Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed hosted a Brexit Fisheries Discussion in Galway today (Thursday, June 29), as part of four days of marine-themed events including the BIM National Seafood Conference and Seafest – Ireland’s national maritime festival.
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.
This was followed by a panel discussion focusing on the potential issues arising from Brexit for the seafood sector. This panel comprised of both chairs, along with representatives of the Irish fishing industry; Sean O’Donoghue of the Killybeg Fisherman’s Organisation (KFO), Patrick Murphy of the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO), Hugo Boyle of the Irish South & East Fish Producers Organisation (IS&EFPO) and Lorcán Ó Cinnéide of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association
Minister Creed said: “The Bord Iascaigh na Mara’s (BIM’s) National Seafood Conference and Seafest are about celebrating our marine resources and all the opportunities that they provide to us. 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 discussions today, 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,” he continued.
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,” Minister Creed said.
The Minister also spoke of his discussion with the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier who, “clearly understands the issues and significance of Brexit for Ireland's fisheries sector”.
Minister Creed also emphasised that it is vital that everyone works 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.”