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Significant “negative impacts” of Brexit on the British fishing industry have been highlighted in a video released by the British All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fisheries.

Seven of its group’s members outline what a post-Brexit future for the British fishing industry could and should look like and say that the fishing industry was let down by Brexit.

The group’s report, published earlier in the summer, recorded how significant financial losses were a common experience for respondents, with “fears widely expressed for the long-term viability of individual businesses, fishing fleets, and other parts of the industry including processors and transporters”.

"The British fishing industry was let down by Brexit"

“Respondents who fed into the report recommended various actions that the government should now take to support the British fishing industry, which included investing in infrastructure and new markets at home and abroad, and ensuring effective and inclusive management of domestic stocks,” the APPG says.

Tina Barnes of the Seafarer’s Charity, which co-funded the report, spoke about the human costs of economic challenges to the fishing industry following Brexit.

“The negative impacts of Brexit on the livelihoods – and therefore the welfare – of individual fishers has been significant,” she says. The report “provides compelling evidence that action should be taken to support the industry”.

APPG vice chair Alistair Carmichael MP referred to a recent parliamentary debate that he secured on the issue on October 13th last, which “provided an important opportunity for myself and other MPs to emphasise the urgency of supporting the UK fishing industry.”

APPG chair Sheryll Murray MP said that “the strength of the APPG on Fisheries lies in its cross-party nature, with the needs of fishers, coastal communities and other marine stakeholders taking precedence over party politics. This timely video, bringing together voices from several different parties on how to support UK fishing for the benefit of all, provides a fantastic illustration of this.”

Both the video and report can be found on the APPG website, and the video can be viewed is below

Published in Fishing
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Minister Charlie McConalogue met on Friday (23 September) with representatives of the broad seafood sector covering the fishing fleet, aquaculture and processing, providing an update on progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the Seafood Task Force.

Minister McConalogue said: “I set out how each of the main support schemes recommended by the Seafood Task Force are progressing including the €24 million voluntary tie-up scheme for the fishing fleet which continues to the end of November, the €60 million voluntary decommissioning scheme which commenced in early September, the €45 million processing capital, the €20 million aquaculture growth schemes which opened at the end of August and the €25 million Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme and the Fisheries Co-operative Transition Scheme.

“I listened to the requests from the sector to progress quickly the remaining schemes provided for in the task Fforce report and I undertook to work to progress consideration of these proposals with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the EU State Aid approval processes.”

The seafood sector also explained the challenges they are facing with the high cost of fuel and energy prices and asked for additional supports across all elements of the sector.

“I am very aware of the challenges being faced by the seafood sector arising from the increased costs of marine fuel and of energy,” the minister said. “I advised that I have made clear the position that the seafood sector must be supported under any business supports provided in the upcoming Budget.

“I also undertook to continue to monitor the situation and in particular the fuel costs, which have stabilised albeit at a higher level than Quarter 1 2022 prices. The current ongoing extensive supports under the task force are targeted at addressing the impacts of Brexit taking account of the current situation. I will continue to monitor and assess the situation over the coming period and keep all available options under active consideration.”

There was also in-depth discussion on the upcoming negotiations with the UK on setting whitefish quotas for 2023 and negotiations with the maritime states of the UK, Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland on the management, sharing and quota setting for the mackerel stock and arrangements for the blue whiting fishery in 2023.

Organisations attending the meeting were the Irish South and East Fish Producer Organisation, Irish Fish Producer Organisations, Irish South and West Fishermen’s Organisation, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, Irish Island’s Marine Resource Producer Organisation, National Inshore Fisheries Forum, Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Organisation and IFA Aquaculture. Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Marine Institute also attended.

The meeting came two days after a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture heard that aquaculture businesses in Ireland will “no longer be profitable” without significant supports to cope with “spiralling input costs”, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Fishing

BIM has announced the Brexit Voluntary Permanent Cessation (“decommissioning”) Scheme is open for applications.

