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Displaying items by tag: Brexit

#Brexit - Britain’s withdrawal from the London Fisheries Convention could be “catastrophic” for the Irish fishing fleet — with fishermen in Northern Ireland being the “big losers” in the end.

That’s the stark warning from fisheries organisations noted in Independent.ie’s rundown of ‘the five things you need to know as the UK backs out of the EU fishing deal’.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Irish trawlers could soon face a ban from fishing within 12 nautical miles of the UK as ministers in Westminster prepare to trigger Britain’s withdrawal from the 53-year-old London Fisheries Convention.

The agreement, which grants fishing rights to European countries — including Ireland — that have traditionally fished in British waters for centuries, was incorporated into the Common Fisheries Policy more than 30 years ago.

However, Brexit means the UK’s exit from the CFP and an intention to reassert control over its fishing waters.

The affect for Ireland could be the wiping out of the Irish fishing industry, fears Patrick Murphy of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO), who explains that as much as 50% of the Irish catch comes from English waters.

And Northern Irish fishermen would be “big losers” after such a move, says Francis O'Donnell of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO) — with no specifics on how common fishing grounds such as Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough would be handled.

Meanwhile, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove claims that leaving the convention would give Britain the power to build a new domestic fishing policy “which leads to a more competitive, profitable and sustainable industry”.

But the WWF warns that making its own decisions is not enough for Britain to support its fishing industry.

“Achieving sustainable fishing is about a lot more than which country fishes where,” said the environmental NGO’s Ben Stafford, who added: “We will still need to co-operate with our neighbours, as fish do not recognise lines on a map.”

Independent.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Irish trawlers could soon be banned from fishing within 12 nautical miles of the UK after its exit from an agreement to share its waters with other European maritime countries.

According to The Irish Times, Britain announced at the weekend that it would trigger its withdrawal from the 53-year-old London Fisheries Convention as part of Brexit.

The convention was signed in 1964 with France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland to allow fishing in waters that have been traditionally shared for centuries.

Rights granted by the convention were incorporated into the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy in 1983.

But as negotiations for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU begin, the UK has also triggered its exit from the longstanding convention — a move described by Irish Marine Minister Michael Creed as “unwelcome and unhelpful”.

The Irish fleet sources the majority of its mackerel catch and most of its prawns from UK waters, the minister added.

Irish fishing industry organisations, meanwhile, have branded the decision as Britain’s “first serious shot on Brexit”.

Both the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO) and Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) say the move is proof the that UK is seeking a ‘hard’ Brexit when it comes to fishing rights, as The Irish Times reports.

The news comes just days after Minister Creed said there was ‘strength in unity’ when it comes to pending Brexit fisheries negotiations.

Published in Fishing

#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.

Published in Fishing
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#HardAPort- Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator says he wants to avoid a "hard border" between the UK and Ireland, reports the Daily Post.

Fears have been raised that Holyhead port on Anglesey, north Wales could suffer if customs checks are brought back between the Republic and the UK.

Mr Barnier today addressed both houses of the Irish parliament on the issue of Brexit with huge concerns in the Republic, particularly on the issue of the border with Northern Ireland.

Labour's Ynys Mon General Election candidate Albert Owen welcomed the comments and said if re-elected he would create a 'Brexit Forum' on Anglesey to highlight potential issues.

Mr Barnier said: "European integration helped to remove borders that once existed on maps and in minds.

"Brexit changes the external borders of the EU. I will work with you to avoid a hard border.

To read more click here.

Published in Ferry

#Brexit - Marine Minister Michael Creed will take his St Patrick's Day duties as an opportunity to extend his engagement with key EU member states on Brexit over the coming days.

Following recent formal meetings with his Spanish, Estonian and Maltese counterparts, Minister Creed scheduled meetings with his colleagues from Germany, Netherlands and Denmark to discuss common concerns about the likely impact of Brexit on the agri-food and fisheries sectors.

Speaking yesterday (Wednesday 15 March) ahead of a bilateral with German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, Minister Creed said he intends to “emphasise the very real and serious concerns that we in Ireland have about the potential impact of Brexit on our agri-food and fisheries sectors, and to explore other member states’ assessment of the implications from their perspective.”

Noting that Brexit poses the threat of “a very negative impact on trade”, the minister highlighted in particular the many common concerns in the fisheries area.

“We are confronted with potentially very grave challenges on fisheries, primarily in relation to continued access to UK waters, where much of our fishing effort is undertaken,” he said. “I hope to discuss them in some detail, with a view to building a common platform as we seek to protect the interests of our fishing industries and communities.”

Published in Fishing
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#BypassUK - The Port of Cork has ramped up talks with continental ferry companies writes Independent.ie about providing more direct freight routes between Ireland and mainland Europe due to Brexit, its chairman has said.

John Mullins said fresh food exporters in particular cannot afford the time to ship their produce to Europe via Britain if border restrictions are going to be imposed.
"If you're a mussel producer in west Cork and you need to get to the Paris market on Monday, and you're harvesting on a Friday, you cannot afford the time with fresh mussels, waiting in Holyhead, and then waiting again in Dover as you go over the landbridge," Mr Mullins said, at a recent Brexit event at UCD.

