BIM has emailed vessel owners that have expressed an interest in availing of the Brexit Permanent Voluntary Cessation Scheme to inform them of the eligibility of vessels that will be covered for decommissioning.
While the majority of the conditions are similar to previous decommissioning schemes, the insertion of a condition (See point 5 below) that the applicant must not have increased the total capacity of fishing vessels in his/her ownership since 1 January 2021 has come as a shock to many applicants as this was not a recommendation of the recent Seafood Task Force.
When the possibility that this condition was part of the scheme began to circulate last week, IS&WFPO CEO, Patrick Murphy contacted officials in the Department of the Marine for clarification and was informed by a senior official that the scheme submitted to DPER, Cabinet and DG Competition was in line with the relevant recommendation of the Task Force. It was also stated by the official that they had no knowledge of any such restrictive condition.
Speaking to The Skipper, Patrick Murphy stated. “We are seeking immediate clarification from both DAFM and DG Mara as when it was decided to insert this condition. Having a cut off date of January 2021 which was long before any decommissioning scheme was announced or formulated will disqualify many vessel owners around our coast from participating in the scheme and discourage any future investment in our industry”
Details of the scheme released this morning are as follows:
The scheme is open to licence holders of fishing vessels that:
- Are registered on the Irish sea-fishing boat register in the polyvalent or beam trawl segments and holding a valid sea-fishing boat license issued by the Licensing Authority for Sea-Fishing boats at the time the decision is taken to grant the withdrawal premium and which vessels are 10 years or more in age at the time of application, and
- Have carried out at least 90 days of fishing activity at sea per year either during 2020 and 2021 or during the calendar years 2018 and 2019.
- Vessels that were granted capacity under the 2001 Lost at Sea Scheme may also apply. However, as the capacity associated with such vessels is non-transferable and cannot not be sold or traded, applications from the owners of such vessels will be subject to special conditions regarding the level of payment.
- The applicant must be the registered owner of the vessel to be withdrawn, i.e. a sole trader, a joint owner, company etc.
- The applicant must be in a position to comply with the relevant tax clearance procedures at the time of grant payment. The vessel to be withdrawn must, at the time of application, be registered on the Irish Register of Fishing boats in either the polyvalent or beam-trawl segment; must be in possession of a sea fishing boat licence, in the applicant’s name; and be operational, that is compliant with all relevant legislation and capable of putting to sea. Vessels approved for permanent withdrawal must remain registered on the Irish Register of Fishing boats, in possession of a sea fishing boat licence and operational up until the time of permanent withdrawal.
- The vessel to be withdrawn must be 10 years or more in age at the time of application. For the purpose of this scheme, the age of a vessel is a whole number defined as the difference between the year of the managing authority’s decision to grant a premium or aid and the year of entry into service, defined in Regulation (EU) 2017/1130 as, the date of first issue of an official safety certificate, or, if an official safety certificate is not issued, the date of first entry in an official register of fishing vessels. In the case of fishing vessels which entered service before the date on which Regulation (EU) 2017/1130 come into force, the date of entry into service shall be the date of first entry in an official register of fishing vessels.
- Vessels that were granted capacity under the 2001 Lost at Sea Scheme may also apply.
- The applicant must not have increased the total capacity of fishing vessels in his/her ownership since 1 January 2021.
- The applicant must undertake not to register any new fishing vessel, or increase the capacity of any other fishing vessel(s) in his/her ownership, for a five-year period following the receipt of support under this scheme.