#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed yesterday (Thursday 29 June) hosted a Brexit fisheries discussion in Galway as part of four days of marine-themed events, including the BIM National Seafood Conference and SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival, which kicks off today.
Minister Creed delivered the discussion’s opening address, which was followed by presentations by key European fisheries industry leaders Niels Wichmann, chair of the North Sea Advisory Council and Emiel Brouckaert, chair of the North Western Waters Advisory Councils.
There was also a panel discussion focusing on the potential issues arising from Brexit for the seafood sector. This panel comprised Wichmann and Brouckaert along with representatives of the Irish fishing industry: Sean O’Donoghue of the KFO, Patrick Murphy of the IS&WFPO, Hugo Boyle of the ISEFPO and Lorcán Ó Cinnéide of the IFPEA.
“The BIM National Seafood Conference and SeaFest are about celebrating our marine resources and all the opportunities that they provide to us,” said Minister Creed. “As part of that awareness, we must now also consider what potential impacts Brexit will have on our sea fisheries industry. Today’s discussion was another highly valuable opportunity to engage with our fisheries stakeholders.”
The minister went on to say that the day’s discussions “highlighted the very real concerns of the fishing industry regarding the potential effects of Brexit. I am very grateful to our presenters and panel members who have provided complex information in a very clear way.”
In his opening address, Minister Creed spoke of the two key objectives: the maintenance of existing quota shares, and existing rights of access.
“Any attempts to restrict our existing rights and entitlements will be strenuously resisted and that is why I will be insisting that fisheries must form part of the wider trade negotiations,” he said.
The minister also spoke of his discussion with the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnierwho, who “clearly understands the issues and significance of Brexit for Ireland’s fisheries sector.”
Minister Creed emphasised that “it is vital that we all work together … For ministers to be effective, so that heads of state and government and Mr Barnier’s team understand and prioritise fisheries, it will be essential that we have a united fishing industry, both nationally and at European level.”
Minister Creed concluded with the seanfhocal “Ní neart go chur le chéile” – there is strength in unity.