The purpose of the scheme is to restore balance between the fishing fleet capacity and available quotas following quota reductions arising from the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the EU and the UK. The scheme follows from a recommendation of the Seafood Task Force, established by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, in 2021,

The scheme will support vessels in the polyvalent and beam trawl segments to permanently cease all fishing activity, increasing the quota available for remaining vessels, and thereby ensuring the sustainable profitability of the Irish fishing fleet.

The target of the voluntary scheme, as recommended by the Task Force, is to remove up to 60 vessels of 8,000 GT and 21,000 KW at a cost of €60million. The aid amount will be calculated on the basis of the capacity of the scrapped vessel along with a catch sum payment. The catch sum payment is based on the dependence of the vessel on quotas that were reduced under the TCA Agreement.

The total aid amount for any applicant will not exceed €12,000 per GT and part of the aid should be passed to crew members. To incentivise participation in the scheme, vessel owners and crew members will also benefit from specific tax treatment as set out in the Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act

Licence holders of fishing vessels registered on the Irish sea-fishing boat register in the polyvalent or beam trawl segments and holding a valid sea-fishing boat license issued by the Licensing Authority for Sea-Fishing boats are being invited to apply.

The deadline for submission of applications is 10am, Monday 24 October, 2022.

More information, including details on eligibility and on how to apply can be found by visiting www.bim.ie

Published in Fishing
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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue today (Thursday 28 July) welcomed State Aid approval to facilitate the implementation of the voluntary decommissioning scheme for the whitefish fishing fleet recommended by last October’s Report of the Seafood Task Force – Navigating Change.

Reacting to the approval decision by the EU Commission, Minister McConalogue said: “The Seafood Task Force, which included representatives of the five fisheries producer organisations and the four main fisheries cooperatives, recommended in its October 2021 report that a voluntary decommissioning scheme should be implemented to help restore balance between fishing fleet capacity and available quotas, following the reductions in quotas for stocks arising from the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“I have ensured that the dimensions of the scheme will follow the recommendations of the task force. The task force considered that a scheme targeting the voluntary decommissioning of vessels with total capacity of up to 8,000 gross tonnes and 21,000 kilowatts could restore the viability of the remaining fleet.

“Today’s decision makes way for implementing this key recommendation of the task force which will offer vessel owners a premium of up to €12,000 per gross tonne. This will comprise a basic premium of €3,600 per gross tonne and a catch incentive premium of up to €8,400.

“The catch incentive premium paid will reflect the TCA quota stocks catch history of the vessel applying, ensuring that the scheme is most attractive to active vessels, whose voluntary departure from the fleet can contribute most to rebalancing the remaining fleet with the reduced quota available.”

The minister added: “In line with the recommendations of the task force I am also requiring that owners of vessels who choose to participate in the scheme must ensure that crew working on their vessel are compensated for their loss of livelihood following the decommissioning of their vessel.”

The scheme provides for a payment by the vessel owner to the crew member for each year of service in the fleet, up to a maximum of €50,000 for a crew member who had worked in the fleet for 40 years.

The Seafood Task Force recommended that in order to achieve the objective of improving the viability of the fleet within available fishing quotas post Brexit a package of tax measures be put in place to support vessel owners who choose to apply to leave the fleet under what is a voluntary exit scheme.

The tax measures recommended by the Seafood Task Force in relation to payments under the scheme were enacted on 2 June 2022 through section 15 of the Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022, which provide for beneficial treatment of the scheme payments with regard to capital gains and income tax with potential benefit up to €20 million.

Minister McConalogue concluded: “This scheme flows directly from the recommendations of the Seafood Task Force. I have asked BIM to ensure that the scheme will allow for an adequate period of time for vessel owners to reflect before making what are important decisions in relation to whether or not they wish to avail of the scheme.

“The overall package of measures that are being implemented on foot of the Seafood Taskforce Recommendations will contribute to the long-term viability of the fishing fleet, the wider seafood sector and the coastal communities dependent upon it.”

