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"Our Human Right As Irish Fishers To Fish In The Seas Around The Coasts Of Our Island Nation" ISWFPO

The Irish South and West fish Producers Organisation CLG consistently during the last four years gave regular warnings and pleaded with our Government when meeting Taoisigh, Minister for foreign Affairs, Minister for the Marine and Department Officials along with scientists from Ireland’s Marine Institute to seek policy that would protect our Spawning Grounds and the Biologically Sensitive Area that wraps around our South and West Coasts.

The Irish South and West firmly believe in our human right as Irish Fishers to fish in the seas around the coasts of our Island nation, this is a belief our Taoiseach Michael Martin his Minister for the Marine Charlie McConalogue as is evident in both their recent interviews in our main stream media when they support the new European fisheries policy that acknowledges “Zonal attachment” of a stock is the share of the stock residing within a particular country's economic zone, if necessary weighted by the time it spends in a country's zone over a year. This, then, determines the share that each country gets of the total catch quota for that stock.

The Irish South and West calls for our Taoiseach Michael Martin to threat the fishermen in Irelands EEZ no differently to fishermen in the United Kingdom (including Northern Irish fishermen) fish in our waters must now also be governed under Zonal attachment and must not be taken from Irish Fishermen and given to others while ignoring the plight of our coastal communities and all used once again as a bargaining chip to satisfy political agendas at home and abroad and used to bargain for others trade interests.

So it pleases me no end after the recent Christmas Eve announcement that the agreement was reached on the future relationship with the UK where fear and confusion is now replaced with welcomed clarity and seen as positive for Irelands Agri-sector by our Government.

On behalf of the members of the Irish South and West FPO I welcome Minister McConalogue appreciation of the Irish South and West input and offer a more even greater participation in our engagement to ensure we can not only ensure sustainability for our stocks, assist in the control and enforcement of our fishery but also tackle IUU fishing overfishing by ensuring Ireland will receive its new share of the stock residing within our countries economic zone weighted by the time it spends in our country's zone over a year.

Minister Welcomes EU-UK Agreement on Future Relationship and Pledges to Stand by Affected Sectors

Taoiseach has accepted that Irish fishermen have been badly treated in the Brexit deal. "Fishing communities will be disappointed," Mícheál Martin has admitted.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has welcomed the announcement of an agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relationship. Although the full text of the agreement is still to be assessed, the Minister welcomed, in particular, the agreed establishment of a trading relationship based on zero tariffs and quota restrictions, while at the same time, pointing to the more challenging impacts that will arise for the fishing industry as a result of the agreement reached on fishing quotas.

Speaking after the announcement, the Minister said: “I welcome today’s agreement between EU and UK negotiators after what has been a long and difficult process. This is a positive agreement for Ireland’s agri-food sector, primarily in the avoidance of what would have been very damaging tariffs in the event of ‘No Deal’. The potential for tariffs of up to €2.5 billion on agri-food trade between Ireland and Great Britain had been one of the primary concerns for Government and for stakeholders right across the agri-food sector, so it is welcome that such an outcome has been avoided. The deal does, however, contain unwelcome elements for our fishing industry despite Ireland continually putting forward the strongest possible case for the sector.”

Minister McConalogue emphasised that Brexit always had the potential to impact very negatively on both the agri-food and fisheries industries. Since taking office, he had worked closely with all stakeholders, with Government colleagues and with Member State counterparts to ensure that the best deal possible could be obtained for farming and fishing communities across the country.

“It was critical that a ‘No Deal’ outcome be avoided, not just because of its potential negative impact on trade, but also because of its very serious implications for the fishing industry as a result of access being denied to UK waters and displacement of EU fleets into Ireland’s fishing zone.

In this regard, the Minister said: “The Deal secured in the negotiations has avoided that outcome and secured for Ireland and other EU fleets continued access to UK waters for the next five and a half years, with a further review on continued access thereafter. Inevitably, the Deal comes at a price and I know that it will have real impact on our fishing fleet and coastal communities."

Minister McConalogue added that the EU Fishing industry will unfortunately have to concede some of the fish previously caught in UK waters. However, this will be much less than what the UK was demanding throughout, and right up to the end of these negotiations, but he was acutely conscious that these quota reductions will affect important parts of Ireland’s fishing industry. He confirmed that the Government will work hard with the industry to do all it can in supporting and addressing these challenges.

Minister McConalogue added: "I greatly appreciate the input of fishing industry representatives throughout the negotiation process ensuring that Ireland always spoke with one voice. I would like to reassure stakeholders that the Government fully understands their concerns regarding a cut in a number of quota shares, and we will work together with the sector to develop the necessary supports and approach to address these impacts. We will also examine the wider economic impacts on the agri-food and fisheries sectors that will arise, and consider the development of appropriate and targeted supports, including through engagement with the European Commission on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.”

