Ireland’s seafood sector faces “unique challenges and must be protected during the Brexit negotiations”.

The key challenge for government will be to ensure that fisheries and seafood concerns are “high on the EU agenda” and not separated from overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.

Oilean an Oir

Oileán an Óir steaming down the Minch loaded with mackerel.                                   Photo John Cunningham 

Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, was addressing a packed gathering of industry and State fisheries and seafood representatives attending a Brexit meeting in Dublin.

Ireland’s seafood sector is a €1bn industry with a first- sale value of €500m, exports worth €560m and employs 11,000 people in mostly remote coastal areas.

Brexit poses a “very particular set of serious threats” over and above trade implications common to most sectors, he added. These concern 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.

“Any changes to existing rights for the Irish and EU catching sector must be resisted strenuously,” he said.

UK fishing industry hopes to reclaim their waters however may be dashed by a European Parliament opinion.