KFO Chief, Sean O’Donoghue welcomes last Friday’s announcement of a temporary tie-up scheme but warns more needs to be done for Irish fishing
Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation CEO, Sean O’Donoghue has welcomed the announcement of last Friday’s Temporary Tie-up Scheme but says there is more work to be done in order to protect the Irish fishing industry from the fallout of Brexit.
The Temporary Tie-up Scheme was announced last Friday, 03 September, by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue , TD as part of a recommendation in the interim report from the Seafood Sector Task Force which he announced in February.
The Taskforce was established to make recommendations to the Minister on measures to mitigate the impacts of the fish quota share reductions, arising from the EU/UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA), on the Irish Fishing industry and on the coastal communities that depend on fisheries.
In mid-June, the Minister received the interim report from the Task Force, but it took until last Friday to announce a temporary tie-up scheme which concerns many of those in the industry who were promised a four-month scheme, but now instead will have to accept a three-month scheme.
In an interview with The Fishing Daily, this concern was raised by Mr O’Donoghue:
“Unfortunately, we had expected that that was going to happen in August rather than September because there was meant to be the scheme was made to run from September to the end of December and now it is only running from October to the end of December.
“So instead of having a four-month scheme, we would like a three-month scheme. Obviously, we welcome it, but we are disappointed that it cannot be the four-month scheme.”
The tie-up scheme on offer only covers the demersal whitefish fleet, but doesn’t cover other sectors of the Irish fishing fleet and Mr O’Donoghue expects there to be further announcements.
He said, “The other thing is, now that we have a temporary scheme for the vessels the whitefish fleet the other sectors that has been really affected to the biggest extent is the pelagic sector and I expect, and I’m really demanding that the Task Force in his final report will be coming forward with a scheme to cover the pelagic sector.”
Outside of the BAR funding there are other concerns for the Irish fishing industry such as the loss of quota and the loss of access to traditional fishing grounds that should have been part of the Brexit talks process.
“There is also the Rockall situation, particularly the squid fishery that we are actively pursuing as well,” explains Sean. “So we see Friday as only the start of the temporary tie-up scheme as it only covers about a third of the of the losses in 2021 that are as a consequence of Brexit.”
He concluded by warning that the BAR is only a temporary fix and there will be further problems when the funding expires, he said, “We also have to remember that the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund is only for a three-year period 2021, 22 and 23 so we will be seeking to use it to the maximum to cover our fleet’s losses.”
by Oliver McBride