The scheme will be administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) which will publish full technical details and open the scheme in a matter of weeks. A fund of up to €60 million in direct payments is available to deliver the voluntary scheme.

Further details of the scheme will be available from bim.ie/fisheries/funding/.

Published in Fishing

The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, a €1 million Irish scheme to mitigate the impact of reduced quotas for landed fish on fisheries cooperatives in the wake of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Support will be available to fisheries cooperatives that are primarily focused on fish species whose quota has been reduced and are reliant on the commission earned from landings of fish species caught by their members’ vessels for revenue.

Under the scheme, compensation will be granted in the form of a direct grant to cover for the losses in revenue resulting from the shortage of landed fish. Eligible fisheries cooperatives will be able to receive up to €250,000. The scheme will run until 31 December this year.

The measure is planned to be financed under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR), established to mitigate the economic and social impact of Brexit, subject to approval under the specific provisions governing funding from that instrument.

The commission assessed the measure under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows member states to support the development of certain economic activities or regions under certain conditions, and under the guidelines for the examination of state aid to the fishery and aquaculture sector.

The commission says the scheme will ensure that the fishing and processing sector and onshore fishing-related activities remain economically viable and competitive.

It adds that approval under EU state ad rules was granted on the basis that the scheme facilitates the development of an economic activity and does not adversely affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest.

Announcing the scheme on Friday (22 July), Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue said: “The cooperatives collectively manage the sales and distribution of close to €100 million worth of fish. Over the course of 2021, sales from the cooperatives were reduced by approximately €15 million compared to 2019, translating to a loss of commission for the cooperatives of up to €1.2 million.

“This caused cash flow difficulties for the cooperatives throughout 2021, limiting their financial capacity to re-configure and re-structure their businesses to adapt to the changed trading environment under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“The Brexit Fisheries Cooperative Transition Scheme I am announcing today will provide liquidity aid of 7.5% of the reduction in fish sales for the cooperative’s boats compared to 2019, up to a maximum payment of €250,000 per qualifying cooperative. The scheme will be open to fisheries cooperatives that are primarily focused on TCA quota species — that is, cooperatives whose members’ landings comprise 75% or more TCA quota species.”

Further details of the scheme will be available from the BIM website.

Published in Fishing
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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has today (Monday 25 July) announced approval for a scheme which will provide €20 million in funding for capital investments to accelerate the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the scheme is based on a recommendation of the Seafood Task Force which was established by the minister to assess the impacts of Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the fishing sector and coastal communities.

The Seafood Task Force recommended the aquaculture sector be provided with support for its development in order to mitigate against the collective negative impacts across sectors of the seafood industry. This scheme is proposed for funding under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

This scheme aims to mitigate the adverse economic and social consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on seafood processors adversely affected by loss of raw material supply arising from the TCA quota reductions, aquaculture enterprises directly impacted by the UK withdrawal, and coastal communities adversely affected by a broad range of impacts arising from the TCA quota reductions and wider Brexit impacts.

It aims to achieve these objectives by developing alternative sources of suitable employment in the coastal communities affected, by developing an alternative source of native raw material supply for seafood processors and by enhancing the viability of aquaculture enterprises.

The three scheme objectives will be pursued by accelerating the sustainable growth of aquaculture enterprises, thus aiding enhanced local employment in coastal communities, producing more farmed fish to supply the processing sector and directly enhancing the viability of the aquaculture enterprises concerned. This scheme will support aquaculture enterprises to undertake capital investment projects.

The minister’s department says these investments will enable aquaculture enterprises to sustainably grow production, value and employment, will encourage the entry into the sector of new aquaculture enterprises and will support the evolution of SME enterprises through scaling up.

While investment will generally be supported at a maximum of 40% of eligible costs, a higher incentive rate of 50% will apply to certain climate change investments, to investment in seaweed aquaculture and to investment in recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) projects.

Funding will be prioritised for projects that contribute most to the objectives of the scheme, to climate change objectives and to prioritisation of SMEs generally.

