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Quick Rejection of EU Offer

The British Government very quickly rejected the offer put forward on Friday by EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier that it “could accept a 15-18 per cent cut in its share of rights in UK waters.”

“Derisory” was the description from the UK side to an offer which, though only made public Friday, was reported to have been introduced to the talks several weeks ago.

The quick UK rejection reflected increased tension and disagreement between both sides. It was reported in the British media that

British and EU officials said the offer was made some weeks ago.

“Completely unacceptable and unhelpful” was added to the “derisory” description issuing from Downing Street ahead of the resumption of Brexit talks in London today (Saturday).

The UK response did also indicate that Barnier’s offer was regarded as “giving in” to a certain extent and a “step back” from his original negotiating mandate in which he was instructed to “uphold” the existing rights of EU fishermen. “Further EU moves are likely to be needed if a deal is to be reached,” UK media reported.

MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE COMMENT ON DEVELOPMENTS

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue attended a virtual meeting on Friday with Michel Barnier and Fisheries Ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium. They were reported to have urged Barnier to stay firm on this and not to agree to any short-term arrangement on fisheries.

Minister McConalogue stressed that “Ireland’s fishing industry needs a strong and stable EU/UK Fisheries agreement. Our fishing industry is in a particularly vulnerable position as Ireland shares its main fish stocks and its waters on three sides with the UK and needs to retain access to UK waters and to shared resources. Any outcome in the future relationship negotiations that results in a loss of quota share for the EU would be damaging to Ireland’s fishing industry.

The Marine Department issued a statement saying that the Minister had stated at the meeting with our EU Ministers that “in the event of No Deal and EU vessels being denied access to UK waters Ireland could face serious difficulties arising from displacement of EU fishing activity into our zone.”

DAIL COMMITTEE TO GET SUSTAINABILITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Following a meeting with fisheries representative organisations on Thursday Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue announced that he would present a Sustainability Impact Assessment to the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine on Tuesday. The meeting of the Sea Fisheries Liaison Group of Fisheries Stakeholders to discuss the European Commission’s proposal for Fishing Opportunities for 2021.was attended by fishing industry representative bodies and environmental NGOs.

This meeting is held each year in advance of the negotiations at the December EU Fisheries Council for the Minister to hear the views of all fisheries stakeholders on the Commission’s proposals for Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas for the following year.

“This is an important part of the Sustainability Impact Assessment of the Commission’s proposal, which also includes a public consultation and as well as expert contributions from the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara. There was the good engagement at the meeting.In these uncertain times it is more important than ever that we work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the Irish Fishing Community while ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks.”

FIRST FEMALE CPO IN THE NAVY

The Naval Service has appointed the first woman in its history to the rank of CPO – Chief Petty Officer. Patricia O’Sullivan who achieved the rank of CPO was presented with her new rank markings by her brother Donal who is also a Naval CPO.

WORLD FISHERIES DAY

“Little is known about the biology of the vast majority of the non-commercial fish species in Irish waters,” said Declan Quigley, biologist and Senior Port Officer with the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) in Howth, Co Dublin, on World Fisheries Day which was marked around the world last Saturday. He called on the fishing community as well as the public to keep a lookout year-round for rarely recorded and unusual aquatic life in a bid to increase our knowledge of Ireland’s marine biodiversity.

“Understandably, most of the focus in Ireland and elsewhere is on learning more about commercial fish stocks, those that we would expect to find on a typical fish counter. However, a total of 567 species of fish have been recorded from Irish territorial waters yet only about 10% of these are fished commercially and less than 5% are subject to on-going stock assessments and fisheries management. Little is known about the biology of the vast majority of the non-commercial fish species in Irish waters, although they represent an important component of our National Marine Biodiversity and an essential part of our marine ecosystems. Citizen Scientists can help to fill that knowledge gap,” said Mr.Quigley.