The EU Commission has issued a Brexit Contingency Plan, agreed with Ireland and seven other affected Member States, which sets out how fisheries would be managed in a No Deal Brexit. Fisheries is recognised as one of the most immediately critical issues facing the EU in a no-Deal Brexit.
‘This communication reflects the high level of planning by Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden working closely with DG Mare,’ commented Ireland’s minister of fisheries Michael Creed.
‘When I met Commissioner Vella last February, I emphasised the real risks of a concentration of fishing into Ireland’s 200 miles fishing zone by EU fleets if they are excluded from UK waters. I pointed out that inevitably this would lead to displacement of our own fleet and depletion of fish stocks if no action is taken.’
The Communication sets down the preparations in the EU, agreed with the eight Member States directly affected, in the event of a no-Deal Brexit. It identifies the need for mitigation measures and in particular compensation for temporary tie up of fishing vessels. It gives the EU Commission a strong co-ordination role.
‘I stressed to the Commissioner the need for a European approach to addressing this issue and agreed with him that the key Member States and DG Mare needed to put in place a contingency plan. I have been working intensively over recent weeks, and have kept the fishing industry informed of the work to ensure that we are ready for this worst case situation, while always hoping that we will never need to call upon these plans.’
He said that measures have been identified and agreed, co-ordinated and fully prepared that will be immediately available to address a no-Deal Brexit situation, if the UK were to decide to deny EU vessels access to UK waters.
‘I am seeking additional EU funds to support this mitigation measure if they become necessary. If we need to call on these arrangements, it will be essential, as we have now agreed at EU level, that all involved EU fleets must co-operate under these structured arrangements to manage the situation. We have now agreed that the Irish fleet would not be disproportionately impacted and have ensured that each Member State impacted would take a fair share of the pain,’ Michael Creed said.