Announcing the approval of the scheme, Minister McConalogue said: “Our aquaculture sector employs 2,000 people directly and supports thousands more in the local economies. There is even greater potential for growth. The supports for these producers will help create jobs and increase Ireland’s supply of high-quality seafood to local markets and for export.”

Based on the recommendation by the task force, the scheme will support investments in modernisation and capacity building, increasing added-value in products, improving energy supply and efficiency, and reducing environmental impact. Importantly, the scheme will also support new entrants into the aquaculture industry. Grants of 30% to 50% of eligible costs will be available.

“This scheme will be a significant boost for the aquaculture sector and will allow for expansion which focuses on sustainability and which is sensitive to our natural environment,” the minister said. “It will assist Ireland to maintain and grow its reputation as a producer of high-quality seafood, both at home and abroad, and help aquaculture producers achieve their ambitions for sustainable expansion.”

The scheme will be administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and the minister has requested that BIM open its call for applications as soon as possible. Due to the time limitations placed on BAR funding, investment projects must be completed by October 2023 to qualify for funding.

The minister added: “This is the latest in a series of schemes that I have announced to support the seafood sector and coastal communities which are most dependent on the sea for their livelihoods. The scheme will assist the aquaculture industry in sustainably growing production, value and employment.

“These investments will ensure that Ireland maintains its reputation as a source of premium quality seafood, protect food supply chains in times of uncertainty, grow coastal economies and sustain the natural environment.

“I am acutely aware that the past few years have presented a challenging operating environment for these sectors and I am pleased that we have been able to be responsive in offering considerable amounts of support to help stakeholders overcome this challenges and engage in growth initiatives.”

Published in Aquaculture
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The fast-changing and evolving landscape of Ireland’s post-Brexit blue economy mean the skills needed for these types of jobs in coastal communities are also changing and evolving.

Individuals already working in the blue economy who want to develop their career or those who would like start to work in the blue economy are being urged to apply for training grants of up to €10,000 available under the €25 million Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme, which is being administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

The blue economy covers a wide range of economic activities within coastal communities. In Ireland, about 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast and many communities along the Irish coast depend on blue economy industries such as tourism, fishing and aquaculture.

As well as providing funding of up to €200,000 for capital projects, the recently launched Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme also provides funding of up to €10,000 per applicant for skills development and training.

Given that many courses begin term in the autumn, BIM is calling on all interested parties to visit its website to learn more about the grants that are available for skills and development.

Brenda O’Riordan, regional officer at BIM said having the right skills and training can help businesses manage change and the growing need to be more flexible and adaptable within today’s blue economy. 

“One of the certainties for anyone working today is the need to be able to adapt to change,” she said. “For example, having digital skills is increasingly important for many seafood and other blue economy businesses, as more transactions move online. This is just one example of where an individual could really enhance their skills for the benefit of themselves and the wider coastal community.”

The Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme is an initiative of the Government of Ireland and is being administered by BIM. The aim of this new scheme is to help address economic and social impact of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union for businesses operating in the blue economy and located in communities within 10km of the coastline.

The scheme has a €25 million budget available in 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. For more details visit bim.ie.

Published in Coastal Notes

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue claimed a “productive” dialogue after meeting with representatives of the fishing industry to discuss a number of important issues facing the seafood sector today, Thursday 7 July.

“The meeting gave me the opportunity to engage directly with industry representatives and to hear first-hand their concerns and priorities,” the minister said. “This meeting was very productive with representatives from the offshore and inshore fleets, aquaculture and the processing industry attending.

“These are very challenging times for the Irish fishing industry and it is vital that we work together to achieve our shared goal of a sustainable and profitable industry.”

Topics discussed included the operation of schemes recommended by the Seafood Sector Taskforce, the impacts of the fuel crisis, that state of play of the coastal states negotiations on a new sharing arrangement for mackerel and the ongoing discussions between the EU and UK on measures to protect cod and whiting in the Celtic Sea.

