I met with Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels last month to discuss the potential negative impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish fishing industry.
We discussed a number of issues including potential loss of access for Irish and other EU vessels to the UK fishing zone, the need to ensure ongoing protection of fish stocks in the waters around Ireland from a subsequent increase in fishing activity, and potential mitigation measures at EU level.
We also discussed the recent EU Commission proposals concerning the possible use of temporary cessation measures, quota swapping with the UK and potential reciprocal access in a ‘no deal’ situation.
I emphasised the necessity for the Commission to continue its leading role in ensuring that there will be a coordination mechanism on the actual application of any temporary cessation, identifying fleets and stocks most vulnerable to a disorderly Brexit and exploring additional possible mitigation measures to safeguard these stocks.
There has been a number of meetings at official level between the EU Commission and the relevant Member States in recent weeks on these issues and my Department, with the support of our Marine Agencies, have been fully engaged in these. Further meetings are planned in the coming days and weeks.
I am also continuing to work closely with key stakeholders in the Irish fishing industry and am pleased at the level of unity on these key issues.