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A report in The Guardian says Denmark has accused the UK of reneging on the post-Brexit fisheries deal by pushing for a ban on bottom trawling at the Dogger Bank.

Danish boats have fished the area for hundreds of years and today the country’s industry lands €3.6m worth of sand eel from Dogger Bank every year.

The North Sea conservation zone hosts a number of species such as halibut, sharks and skate which are particularly vulnerable to disturbances of the sea bed.

Moves to ban the practice of bottom trawling have been welcomed by environmental groups.

But Denmark’s fisheries minister Rasmus Prehn says his country’s fishers “are already in a very difficult situation due to Brexit so this would be even more difficult for them and we can’t really accept that”.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the ban on the use of red diesel to propel private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland has come into effect.

As of 1 October 2021, following an extension from this past summer, private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland must use diesel, biodiesel or bioblend on which duty has been paid at the full (unrebated) rate in the motor used for propulsion.

Vessels with one fuel tank (for both propulsion and non-propulsion) cannot use red diesel unless it was put into the fuel tank either in:

  • Northern Ireland before 1 October 2021; or
  • a jurisdiction where using red diesel for propulsion of private pleasure craft is legal post-Brexit, such as Great Britain, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Boaters who travel to Northern Ireland having refuelled with red diesel elsewhere are advised to keep documents (such as receipts, logbooks and declarations) to show HMRC where and when the vessel was refuelled.

Private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland (including houseboats) with separate tanks for propulsion and non-propulsion uses may continue to use red diesel in the non-propulsion fuel tank — but the supplier cannot allow any discount on the ‘white’ diesel because it is all being used for propulsion.

In addition, any residential craft with a single tank supplying an engine which does not propel the vessel may continue to use rebated (red) diesel.

Fuel suppliers in Northern Ireland who sell white diesel for private pleasure craft with a single fuel tank can register for a new HMRC relief which allows to deduct at point of sale an amount equal to the duty rebate on 40% of the total volume of white diesel supplied.

More can be found in Excise Notice 554 (Fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying) on the Gov.uk website HERE.

Tagged under

According to BBC News, the EU is to set out proposals later to address the row about trade in Northern Ireland.

The UK wants to change the deal struck as part of the Brexit process to allow goods to circulate more freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It says the current rules impose too many barriers to the sale of chilled meats and other products.

The EU's proposals, which it calls far-reaching, are expected to involve reduced checks on goods and medicines.

At the start of the year, a new post-Brexit arrangement - known as the Northern Ireland Protocol - was introduced to help prevent checks along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It involves keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods - but this, in turn, creates a new trade border with Great Britain. Unionists say this undermines their place in the UK.

Both sides seems to agree - though to differing degrees - that the protocol is posing some difficulties for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

Much more here on this development. 

Published in Ferry

A documentary on the lives of people in coastal communities connected by the Carlingford Lough ferry will have its premiere in a special outdoor drive-in screening this Thursday (19 August).

Four Seasons in a Day is one of six documentaries in the Borderline series focused on border regions around Europe and the people who live there.

Already an award winner, Annabel Verbeke’s film — which was broadcast on RTÉ One last Tuesday — explores the complexities of Brexit through the eyes of locals and visitors alike via the ferry that links Greenore in Co Louth with Greencastle in Co Down.

The film will have its premiere screening on the island of Ireland in a special event at the Carlingford Lough Ferry terminal in Greencastle this Thursday evening at 8pm.

Tickets priced at €27.55 per car are available from the Eventbrite page HERE. The film can also be streamed by viewers in Ireland on the RTÉ Player.

Published in Ferry

A dramatic drop in freight volumes between Ireland and Britain caused by Brexit has also led to a diversion of trade from Irish ports to Northern Ireland and to direct EU routes, new data confirms.

While there has been no overall loss of trade to Irish ports, there has been a “reconfiguration” as a result of Brexit, according to the latest quarterly shipping traffic report (as Afloat reported) from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO).

