mcconalogue fuel fishing radar

Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said that the issue of fuel costs for the fishing industry is on his radar but his hands are tied

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has said that the issue of fuel costs for the fishing industry is on his radar but there is nothing he can do right now as there is nothing he can cut from its cost, as diesel fuel oil is not subject to any taxation or levies other than VAT, which is reclaimable.

Speaking at last night’s Joint Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministers took a number of questions in relation to the industry ahead of this weekend’s AGRIFISH Council in Brussels on Sunday 11 and Monday 12 December.

BIM and RNLI man overboard training Donegal in January 2023

Amongst the TDs present for the question and answers session, Fianna Fáil TD, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan asked the Minister we what he was doing regarding a fuel subsidy scheme, especially for the inshore sector who have been dealing with inflated energy costs and now, shrimp fishermen are facing difficulties as the price of shrimp nose dives from €20 per kilogram to €11 per kilogram.

The Minister replied:

“Obviously, it has been a real challenge this year across the economy, but it’s been a particular challenge for fisheries in relation to the cost of fuel, given the high percentage of overall costs of going fishing that that fuel actually is, and we’re limited in relation we didn’t have capacity to do anything from a purely revenue, point of view, in relation to marine gas oil, because of the fact that there isn’t any Revenue applied to it. There isn’t any taxation on it other than VAT which is fully reclaimable. So, our levers. In that regard, we’re non-existent because there’s no tax on it.” 

Deputy O’Sullivan interjected to point out that some inshore fishermen used outboard motors that used petrol, which did not meet the criteria the Minister mentioned.

The Minister continued:

“What I did do was introduce a second month of the tie-up scheme which finished there at the end of November in relation to ensuring that fishing was viable and economical for those going fishing.  

“There was one month proposed of a tie-up scheme in response to Brexit through the Sea Fisheries. Task Force. I increased that to a second month post the the invasion of Ukraine so that for boats going fishing they had more fish to catch and therefore it made the economics of it stack up in recognition of the fact that fuel was a significant and increased burden. 

“I have been engaging with the industry and sector around their request and the pressure that remains there around fuel I’m engaging at government level as well over the last period of time in relation to the capacity and potential for support very much aware in the event that I can succeed in delivering something which remains, it’s very much in discussion at the moment.”

“The importance of the inshore sector in that regard, and as you know, coming out of Brexit, whether it’s the €2,700 or the €4,000 for over 10 metres, the inshore sector is a sector that we have sought to support and I know you’ve raised this issue with me in relation to the fuel pressure that’s there, and it’s very much on my radar as well, in relation to discussions that I’m having.”

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