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Displaying items by tag: Brexit

#waterfrontproperty - Plans in Cork Harbour, reports EchoLive.ie, to redevelop the dockyard in Passage West have been scuppered by Brexit.

The planned redevelopment of the dockyard site into a modern, urban waterfront settlement had been hailed as a ‘game-changer’ for the town when funding was secured to purchase the dockyard from the Doyle Shipping Group last November.

Cork County Council was granted €1.9m by the Government to purchase the eight-acre site but in a ‘bombshell’ announcement yesterday, County Hall chiefs said the site has been taken off the market and the funding would likely be lost.

Senior Executive Officer in County Hall, Jim Molloy, said the dockyard was no longer for sale because the uncertainty that Brexit has created for Ireland’s future shipping needs.

The announcement was described as a bitter blow for Passage West but Mr Molloy said a ‘wait and see’ approach is being adopted by shipping companies and ports until the implications of Brexit are known.

For more on the story click here

 

Published in Waterfront Property
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Marine Minister Michael Creed met yesterday (Monday 18 February) in Brussels with Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella to discuss the threats to the Irish fishing industry from a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Minister Creed said: “I had a very constructive meeting today with Commissioner Vella where we again discussed the exposure of the Irish fishing sector to the threats posed by a no-deal Brexit.

“I made clear my view that a no-deal Brexit poses serious challenges for the Irish fishing industry and a co-ordinated EU response will be required.

“Obviously, we all hope that the Withdrawal Agreement which EU negotiated with the UK Government will be agreed and that we all avoid the uncertainty of a no-deal outcome.”

The Commission has brought forward legislative proposals dealing with the possible use of temporary cessation measures, quota swapping with the UK and potential reciprocal access, which Minster Creed has welcomed.

“The Commissioner has already brought forward a number of proposals, which I welcome, to deal with possible impacts arising from a disorderly Brexit, but more measures will be required,” the minister said.

“Commissioner Vella has a solid understanding of the scale of the potential problems facing the EU fishing industry and the Irish industry in particular.”

Minster Creed and the Commissioner discussed a number of issues that might arise from a disorderly Brexit, including loss of access for Irish and other EU vessels to the UK fishing zone, protection of fish stocks in the waters around Ireland from a subsequent increase in fishing activity, and potential mitigation measures at EU level.

“It is imperative that the Commission continue its leading role in ensuring that there will be a co-ordinated EU response to ensure the ongoing viability of our fleets and the long-term sustainability of the stocks upon which they rely,” Minister Creed added.

Published in Fishing
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A public meeting on the future on Dun Laoghaire Harbour will take place at the Dun Laoghaire Club on Eblana Avenue from 8pm on Thursday 28 February.

‘The People’s Harbour’ was also the topic of a recent meeting between Dun Laoghiare-Rathdown councillors from Sinn Féin, Labour, People Before Profit and local independent Michael Merrigan.

The latter tabled a question at the 21 January meeting of the Dun Laoghaire Area Committee regarding contingency planning in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“Residents have been contacting me with their concerns that in the event of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council being requested by the Government to make Dun Laoghaire Harbour available for ferry services, that we could have a return to big lorries coming through the town,” Cllr Merrigan commented earlier this month.

#ports - As Brexit looms and all the uncertainty, the Port of Felixstowe in England, has announced an agreement (see story: UK Government contract) with Danish ferry operator DFDS to increase its roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) capacity by over 40%.

According to a statement, reports Port Technology, the capacity boost will be achieved through investment in a new linkspan, tractor units and additional trailer parking facilities.

The Port of Felixstowe has been described as “key gateway” for ro/ro trade with Europe, and demand on DFDS’ service from the UK trade hub to Rotterdam has been growing year-on-year.

Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer at the Port of Felixstowe, commented: “The new contract includes a significant investment by Hutchison Ports replacing one of our existing ro/ro bridges with a modern floating linkspan capable of handling the latest generation of ro/ro vessels and creating over 300 additional trailer spaces for unaccompanied ro/ro traffic.”

To read more on this development click here

In additition to what are the UK's ports doing to prepare for Brexit? click this link to Port Technology's technical paper (download).

Published in Ports & Shipping

#irishports - Leading experts along with Irish businesses say the Government needs to tap special funds from the EU to help offset the effects of Brexit.

As the Irish Examiner reports, for hauliers, Aidan Flynn, who heads up Freight Transport Association Ireland, whose members operate 10,000 commercial vehicles, said the risk of a no-deal amid the UK political chaos, should mean the Irish Government ramps up its contingency plans.

“We do not think it is near enough funding despite the aid from Enterprise Ireland and InterTrade Ireland,” said Mr Flynn.

He wants Tánaiste Simon Coveney to focus on “the nitty-gritty” of where Irish trucks will park at ports and not “measure its progress on how many inspectors it recruits”.

Back from a meeting of customs officials in Lille, Mr Flynn said that inspectors would quickly become the instigators of delays and hauliers face the need to provide financial guarantees, in the even of a no-deal Brexit.

Seamus Coffey, the UCC economist and chair of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, said there was “no doubt” that many UK retailers which operate large store chains in Ireland would run out of stock in a few days, under a no-deal outcome.

More on the story can be read here.

Published in Irish Ports

#ports - A leading UK ports operator, Associated British Ports (ABP) recently announced an additional investment to boost facilities at its Port of Hull, bringing the group’s total investment to £250 million since the EU referendum in 2016.

