Seán Kelly MEP has this week been appointed to the European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries.
The Ireland South MEP, is Ireland's only Member of the International Trade Committee, which will complement his latest appointment: "Ireland exports seafood to 80 countries worldwide and is renowned for quality produce, particularly in terms of the organic market.
"The EU market itself is very important for Ireland, but what is most promising is the rise in exports to Asia. Irish seafood exports to Asia are now valued at €15 billion and Chinese demand for seafood is on the rise. I see great opportunities for the Irish fishing fleet there. Of course, 2017 begins on a positive note for Ireland which has some 233,500 tonnes of quota this year, valued at €280 million to the industry, representing a 6 percent rise in quota compared to last year, as confirmed just last month.
"As the EU examines future trade policy, it is vital that policymakers are aware of what sectors can benefit from maximising which trade agreements. My membership of both the International Trade and Fisheries Committee of Parliament will ensure Ireland's voice is strong on such issues," Mr Kelly said in Brussels today.
"Ireland also has a solid reptutation for innovation including in the marine sector which I have highlighted on numerous occasions at EU level. Just last year I hosted a delegation of MEPs and policymakers belonging to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee on a visit to Cork, where we visited the Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) marine and energy- based research to hear about the potential of wave energy at University College Cork. The facility's deep water basin is capable of generating wave heights of up to 1.1m, which means Ireland is at the forefront in testing wave energy devices."
Ireland benefited from EU funding for marine research an innovation with some €5.5 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding secured for Irish projects and marine researchers. Mr Kelly added that Ireland must continue to support its ocean economy including marine tourism entreprises.