Negotiations with the UK over future fisheries arrangements were the focus of the first meeting between Ireland’s new Marine Minister, Barry Cowen, and the EU Fisheries Commissioner this past week.
Meeting virtually with Virginius Sinkevičius on Thursday (9 July) from his department’s Tullamore offices, Minister Cowen discussed the importance of the EU’s agreed Brexit negotiation mandate to “uphold existing reciprocal access conditions, quota shares and traditional activity of the Union fleet”.
Minister Cowen said: “This was a very useful first discussion with Commissioner Sinkevičius and it was important to be able to talk first-hand with the commissioner about Ireland’s concerns in relation to the potential negative impacts for our fishing communities in Ireland if we do not put in place a fair and balanced Fisheries Agreement with the UK.
“I reiterated this Government’s full support for the EU negotiating mandate and my confidence that the commissioner and [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier will continue to be strong defenders of Irish and EU fishing interests.
“It is clear to me that the negotiations on a fisheries agreement can only be successfully considered in the overall context of the wider EU/UK future relationship agreement and leveraging this will be vital in protecting our coastal communities”.
The minister and Commissioner Sinkevičius also discussed non-Brexit-related fisheries issues such as measures against illegal fishing, and Ireland’s commitment to promoting sustainability in setting quotas and fishing methods, as well as the future European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.