Irish fishermen are worried about losing access to UK waters
Irish fishermen have expressed their concern about the uncertainty posed by Brexit and the possibility that they may lose access to UK waters after 29 March 2019. The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) considers that the chaos surrounding Brexit could now face further serious challenges and potential hardship during the annual meeting of the Council of Fisheries Ministers.
Negotiations to set total allowable catches and quotas for 2019 are taking place these days in Brussels, with the KFO saying that the “all-too-real possibility” of a hard Brexit and the potential subsequent implications for fisheries after that, reports Seafood Source magazine.
Irish fisheries sector has an overall dependency for all stocks of more than 30% on access to British waters and KFO Chief Executive Seán O’Donoghue said that it is crucial that the council, in reaching agreement for the 2019 fishing opportunities, make a clear and unequivocal statement that these arrangements apply for the entire 2019 calendar year, irrespective of what happens with Brexit.
"We cannot countenance a situation whereby this access might stop on 30 March 2019, due to a hard Brexit. It is incumbent on the council to ensure that this will not happen and I am calling on Minister Creed to make this a priority during the negotiations. For us, the crucial issue remains that the linkage between access and resources to the wider trade issue be at the heart of a post-Brexit arrangement for Irish fisheries sector thereby delivering an outcome which is acceptable to us", pointed O’Donoghue.
Last week, UK Secretary of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Michael Gove confirmed that the government will bolster the Fisheries Bill by tabling an amendment that would oblige the Secretary of State to pursue a fairer share of fishing opportunities than the UK currently receives under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
"We are taking back control of our waters and will secure a fairer share of fishing opportunities for the whole of the UK fishing industry as we leave the EU", declared Gove.
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