Fish processors in Killybegs are being punished for taking a stand, says Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Fisheries, Padraig Mac Lochlainn irish fishing eu 2024 mac lochlainn decommissioning BAR

Sinn Féin Deputy, Padraig Mac Lochlainn has questioned Minister Charlie McConalogue on the decommissioning scheme and on BAR supports

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has replied to two written questions from Sinn Féin Deputy and Spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Padraig Mac Lochlainn in relation to the Brexit Voluntary Permanent Cessation Scheme and what financial supports the Minister proposes to instigate for the fishing, aquaculture and processing sector from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund (BAR).

In a written question, Deputy Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister to publish the full list, in tabular form, by vessel name, registered owner, vessel size, quota attached to the vessel, tonnage and port of all participants in the fishing boat decommissioning scheme approved through the Brexit adjustment reserve funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Replying to the request, Minister McConalogue replied:

“In March it was announced that 42 vessels had accepted offers made under the Brexit Voluntary Permanent Cessation Scheme. The vessels that accepted offers comprise a mixture of prawn and whitefish trawlers, seine netters, gillnetters, and beam trawl vessels, spread around fishing ports along the coast.

Of the 42 vessels that accepted offers under the Scheme:

  • 39 vessels have proceeded with their application.
  • 3 vessels have withdrawn their application.

The 39 vessels proceeding have a combined gross tonnage of 6,300 GT representing 80% of the original target of 8,000 Gross Tonnes to be voluntarily withdrawn from the Irish fleet as recommended by the Seafood Taskforce, at a total cost of €60 million.

  • Of the 39 vessels proceeding:
  • 30 vessels have been decommissioned.
  • 6 currently being dismantled.
  • 3 vessels will be decommissioned during October.

To date, 26 of the 39 vessels have been paid in full, with the other 13 having received their first payment. A total of €50 million has been paid out.

As a number of these vessel owners are yet to complete the process and receive all payments, it would not be appropriate at this point to offer any further segmentation, detail or individual vessel characteristics which may result in the identification of individual applicants.”

In a second question relating to BAR, Deputy Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister what additional supporting measures that he is considering introducing through the BAR to assist the Irish fishing, aquaculture and processing industries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister McConalogue replied: 

“I established the Seafood Sector Task Force in March 2021 to examine the impacts of Brexit/EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on our fishing sector and coastal communities. The Task Force report of October 2021 made 16 recommendations.

To date, under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund (BAR), I have announced 11 schemes with a total budget allocation of €271.3 million, as follows:

  • Temporary Tie-Up 2021 Scheme
  • Inshore Fisheries Business Model Adjustment Scheme 2022 and 2023
  • Temporary Tie-Up 2022 Scheme
  • Brexit Co-operative Transition Scheme
  • Brexit Voluntary Decommissioning Scheme
  • Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme
  • Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme
  • Seafood Capital Processing Support Scheme
  • Inshore Marketing Scheme            
  • Brexit Sustainable Aquaculture Growth Scheme  
  • Off Register Capacity Buy Out Scheme  

Four new schemes have been submitted to the European Commission for State Aid approval. Those schemes are:

  1. Brexit Pelagic Fisheries Support Scheme
    2. Brexit Fish Processor Transition Scheme
    3. Brexit Specific Scallop Fleet Transition Support Scheme
    4. Brexit Fisheries Cooperative Transition Scheme 2023

The Brexit Pelagic Fisheries Support Scheme reflects support to the pelagic sector to compensate for the loss of quota, with a focus exclusively on liquidity supports for RSW and Tier 1 and Tier 2 vessels.  I estimate that the cost of the scheme, assuming 100% up-take, will amount to some €25.6 million.

 The Brexit Fish Processor Transition Scheme is a liquidity scheme for seafood processors, to compensate for losses due to reduced supply of raw material and additional logistical and administration costs through non-tariff barriers which arose due to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement/Brexit. In line with the Task Force recommendations, payments will be capped at €300,000 per applicant, and I estimate a total budget of €12 million.

 The Brexit Specific Scallop Fleet Transition Support Scheme is a liquidity scheme that will be restricted to the seven vessels in the scallop fleet. It will compensate the owners of scallop vessels impacted by the TCA, with payments capped at a maximum of 20 days per vessel. This scheme has a budget of €560,000, or up to €80,000 per vessel.

 The Brexit Fisheries Cooperative Transition Scheme 2023 will compensate fisheries cooperatives for losses experienced in 2022. The scheme will compensate for 7.5% of lost revenue in 2022 compared to 2019, up to a cap of €250,000.

Full scheme details will be published once State Aid approval is granted, and as with all BAR schemes, the four new schemes will be administered by an Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

Details of all BAR funded schemes implemented to date are available at bim.ie/fisheries/funding.”

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Brian J McMullin Soliciors Killybegs
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