Thursday 21 February 2019

Irish fisheries welcome EU proposal to compensate trawlers in the event of no-deal Brexit

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

IRISH fisheries groups have welcomed an EU proposal to compensate trawlers in the event of a no-deal Brexit, if European Union boats are barred from UK waters.

A no deal Brexit would automatically mean a ban on British boats fishing in EU waters and EU boats from fishing off Britain.

The European Commission has now proposed two possible measures to reduce the impact. One would allow compensation for European fishermen who currently fish in UK waters if they find themselves cut off after Brexit.

The other proposal would pave the way to grant Britain access to EU fishing waters until the end of 2019, in return for Britain allowing EU fishermen into its waters.

Seán O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, based in Donegal, welcomed the move.

Even a temporary reprieve is an important step to avoid catastrophe on the fishing grounds on March 30, he said.

“Ireland’s two biggest fisheries, mackerel (60%) and nephrops (40%) (or prawns) are hugely dependent on access to UK waters with the overall dependency for all stocks of over 30%. Maintaining reciprocal access to waters and resources need to be at the heart of the post-Brexit relationship in fisheries given the historic ties and inextricable links between our countries and industries,” he said.

The Commission said its proposal is limited to 2019, adding it would aim to agree the two proposals with the European Parliament and the European Council, by Brexit day.

Brexit’s effect on fisheries is particularly important to France.

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