It shows that roll-on/roll-off trade between Ireland and Britain – or RoRo, where loaded trucks drive cargo on and off ships – collapsed by around a third in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2019.

Traffic between Ireland and Britain now makes up just two-thirds of all Irish freight volumes, compared to 84pc two years ago, according to the IMDO’s Unitised Traffic Report for the second quarter of 2021.

Northern Ireland's RoRo traffic was the busiest it has ever been between April and July this year.

The figures tally with what hauliers and ferry operators have been saying for months.

More from Independent.ie here.

Published in Irish Ports

In the lead up to the end of the Brexit transition period, stockpiling helped Belfast Harbour largely weather the storm of Covid-19, according to the port’s latest annual results.

As The Irish News reports, turnover fell by 4.7 per cent to £62.8 million for the year ending December 31 2020, with the £29.7m operating profit in 2020 just 2.6 per cent down on 2019.

The trust port said the decline in revenue was largely the result of the impact on the tourism and leisure trade, notably from the loss of 128 cruise ships due to dock in the city during 2020 and the restrictions on its AC by Marriott Hotel, which saw a £3.6m fall in turnover last year.

But 23.5 million tonnes of cargo still passed through the harbour in 2020, just three per cent down on 2019.

And despite the introduction of the protocol in January this year, a strategic report produced by the Harbour Commissioners said initial trading in early 2021 has been broadly in line with early year trading patterns for previous years.

But, they said that has largely been the result of grace periods for certain goods.

More here with comments from the port's chief exective

Published in Belfast Lough

Dublin Port's announcement that no berths will be available for large cruise ships next year has led to tourism groups hitting out at the decision.

The port company says it has no space because of demands produced by Brexit.

Tour operator Niamh McCarthy of Excursions Ireland said cruise lines are now having to cancel bookings for next year because of the sudden announcement by Dublin Port.

"When tourism is down and beaten and on it's last legs they have put the nail in the coffin for 2022 and beyond," she said.

"The cruise lines are absolutely furious with this late announcement having had no indication that this was on the cards."

Retail Excellence and DublinTown had previously criticised the port company's decision in 2019 to reduce cruise liners' access by 50% by restricting them to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday sailings.

Now the port berths will not be available at all next year except for ships under 200m which can use berth 18 (as in above photo).

For more on this development, RTE News reports. 

Published in Dublin Port

The British Government has announced a three-month delay in the implementation of the red diesel ban for private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland.

The move follows lobbying by Bangor Marina and others in the NI leisure boating industry who emphasised the dearth of white diesel options in the region.

Originally set to come into effect on 30 June, the red diesel ban is intended to meet the UK’s obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol and bring the region in line with the 2018 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

This is the same ruling which prompted the Republic of Ireland’s ban on green-dyed diesel for leisure craft propulsion last year.

In March, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his first post-Brexit Budget that boaters in England, Scotland and Wales would continue to use red-dyed diesel for pleasure boating without penalty in domestic waters — leaving NI boaters in limbo.

Bangor Marina says it met earlier this year with officials from HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury and RYANI “to discuss the difficulties we would face if we had to switch to white diesel in June.

“During that meeting, we did put forward a compelling proposal that the switch to white diesel should take place after the summer holidays.

“Today [Friday 21 May] we have been advised by HM Revenue & Customs that the UK government has decided to delay the implementation of the prohibition on red diesel used for propulsion of private pleasure boats in NI until 1 October 2021.

“More detailed guidance is expected to be produced in July.”

The decision will come as a relief for cruisers and leisure boaters across Northern Ireland as it emerges from lockdown into the summer boating season.

But with freedom of movement on the cross-border Shannon-Erne Waterway, the extension poses a “customs headache” for Irish authorities, a source close to Afloat.ie suggests.

And if the delay is any indication of a proclivity to continue moving the deadline back, the situation would deal a heavy blow to Irish suppliers, particularly in border areas — while also encouraging boats “to spend more time in NI and less [in the Republic]”, the source added.

