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Brexit Impact on Irish Fishing Industry Requires Dedicated Marine Minister

31st December 2020
Kilmore Quay skipper Will Bates Kilmore Quay skipper Will Bates Photo: Screenshot: Sean Moroney

As details emerge on the full negative impact of Brexit on the Irish fishing industry, two Wexford skippers have called for the appointment of a dedicated minister for marine. 

Scallop skippers Will Bates and Seamus Molloy who fish from Kilmore Quay have welcomed Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s appeal for “progressive ideas” from the fishing industry. 

However, they have said the government must have a Cabinet member whose sole task is to provide leadership in relation to the difficulties facing the Irish marine sector.

Seamus Molloy - Kilmore Quay fishermanSeamus Molloy - Kilmore Quay Scallop fisherman. Screenshot: Sean Moroney

Ireland must start “taking back”, given that it will represent some 12 per cent of EU waters – but with “30 per cent of fishable waters”, the fishermen have said.

"Ireland should seek a share of the bluefin tuna quotas allocated to other EU member states"

As a first step, Ireland should seek a share of the bluefin tuna quotas allocated to other EU member states, given that the migratory fish spend up to four months off this coast, they say.

Under the Brexit deal finalised on Christmas Eve, the EU is handing back 25 per cent of its share of the catch in British waters. 

There will be a five-and-a-half-year transition period, after which both sides will hold annual negotiations on some 100 shared stocks from 2026.

Seán O'Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO), said the deal demonstrated the “duplicitous nature of the protracted negotiations” and that the “repeated guarantees” given to Irish fishermen had effectively been shredded.

The four and a half years of agreements have for all intent and purposes been “dishonoured by the negotiators” the KFO leader has said.

The reaction of the Kilmore Quay skippers can be heard on Wavelengths below

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Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...

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