Minister McConalogue again noted the importance of the recent agreement on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol, which is of fundamental importance to the operation of the all-island economy and the highly integrated all-island agri-food supply chains.

Finally, and importantly, Minister McConalogue took the opportunity to remind all agri-food and fisheries stakeholders - and especially those businesses moving agri-food goods to, from and through Great Britain - that, regardless of today’s agreement, from 1 January 2021, things will change in the functioning of supply chains.

The Minister said: “I stress that, despite today’s developments, our preparations for new regulatory checks and controls that come into effect on 1 January 2021 must continue unabated. The fact is that the UK has left the EU, and will trade with the EU as a Third Country from 1 January. From a regulatory point of view, new sanitary and phytosanitary requirements in the form of documentary, identity and physical checks will apply to imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin from Great Britain, as set out in EU legislation. The seamless trading arrangements in place while the UK was a member of the Single Market will no longer be possible, and disruption and additional costs will arise.

“My Department, in conjunction with other Departments, will ensure that the necessary controls are conducted in a manner that ensures the minimum possible disruption to trade flows whilst also meeting our EU regulatory requirements. We will also ensure that new certification requirements in respect of exports to Great Britain, which are being phased in from 1 January, will be complied with, but again, this will bring new processes, administration and costs that have not been experienced in respect of such trade until now.

“Finally, I want to reassure our farmers and fishers that the Government will stand with them in helping them deal with the implications of this Brexit outcome. We will continue to listen to, engage with and support all sectors in the time ahead,” the Minister said.

Fishing Will Be Affected by Brexit Agreement Reached on Christmas Eve

The EU and the UK have both claimed success over the last - minute Brexit Agreement. The UK government claimed it had taken back control of its future and of its fisheries. The 2,000 page Agreement reached on Christmas Eve is still being assessed but it seems that the EU has agreed to 25 per cent of its catches in British waters being ceded back to the UK.

Final agreement was held up by last-minute wrangling over fishing as both sides haggled over the access EU fisherman will get to Britain's waters after the end of the year.

The UK House of Commons is to meet on Wednesday to duscuss ratification with Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming his government have been the winners.

The EU Presudent is sending the text of the Agreement to the Commission and EU Member State governments. The European Parliament will then be asked to retrospectively approve the deal.

With Britain outside the EU single market and customs area, there will be a multiplicity of new regulations and trading delays expected.

Economists expect both economies, already weakened by the coronavirus epidemic, to take a hit as supply chains are disrupted and costs mount.

But the threat of a return to tariffs will have been removed.

Giving up access to Britain's fishing waters, which support fleets from France, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands has been a major issue in the negotiations.

European Union fishing fleets will have to give up a quarter of their current catch in British waters over the next five and a half years, officials have said. Britain was pushing for an 80 or 60% cut in the EU's share, phased in over only three years.

Boris Johnson said the deal meant Britain would be able to "catch and eat quite prodigious quantities of extra fish".

The EU President said : "We have secured five and a half years of predictability for our fishing communities."

The UK government in a statement said:Downing Street source said: "Deal is done. "We have taken back control of our fishing waters. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.

Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said it will not be a disaster for Irish fishing, but Brexit was not going to conclude without some impact on fishing.

The extent of that effect remains to be seen and will only become known when the 2,000 page Agreenent is fully analysed.

Brexit deal fails Irish fishermen

KFO demands compensation in mackerel quota transfer from other EU members

The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has said the Brexit deal reached this evening has demonstrated the duplicitous nature of these protracted negotiations and expressed its dismay at how repeated guarantees given to Irish fishermen have, effectively been shredded.

Having secured a host of written commitments in official documents pertaining to the fisheries sector post-Brexit, KFO Chief Executive, Seán O’Donoghue said four and a half years of agreements had for all intents and purposes, been dishonoured by the negotiators.

Mr O’Donoghue stated: “We cannot stand idly by and allow decades of investment in developing a successful enterprise, to be sacrificed by the shape of this very poor deal.

“In spite of a seismic effort to redress the imbalance of the proposed deal in recent days, not enough has changed and our highly-developed mackerel fishery stands to lose out dramatically. While the full detail of the text is not yet available, it will require very close examination and analysis. Make no mistake - we will be seeking compensation from our EU colleagues to put right this grievous wrong.

“We won’t accept this. Moreover, we fully expect the Irish Government to deliver the requisite compensation in the form of transfer of mackerel quota from the other EU coastal states which pro rata, have seen a much less severe impact on their respective mackerel fisheries,” he concluded.