KFO Chief, Sean O'Donoghue says that the EU Commissoner Virginius Sinkevicius must provide answers to the industry during Killybegs visit

KFO Chief, Sean O’Donoghue says that the EU Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius must provide answers to the industry during Killybegs visit

CEO of the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation, Sean O’Donoghue is hoping that the visit to the fishing port on Monday next by EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevicius, will lead to a resolution on several issues that have been facing the Irish fishing industry since the start of 2021. 

The Irish fishing industry has been left devastated by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU agreed on 24 December 2020. Also, the industry has been left without a control plan for landing since it was withdrawn by EU Commission in April this year, and it looks like the Commission is in favour of another round of decommissioning in the Irish fishing fleet.

Commissioner Sinkevicius visit on Monday is being regarded as an opportunity for fishing representatives to meet and to converse with the Commissioner on the issues that are facing the industry, and they hope that he returns to the EU Commission with their questions and for answers to be provided which will help resolve the current crisis the fishing industry is facing. 

Speaking to The Fishing Daily today, Mr O’Donoghue said: “First of all, we welcome the fact that the Commissioner is coming to visit us in Killybegs, a port which is going to be the hardest hit in terms of Brexit, but let’s be clear, we are not going to be mincing our words.

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“We will certainly be outlining the disproportionate costs we have experienced due to Brexit, and we will be asking how this can be fixed there in terms of burden sharing.

“Our second issue is that we want action from the Commission on this reckless and irresponsible behaviour by Norway, and indeed the Faroe Islands, who increased their mackerel share by 55%. It’s totally unacceptable and there needs to be trade measures and sanctions imposed to stop this happening again.

“We want action in relation to this now and not next year.

“We are going to engage the Commissioner on pelagic weighing and the withdrawal of the of all the weighing permits in Ireland by the Commission, and we certainly will be making it clear to him in no uncertain terms that we are being accused of illegal acts here and they’re refusing to give us the information in there in relation to it. It’s just totally unacceptable.

“We understand the control plan has finally been submitted. So, we want an immediate solution. We are expecting that this control plan will be approved by the end of the year and that it will be reinstated.

“On Monday we’ll be making it clear what happened here is not acceptable as we have been denied access to being able to challenge the decision or defend ourselves against the decision of the Commission, and that is not acceptable.”

On the issue of the fallout from Brexit, he said:

“For us is all about burden sharing and we’re not accepting this argument to proximity. I will be going through this in detail and telling him that this doesn’t stack up to the factual situation.”

One of the other issues the CEO of the KFO will be broaching with the Commissioner on his visit is the news that there will be no new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in 2020, instead the Commissioner is compiling a report on it instead.

“The final question I will have for the Commissioner is on the CFP report coming next year.

“At the moment the Commission are saying that they’re only producing a report and they are not talking about any revisions, and that is something that we are not prepared to accept.

“We will expect that other Member States, and in particular our own Minister’s involvement to ensure that this becomes more than a report. We want to see significant changes in the CFP going forward from 2023-2024.”

By Oliver McBride

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Commissioner must provide answers during Killybegs visit says KFO Chief

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