This programme of investment demonstrates the group’s commitment to keeping Britain trading with Europe and the rest of the world after Brexit.

ABP is actively working to support businesses anxious about the event of a No-Deal Brexit and the potential severe disruption this may cause at the Port of Dover.

Container and ferry facilities at ABP on the Humber are capable of helping businesses bypass such disruption, providing regular and reliable links to Europe. Over 70 sailings every week connect the Humber to a number of destinations including Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Poland.

Investment highlights include: £50 million to boost capacity at its container terminals at ABP’s ports of Hull and Immingham; £65 million to help ensure the future of the steel industry on the river Humber; £55 million to enhance the automotive and cruise offering in the Port of Southampton. In addition to a range of other investments throughout its network of 21 ports across England, Scotland and Wales.

According to ABP which has an important component role in the UK’s trading infrastructure, the group handles almost £150 billion of UK trade across its port network, contributing around £7.5 billion to the UK economy. In addition to supporting almost 120,000 jobs across its supply chains. 

Published in Ports & Shipping
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#Fishing - The UK’s fishing industry has been advised to prepare for the introduction of EU catch certificates in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

As Prime Minister Teresa May’s key Commons vote on her proposed Withdrawal Agreement looms tomorrow (Tuesday 15 January), fishing fleets around Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been reminded that in the event of a no-deal, most fish or fish products would require a catch certificate for trade with the EU from 29 March.

Catch certificates prove that fish has been caught in line with established conservation and management measures. All non-EU countries are required to present catch certificates when trading with the EU.

The UK Government says a new IT system to process and issue export catch certificates, and other supporting documentation, is being developed to help streamline the process.

Exporters would receive full instructions on how to register and use the new system before the UK leaves the EU. Import catch certificates would continue to be processed through the current paper-based system.

In addition to documents required under IUU regulations, businesses will also need to follow additional steps to comply with health and customs regulations in the event of a no-deal.

To plan ahead for creating a catch certificate, businesses and individuals that export fish products to the EU will need to know the species, vessel that caught it, date it was landed, and weight of the consignment.

GOV.UK has more details on the contingency plan HERE.

Published in Fishing
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Could Brexit present an opportunity for Dun Laoghaire’s harbour?

In a letter to The Irish Times last Tuesday 8 January, local Fine Gael councillor John Kennedy spells out his reasons why the port could be positioned as an additional resource to help deal with the pressures of an expected increase in sea trade.

Cllr Kennedy suggests that funding could be sought for the South Dublin port via the European Commission’s trans-European transport network (TEN-T) strategy for the realigning of trade connections with mainland Europe.

“It makes sense for a combination of European and exchequer funding to be allocated to reactivate the potential of Dún Laoghaire port for international trade ahead of the critical post-Brexit juncture,” Cllr Kennedy writes.

Cllr Kennedy’s letter comes not long after talk of reviving ambitions for a National Watersport Centre in Dun Laoghaire, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Irish Harbours
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Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …. Tom MacSweeney here ….

The reality of Ireland as an island nation is becoming more publicly apparent with each passing day as the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit looms closer.

Our closest island neighbour will no longer be an easy communication route for people, transport, our exports and imports, but maybe a physical barrier to Europe.

While the Border with Northern Ireland has been the focus of concentration the Government’s ‘contingency plan’ – its plans to buy land around the ports to facilitate transport; the warning by Tanaiste Simon Coveney, who knows a lot about maritime affairs, warning of the ‘severe impact’ on the Irish economy; all coming this week lend emphasis to our island situation and highlight the importance of Government recognition of the marine sphere as a vital economic component… 95 per cent of all Irish exports and imports travel by sea…. That reality is now hitting home.

The ports, shipping and the fishing industry – with just 30 nautical miles from the East Coast to the British fishing zone – have been discussed, but what about the leisure marine sector and marine tourism?

What are the implications for cruising voyages to the British coast, to Northern Ireland and from Britain to Ireland? What about yachts competing in UK events…. What about offshore racing across the Irish Sea? What about events such as the big regattas in Dun Laoghaire, Cork Week, the Round Ireland Race and other events, for the situation of British non-EU boats taking part in Irish events? And of Irish/EU boats competing in British waters?

What will be the situation for inspections, Customs, transiting, etc? What about trailing boats across to Britain…. All maritime sports will surely be faced with some effect as Britain pulls out of the EU…. Has enough preparation been made for these scenarios….???

The new Chairman of the Irish Marine Federation, Paal Janson, said this week that barriers to investment around the Irish coastline have stymied growth in the marine sphere for too long.

Will Brexit create more barriers?

So far I haven’t been able to get satisfactory answers from State sources to the question of how high does the leisure marine sector rate in the Brexit preparations?

Listen to the podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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#Fishing - The UK Government has been accused of “coasting” on plans for Britain’s and in particular Northern Ireland’s fisheries post-Brexit, as the News Letter reports.

MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee have written to fisheries secretary Michael Gove for solutions to “the crushing shortage of labour, illegal oyster farming in Lough Foyle and Ireland’s continued suspension of fishing rights under the Voisinage Arrangement.”

The Voisinage Arrangement has existed since the mid 1960s and allowed for mutual access to vessels from the Republic and Northern Ireland up to six miles off the coast of each country.

But the arrangements was suspended in the Republic in 2016 after the Supreme Court ruled that it had not been properly incorporated into Irish law.

The committee have also demanded immediate “timescales” to resolve territorial claims on Lough Foyle, which have not been a practical issue since both countries have been EU member states.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Page 5 of 9

Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

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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