The European TEN-T Coordinators for the Motorways of the Sea and the Atlantic and North Sea-Mediterranean Corridors have organised an online joint workshop on smart and sustainable maritime transport in the Atlantic and North Sea region post-Brexit over two days next week.

‘Ensuring connectivity between Ireland and continental EU post-Brexit: the role of maritime links’ next Thursday 22 April from 9am to noon Irish time will see representatives from the ports, shipping, business and logistics sectors come together for the first of exciting panel discussions.

This first half-day panel will focus on the impact of Brexit on Ireland’s maritime links to date, while the second will examine what the future holds for Ireland’s maritime connections to continental Europe.

Opening remarks at the event will be delivered by Minister of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton. To register for this panel, click HERE.

Then on Friday 23 April, the joint working group on ports will meet from 9am to 12.30pm Irish time for three panel discussions focussed on digitalisation, greening and hinterland connections of ports in the Atlantic and North Sea basins. To register for this second panel, click HERE.

Both events are co-organised by the TEN-T European Coordinators for Motorways of the Sea, Professor Kurt Bodewig; the TEN-T North Sea – Mediterranean Corridor, Professor Peter Balazs; and the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor, Professor Carlo Secchi. Find the full agenda on the IMDO website.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, there have been many questions that have caused confusion and uncertainty for the leisure marine sector both in the UK and in the EU27. Arguably, the biggest has been around the VAT status of recreational craft at the end of the transition period.

In an unprecedented declaration of unity, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), European Boating Industry (EBI), European Boating Association (EBA), British Marine (BM) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) joined forces to provide clarification on VAT and customs for recreational boating companies and users. Showing the value of cooperation and membership organisations, the five organisations have taken the exceptional decision to release this guidance to members and non-members.

The group put forward the key scenarios affecting boaters and are pleased to confirm that the Commission has now responded, validating the interpretation of the guidance and how VAT should be applied under the various examples. This follows a push led by the EBI with the European Commission to provide this important clarification. For the original document, please contact the participating organisations.

The positive confirmation of the scenarios should now also be recognised by each EU country in their dealings under this matter. Failure to do so could result in formal complaints being made to the Commission. Further clarification will be sought from the European Commission on the documentation required and interpretation of the establishment of “person established in the customs territory of the Union”.

VAT issues post-Brexit: FAQS

The following acronyms are used:

TPE = The time at which the transition period ended – 31 December 2020, 23:00 UTC

VPS = VAT Paid Status: i.e. in free circulation

EU28 = EU before TPE, i.e. including UK

EU27 = EU after TPE, i.e. excluding UK

GB = England / Scotland / Wales excluding Northern Ireland

TA = Temporary Admission

RGR = Returned Goods Relief

UCC = Union Customs Code

The Union Customs Code referred to within this document can be found here.

Scenario 

Impact on VAT Paid Status (VPS) 

Scenario 1 

  • GB owned/registered pleasure craft 
  • In free circulation (VPS) within EU28 pre-TPE and has supporting documentary evidence) 
  • Within EU27 as at TPE 

 EU VAT Paid Status 

The boat retained EU VPS status. 

Scenario 2 

  • GB owned/pleasure craft 
  • In free circulation (VPS) in EU28 pre-TPE (and has documentary evidence) 
  • Within an EU27 as at TPE 
  • Boat leaves EU27 (for GB or elsewhere) and then returns to the EU27 

 RGR & EU VAT Paid Status 

Boat is eligible to RGR on return to the EU27 and will have EU VPS, provided that all the conditions established in Article 203 UCC are fulfilled and, for VAT, that the boat is imported by the same person who exported it. 

Scenario 3 

  • EU27 owned/registered pleasure craft 
  • EU28 VPS pre-TPE (and has documentary evidence) 
  • In EU27 as at TPE 
  • VAT paid on original new purchase in GB a number of years ago 
  • Subsequent ownership and location within the EU27 

 EU VAT Paid Status 

The boat keeps its Union status and it is therefore in free circulation with EU VPS. 


