The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D, met today with representatives of the Irish fishing industry to hear at first hand their concerns about fishing in the EU/UK negotiations and the challenges they are facing arising from the Covid-19 crisis.
The industry representatives attending were from the four Fishermen’s Producer Organisations (Irish South and East Fish Producer Organisation, Killybegs Fishermen’s Producer Organisation, Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, Irish Fish Producers Organisation), the National Inshore Fisherman’s Forum and the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association.
The Minister held a detailed and informative meeting with the fishing industry representatives. The representatives made clear the serious long term issues that their members would face in the event that the UK’s demands for a greater share of fish stocks and restricted access to UK fishing grounds were granted.
Each of the representatives also set out the very difficult challenges that are arising because of the weaker markets for fish with reduced prices for many species.
Minister Calleary said “I listened carefully to the clearly articulated challenges facing the fishing industry both in the context of Brexit and arising from the Covid-19 crisis.
“I made clear that I will be pressing for a fisheries agreement with the UK that upholds both existing quota shares and existing reciprocal access to UK waters.
“I will continue to press for the maintenance of the linkage of fisheries to the overall economic partnership agreement as this will be central to a successful agreement.
“I assured the industry representatives of my commitment and that of the Government to work towards a fisheries agreement with the UK that protects their interests and ensures a long term future for our coastal communities dependant on fisheries”
In relation to the current challenges facing the sector arising from the COVID crises, Mr Calleary said “The Governments clear intention is to provide supports that help to re-vitalise all areas in the economy including the seafood sector.
“I will be working across Government to devise measures to support jobs and communities over the coming period. Finally, I sent out the huge ambition in the Programme for Government for building a sustainable fishing sector.
“The continued ambition for the development of a sustainable fisheries sector is a significant feature of the new Programme for Government. I look forward to working with the sector to delivering on that objective.”