The minister thanked the attendees for their input and said that he looked forward to continuing to work closely with the sector on these issues in the coming months.

“I recognise that the seafood sector is facing particular challenges both arising from the impacts of the EU/UK Brexit agreement and the Ukraine war resulting in very high fuel prices,” he said.

“I am pushing forward with the implementation of a range of schemes to address the financial impacts under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve fund involving support of up to €143 million and anticipate receiving State Aid approval for a further number of significant schemes that will support the industry.”

The minister added: “There are important discussions ongoing at EU level on a range of issues that impact directly on the sector involving mackerel sharing negotiations involving the EU, UK, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland that will have longer term impacts. I want to work closely with the sector so that the EU and Ireland secure a fair and proportionate share of this important stock.

“There are also EU/UK discussions ongoing on additional measures to better protect cod in the Celtic sea and also support the whiting stock that is in decline. We need an ambitious approach that helps rebuild these stocks without undue impact on our whitefish fishing fleet which are heavily dependant on the Celtic Sea fisheries.”

Today’s meeting was attended by representatives from the Irish South & East Fish Producers Organisation, Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation, Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation, Irish Islands Marine Resources Organisation, Co-operatives, Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Association, IFA Aquaculture and National Inshore Fisheries Forum.

Published in Fishing

Brexit has been a significant driver of change for Dublin Port as an increase in direct trade with the continent has accelerated the need for offsite capacity.

Dublin Port Company’s head of property Cormac Kennedy spoke to Independent.ie about this new direction focused on the development of the Dublin Inland Port at Kilshane Cross, close to Dublin Airport.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the two-phase project is intended to serve as a container depot that will free up space at the main port for expanded core usage — in particular unaccompanied Lo/Lo traffic bypassing the UK land bridge to European ports.

Kennedy says the first phase as been so busy that Dublin Port Company is ramping up its leasing plans to fill more of its approximately 22-hectare capacity — with 3.2 hectares of yard space expected to become available early next year.

“The port will reach its maximum capacity of 77 million tonnes throughput per annum by 2040,” Kennedy said, “and servicing that will require maximising the capacity of the port.”

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Port

A temporary concession has been introduced for British or Channel Island nationals wishing to visit the ports of Saint Cast and Saint Quay in France.

The concessions will run for the 2022 summer season now under way and which concludes on 30 September, the RYA says.

Recreational boaters wishing to visit Brittany via the ports of Saint Quay or Saint Cast will be required to complete a modified Declaration of Arrival/Departure form.

On Arrival
Recreational boaters planning to visit either of the ports will be required to complete the Declaration of Arrival form, one form is necessary per boat. These must be completed and sent to the marina office email address displayed on the form. The marina office will then forward the completed document to the maritime authorities in Saint-Brieuc for processing.

Once the form has been validated by the authorities, a copy will be returned to the marina office, who will then return it to the boat concerned. This copy should then be kept on-board at all times during the period that the boat remains in the Schengen Area so as to be available in the event of a customs visit, on land or at sea. The boat will then be cleared to sail elsewhere in Brittany.

Boaters are advised note that if entry into the Schengen Area is via the Brittany ports of Saint-Quay or Saint-Cast, then departure from the Schengen Area of Brittany must also be via either of these two ports.

On departure
Recreational boaters wishing via the ports of Saint-Quay or Saint-Cast must download and complete the modified Declaration of Departure document. Similarly, one copy only is needed per boat and should be completed and sent to the email address of the departure marina. The marina office will then forward the completed document to the authorities in Saint-Brieuc. Once validated, a copy will be returned to the marina for onward transmission to the boat concerned. The boat will then be clear to leave the Schengen Area.

For further information, visit the Port D’Armor website, where you can also download a copy of the Arrival/Departure form.
 
Find further general information about cruising abroad on the Boating Abroad hub page. Further questions can be directed by email to [email protected]

Published in Cruising
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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