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Displaying items by tag: Seafood Sector Taskforce

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue claimed a “productive” dialogue after meeting with representatives of the fishing industry to discuss a number of important issues facing the seafood sector today, Thursday 7 July.

“The meeting gave me the opportunity to engage directly with industry representatives and to hear first-hand their concerns and priorities,” the minister said. “This meeting was very productive with representatives from the offshore and inshore fleets, aquaculture and the processing industry attending.

“These are very challenging times for the Irish fishing industry and it is vital that we work together to achieve our shared goal of a sustainable and profitable industry.”

Topics discussed included the operation of schemes recommended by the Seafood Sector Taskforce, the impacts of the fuel crisis, that state of play of the coastal states negotiations on a new sharing arrangement for mackerel and the ongoing discussions between the EU and UK on measures to protect cod and whiting in the Celtic Sea.

The minister thanked the attendees for their input and said that he looked forward to continuing to work closely with the sector on these issues in the coming months.

“I recognise that the seafood sector is facing particular challenges both arising from the impacts of the EU/UK Brexit agreement and the Ukraine war resulting in very high fuel prices,” he said.

“I am pushing forward with the implementation of a range of schemes to address the financial impacts under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve fund involving support of up to €143 million and anticipate receiving State Aid approval for a further number of significant schemes that will support the industry.”

The minister added: “There are important discussions ongoing at EU level on a range of issues that impact directly on the sector involving mackerel sharing negotiations involving the EU, UK, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland that will have longer term impacts. I want to work closely with the sector so that the EU and Ireland secure a fair and proportionate share of this important stock.

“There are also EU/UK discussions ongoing on additional measures to better protect cod in the Celtic sea and also support the whiting stock that is in decline. We need an ambitious approach that helps rebuild these stocks without undue impact on our whitefish fishing fleet which are heavily dependant on the Celtic Sea fisheries.”

Today’s meeting was attended by representatives from the Irish South & East Fish Producers Organisation, Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation, Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation, Irish Islands Marine Resources Organisation, Co-operatives, Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Association, IFA Aquaculture and National Inshore Fisheries Forum.

Published in Fishing

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has announced the establishment of a Seafood Sector Taskforce, which has been charged with making recommendations on measures to mitigate the impact of upcoming fish quota share reductions.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish fishing fleet faces a quota ‘payback’ that will see allowances for a number of key species, such as mackerel and prawns, slashed by thousands of tonnes — a significant shock to the industry and the coastal communities that depends on fisheries.

Speaking today, Friday 26 February, Minister McConalogue said: “These quota reductions will begin in 2021 and on a phased basis will result in a loss to Ireland of stocks worth €43 million per annum by 2026 or a 15% reduction overall in Irish fish quotas.

“The effects are immediate, with 60% of those reductions to take effect from April.

“The outcome of Brexit could have been much worse for the Irish Fishing industry in a no-deal scenario, with lack of access to UK waters for one third of our fish catches that occur in UK waters, or increased displacement of the Irish and other EU fleets into our waters.

“Nevertheless, the agreed EU/UK outcome will still have a significant impact for our fishing fleet and the coastal communities built around it.”

Former Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter will chair the taskforce, which the minister has entrusted “to examine the impacts on our fishing fleet and coastal communities and report back to me with recommendations on how best to mitigate these”.

Cotter will be assisted by a steering group comprising Margaret Daly, deputy CEO of seafood processor Errigal Bay Ltd, and Mícheal Ó Cinnéide, former deputy CEO of the EPA, former director in the Marine Institute and presently on the board of the Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board.

The taskforce’s interim report, due within two months, will focus on “recommended arrangements for a voluntary fleet tie-up scheme to temporarily counter the impact of the reduction in quotas, which will begin to occur from April,” the minister said.

Its final report is due within four months, and is expected to provide recommendations for a voluntary fleet decommissioning scheme, “to adjust and re-balance certain segments of the fleet with the reduced fishing opportunities available”.

The Taskforce has also been asked to consider and recommend “constructive actions” to deal with “the inequitable relative contribution of quota share by Ireland in the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement”.

Minister McConalogue also stated that the Government “is committed to providing financial supports to those most affected to help our seafood sector and coastal communities adjust to this blow”.

Invitations to participate in the Seafood Sector Taskforce have been issued to the following organisations:

  • Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation
  • Irish Fish Producers Organisation
  • Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation
  • Irish South & East Fishermen’s Organisation
  • Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation PO
  • National Inshore Fisheries Forum
  • Fishermen’s Co-operatives (2 representatives of the 4 main Coops)
  • Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Organisation
  • Irish farmers Association (aquaculture branch)
  • Fisheries Local Action Groups (1 representative of the 7 FLAGs)
  • Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine
  • Bord Iascaigh Mhara (secretariat)
  • Enterprise Ireland
  • Tourism Ireland
  • Local Government Management Agency (two coastal local authority representatives)
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta representative
Published in Fishing

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