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Lack of Government Guidance for Fishing If No EU/UK Brexit Deal

Amidst increasing concern that the UK Government is using fisheries as a ‘bargaining chip’ in the “on/off” Brexit deal discussions with the EU and uncertainty about how it will affect the Irish fishing industry, the question what State aid might be made available to the fishing sector is unclear. The latest ‘Brexit Action Plan’ published by the government, while re-stating the importance of the EU securing a deal on fisheries, does not define measures in the event of a no-deal scenario, he said.

"State aid for fishermen will be imperative and it is disappointing that the guidance is not able to make clear what could be available in the sector in 2021," commented the CEO of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organistion, Sean O’Donoghue.

UK daily newspaper, The Guardian, has claimed to have seen diplomatic cables “introducing a new fisheries concept designating 80% of common stocks as priority for British fishermen only.”

New SFPA Technology System

The SFPA is to roll-out of a new IT system to support increased compliance with sea-fisheries regulations. “VALID is a fully automated crosscheck system that will automatically verify data, including in real time. The system will make it easier to identify vessels with a higher risk of non-compliance, enabling the SFPA, the Naval Service and the Air Corps, to focus resources on vessels and fishing activity requiring more targeted inspections. The new system applies to all Irish vessels fitted with an electronic recording and reporting system (ERS),” according to a statement issued by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

“The system has been developed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Information Management Team within the current Integrated Fisheries Information System (IFIS). SFPA and FMC can now automatically cross-check* data information provided in the electronic logbooks by the vessel Master, the vessel’s electronic monitoring system (VMS) as well as information provided by buyers on sales notes allowing immediate identification of inconsistencies, errors and missing information. The SFPA/FMC will follow up on every detected fail that is notified by the system in relation to data to close them out. This may include contacting the Master/Owner and notifying them of the action that they may be required to take. More serious fails may result in infringement action being pursued by the SFPA/FMC. In recent weeks Masters, Owners and Buyers may have noticed this increase in communication.”