Scenario 4 

  • GB owned/registered pleasure craft 
  • Business owned 
  • EU VPS before TPE 
  • In EU27 as at TPE 
  • Kept and used within the EU27 
  • Long-term lease to individual for private use 
  • GB VAT accounted for on annual lease charge 

 EU VAT Paid Status 

According to the information provided, the boat has Union status and keeps it unless the boat is taken outside the customs territory of the Union. 

Scenario 5 

  • GB owned/registered pleasure craft 
  • Owner is ordinarily resident in GB 
  • Using boat within EU27 on TA 
  • Owner has an EU27 holiday property where they keep the boat moored (in their name) 

 Temporary admission 

A person is established in the customs territory of the Union if he/she fulfils the conditions established in Article 5(31) UCC. If the person is not established in the customs territory of the Union, then he/she can declare the boat for temporary admission if it has non-Union customs status. 

 

Scenario 6 

  • GB or EU27 owned/pleasure craft 
  • In free circulation within EU28 pre-TPE (and has documentary evidence) 
  • No evidence of having been in the EU27 previously; or 
  • Ownership has changed since it was last in the EU27 In GB as at TPE 

EU VAT Paid Status Lost  

Article 203 UCC requires evidence of a previous export to the UK. The Commission guidance indicates that, in the absence of an export declaration, evidence of the previous movement of the boat to the UK is required. If the boat has never been in EU27 it is impossible to provide evidence of movement to the UK. 

Scenario 7 

  • EU27 owned/pleasure craft 
  • In free circulation within EU28 pre-TPE (and has documentary evidence) 
  • Had previously been evidenced as being within the EU27 within the last three years 
  • In GB as at TPE  
  • Same owner who brought it out of EU27, returned to the EU27 within three years of departure 

? Documentation required 

It is for the Member State to decide whether the conditions for RGR is possible (Article 203 UCC) are met. 

Article 203 UCC requires evidence of a previous export to the UK. The Commission guidance indicates that, in the absence of an export declaration, evidence of the previous movement of the boat to the UK is required. Member State authorities must therefore assess whether that satisfactory evidence can be provided in this scenario. 

Scenario 8 

  • GB owned/pleasure craft 
  • In free circulation within EU28 pre-TPE (and has documentary evidence) 
  • Had previously been evidenced as being within the EU27 within the last three years 
  • In GB as at TPE 
  • Same owner who brought it out of EU27, returned to the EU27 within three years of departure 

? Documentation required 

It is for the Member State to decide whether the conditions for RGR (Article 203 UCC) are met. Article 203 UCC requires evidence of a previous export to the UK. The Commission guidance indicates that, in the absence of an export declaration, evidence of the previous movement of the boat to the UK is required. Member State authorities must therefore assess whether that satisfactory evidence can be provided in this scenario. 


Commenting on the collaboration, Philip Easthill, Secretary General of the EBI, says; “We are delighted to have received the responses from the Commission that companies and boaters urgently need. Given the impact of Brexit on businesses and supply chains, clarity on VAT for second-hand boats is highly important. The cooperation of EBI with our partners has been key and we will continue to advocate for clarity on VAT issues through our channels at EU level.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, said; "Collaboratively working together with other leisure marine industry bodies is a highly successful way of collectively garnering results, and this recent clarity received on VAT issues post-Brexit will greatly benefit British Marine members and the UK leisure marine industry. The answers to these scenarios will be welcomed in particular by UK boat retailers and brokers to assist in maintaining a healthy trade of second-hand boats across the UK and EU.”

Udo Kleinitz, Secretary General of ICOMIA, added; “The industry is affected by the changes in VAT regime through loss of boaters expenditure in marinas and tourism. Our members have asked us for support on this matter which is why the collaboration with EBI, BM and the user organisations helps in raising the profile and relevance of the topic with the applicable agencies.”

Published in Marine Trade
Tagged under
Page 1 of 13

Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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