Voisinage agreement reinstated
The reinstatement of the voisinage agreement comes as a relief to the inshore fleet. Image: Sea Source NI

Voisinage agreement reinstated

The voisinage agreement between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, covering access to fishing grounds inside six miles, and which twenty fishing vessels in Northern Ireland rely on, has been reinstated.

The agreement had lapsed following a legal challenge over vessels from the north fishing for seed mussels in Republic waters, and the region has seen a couple of incidents with NI vessels detained by the Irish authorities as smaller boats have found themselves excluded from traditional waters along the Co Down coast.
The longstanding voisinage agreement is now back in force and the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation and its members have welcomed the news that Dublin has reinstated it.
‘Our members are hardworking and respected fishermen, who wish to put this incident behind them and recommence operations subject to Irish fisheries regulations in what are traditional fishing grounds for our inshore vessels,’ an ANIFPO spokesman said.
‘Since this matter arose in October 2016 many politicians and others have expressed solidarity with our fishermen. We wish to publicly record our sincere thanks to those who have supported us throughout this period with both direct representations to the Dublin Government and by raising the matter in Westminster.’
‘A particular and special thank you to Margaret Ritchie who continues to be a stalwart supporter of County Down’s fishermen, who throughout has maintained contact between the Irish Minister’s office and ourselves.’