23 January 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Cork South-West TD Holly Cairns has called on the Government to put crucial supports in place for the coastal and island fishing communities that have been impacted by Brexit.
Holly, who is the party’s spokesperson for the Marine, said:
“We are all aware of the considerable concerns of the fishing sector, which will see a total loss of €43m due to Ireland surrendering a greater percentage of quota than most other EU states.
“The European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund is a crucial support for sustainable fishing and the economic development of coastal areas. Its predecessor has proven vital in fostering innovations to develop sustainable markets for small-scale and island fishing communities.
“The Minister needs to say when the text of the new scheme will be available to stakeholders and if he will provide stop-gap investments for current projects, as the Government is doing with the Leader Programme.
“There are also ongoing issues around the designation of ports for landings of UK registered Northern Ireland boats. The excessive re-registering costs are simply not an option for many without assistance. In addition, the requirement for 24-hour notice of landing is simply unworkable.
“The Minister needs to ensure the further designation of ports to those already announced and use exemptions to notice periods until those working in the fishing sector have had a chance to adapt to new arrangements.
“The Government needs to address the loss of 15% of our quotas. We should also be told if it intends to establish a decommission scheme. Previous schemes have been at the cost of small-scale and inshore fishing – the type of fishing we need to promote – and to the advantage of larger commercial fishing. Any potential decommissioning scheme needs to prevent this inequity and not allow the sector to become dominated by a small number of big players.
“I welcome the Minister’s willingness to consider a task force to focus on supporting the sector, which I have been calling for since early in the pandemic. The industry is facing a series of unique challenges that need tailored solutions.”