Fishing industry including potential loss of access to UK waters where we catch over a third of our quotas,’ Michael Creed said.
‘We do not know what action the UK may take in relation to fisheries in a No Deal situation, but we need to prepare for the worst case scenario whereby the UK would exclude EU fishing vessels from its waters. I have worked closely with fishing stakeholders since Brexit was decided and today’s meeting was part of that ongoing engagement.’
The Minister updated the stakeholders on the continuing preparedness work that the Government as a whole was doing and the specific work in relation to fisheries at both national and EU level.
‘Today was about ensuring that our fishing representatives are fully informed of the preparedness work that is underway. If the EU fleet is excluded from UK waters it would have serious implications for the Irish fleet. To minimize that possible impact, there must be a co-ordinated EU level response by the Commission, relevant Member States and fisheries stakeholders,’ he said.
Minister Creed gave an update on EU legislative proposals dealing with the possible use of temporary cessation measures, quota swapping with the UK and potential reciprocal access. The Minister also made it clear that more measures will be required and that he had made that clear in his meeting with Fisheries Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, last week. Ireland is working closely and intensively with the other Member States most concerned with the potential impacts for fishing and the EU Commission.
The Minster thanked the industry for their ‘ongoing unity of purpose and strong engagement with myself and the Department and across the EU in defense of Irish fisheries interests.’
Industry representatives present included the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation, the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, the Irish South and West Fishermens Organisation, the Irish South and East Fishermens Organisation and the Irish Fish Producers and Exporters association.