"It's not going to work. Most recently we've been speaking to continental ferry providers about actually having more direct ferry routes into continental Europe out of Cork, and out of Rosslare," he said. "You will see a reorientation of logistics."

Mr Mullins later told the Irish Independent that one of the options the port has long been looking at is trying to get direct access to Spain.

Such proposed direct services Afloat has reported on in recent years, follow this link. For more on the story from the Independent click here. 

Published in Port of Cork

#ExportBrexit - Two thirds of Irish exporters go through Britain a survey suggests writes The Independent to get their produce to customers on mainland Europe and further afield.

And 40pc said that using a longer, yet more direct, route would adversely affect the quality of the product.

But 30pc of exporters quizzed for the survey by the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) have taken no action to assess the fallout from the Brexit vote, even though 70pc said a weakening sterling had impacted their business.

Marie Armstrong, IEA vice-president, said the number of exporters relying on the UK as a land bridge to the continent was "hugely significant".

"And those members are very concerned about continuing to use the UK in terms of customs, and being stopped at borders," Ms Armstrong told TDs yesterday.

For more on the survey's findings click here. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed’s meeting with his Spanish counterpart in Brussels yesterday (Monday 6 March) was “a very useful opportunity to identify common concerns” regarding the impact of Brexit on Europe’s fisheries.

Commenting on his discussion with Spain’s Isabel García Tejerina at the latest Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, Minister Creed said: “We agreed that we will work towards building a common platform involving the main member states operating within the UK 200-mile fishery limits.

“The EU fishing industry is taking a similar approach, and our combined efforts will strengthen our delivery of the EU fishing priorities in the Brexit negotiations.”

Minister Creed had bilateral meetings on both the fisheries and agri-food aspects of Brexit with his counterparts from Scotland and Estonia, among others, as well as with Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Published in Fishing
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#Forum - The 2017 Maritime Commerce Forum will take place as a lunch-time event held in Dublin on Thursday 9th March. The time for the forum is from 12.30pm – 2.30pm and will be held at The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square. The venue is located in the capital's 'Docklands' quarter. 

The event will follow on from a series of meetings held last year to discuss opportunities for Ireland in the area of ship leasing, maritime finance and maritime taxation. Given important developments, such as Brexit, which have occurred since the last meeting, the Forum looks forward to bringing this group together to discuss key opportunities for Ireland in light of a changing global environment. To launch the Forum this year and as a guest speaker is Mr. Alan Dukes, Chairman, Asia Matters.

Alan Dukes is the Chairman and co-founder of Asia Matters. He was a member of the Dáil (lower House of the Irish Parliament) for twenty-one years and during his political career served as the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Finance, Justice and Transport and Energy and Communications.

Alan was Leader of the Fine Gael Party for three years and was Chairman of the Irish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He is a former Governor of the International Monetary Fund and a former Governor of the World Bank.

In his work at Asia Matters, he is strongly committed to the importance of two way benefits in Asia Ireland bilateral trade relations.

To reserve a place at the event from the Irish Maritime Development Office, RSVP to [email protected] by this Thursday 2nd March.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Brexit - Marine Minister Michael Creed yesterday (Wednesday 1 February) hosted a sectoral dialogue focused on the seafood sector and the potential impacts it could face from Brexit.

Opening the dialogue, Minister Creed highlighted the importance of ensuring that the Irish seafood sector is protected during Brexit negotiations.

“The key challenge for this Government,” he said, “will be to ensure that fisheries concerns and those of the wider seafood sector are high on the EU agenda and that our sector is not separated from the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”

Minister Creed went on to say that for the Irish seafood sector, Brexit “poses a very particular set of serious threats over and above the trade implications common to most sectors.

“That is not to underplay the importance of a good trade outcome for the seafood sector but rather to emphasise the reality that this sector faces challenges that are unique.”

The minister explained that those threats were potential loss of access to fishing grounds in the UK zone and possible attempts by the UK to increase its current quota share at the expense of Ireland and others.

He added that “any changes to existing rights for the Irish and EU catching sector must be resisted strenuously.”

Speaking following the event, which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel at Dublin Airport, Minister Creed commended the high turnout from the Irish seafood sector.

“Today’s turnout and active engagement by stakeholders from across the sector demonstrates the desire of all to pull together in the effort to protect Irish interests as we enter Brexit negotiations.

“I want to thank all concerned for their very positive contribution to what was a very engaging afternoon, and to assure them once again that their concerns and ideas will be taken on board.”

The sectoral dialogue saw a number of presentations by key sector stakeholders, followed by detailed discussions covering access rights, management of shared stocks, trade and aquaculture issues.

“Today was another important step in the ongoing journey we have all been engaged in since the June referendum in the UK. namely understanding and preparing for all of the possible implications arising from Brexit,” said Minister Creed.

“We still don’t know what exactly the UK will seek but the deeper our understanding of the issues, the better prepared we all will be for the challenges ahead.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, concern is spreading across Ireland’s fishing industry over the impact of Brexit on Irish fishing grounds and international seafood markets.

Published in Fishing
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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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