Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D, has announced details of a new Scheme to support seafood enterprises to develop export markets and mitigate the potential effects of Brexit. The Seafood Scaling and New Market Development Scheme is being launched under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014-20, co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union. The Scheme is being implemented through a partnership between Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Bord Bia. Minister Creed made the announcement at a Brexit Preparedness workshop in Cork to help agri-food businesses of all sizes and their logistics and transport companies to take steps now to ensure their goods move efficiently through ports after the UK’s departure from the EU.

Announcing the Scheme, Minister Creed said: “Government is continuing to support businesses, especially the agri-food sector, to prepare for Brexit through a broad range of advisory and financial supports. I am launching today new supports targeted specifically at seafood enterprises to support them in developing and diversifying their export markets worldwide. This Scheme will support seafood enterprises to develop new export markets through international seafood trade shows and other customer networking events. The largest support rates will be reserved for seafood enterprises who work together to develop export markets and these groups will be supported for additional activities such as overseas agents and office rental, and for formal participation in trade shows”.

Jim O’Toole, CEO of Bord Iascaigh Mhara spoke of the needs of the largely export-led seafood industry and said:  “As businesses in the seafood sector continue to prepare for Brexit, this new scheme is very welcome. Diversifying into new markets demands a deeper understanding of requirements so that Irish companies can best develop their offering to exploit new opportunities.”

Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia said “Although the UK remains a vital market for the seafood industry, changing global circumstances have moved the diversification opportunity centre stage. This scheme will further support seafood businesses to pursue potential growth opportunities in new regions and ensure they are fully equipped to meet the market challenges ahead.”

At the seminar in Cork, Minister Creed reminded businesses that the UK’s departure from the EU will give rise to new requirements in relation to the carrying out of documentary, identity and physical checks on imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin – including wood and wood products, as set out in EU legislation, and added, “With just five weeks to go until 31 October, I am repeating my call to businesses trading in agri-food and fisheries products to familiarise themselves with the specific requirements for the commodities they trade in and ensure they are registered with Revenue and my Department.”

Details of the Seafood Scaling and New Market Development Scheme and how to apply can be found at www.bim.ie/schemes/

In addition to this series of Brexit Preparedness seminars that have been held this month, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are operating a dedicated helpline (076 106 4443) and email address (Brexitcall@agriculture.gov.ie) to assist the sector in preparing for the changes Brexit will bring.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has published a “Brexit preparedness Checklist” for businesses moving animals, plants and products of animal and plant origin.  This is available at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/brexit/preparingforbrexit/

The Government has also prepared a booklet, Getting your Business Brexit Ready:  Practical Steps, which provides a comprehensive overview for businesses on the core steps they should take to prepare for Brexit.