Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (717)

Dara Calleary


717. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a detailed impact analysis will be provided of the damaging impact of the EU-UK Brexit deal on the fishing sector here; the initiatives he will take to support Ireland’s fishing sector; if he plans to establish a task force; if so, the terms of reference and membership of the task force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2851/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement will, unfortunately, have an impact on our fishing industry. However, this impact would have been far greater had the Barnier Task Force agreed to UK demands or had we been in a no-deal scenario which would have seen all EU vessels barred from UK waters and subsequent displacement into Ireland's fishing zone.

Last week, I published a Preliminary Analysis of Transfers of Quota Shares on the website which details quota transfers for Ireland across the different stocks. This compares the quota shares allocated to Ireland in 2020 and the corresponding new quota shares for 2021-2016. The Deputy will see from this document that reductions in the Annexes to the Agreement are graduated over the 5.5 year period of reciprocal access, but the largest part of the reduction, 60%, is between 2020 and 2021.

On 25 December 2020, the European Commission published a Proposal for an EU Regulation establishing a Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR). The objective of the proposed BAR is to provide support to counter the adverse consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union in Member States, regions and sectors, in particular those that are worst affected by that withdrawal, and to mitigate the related impact on the economic, social and territorial cohesion. The draft Regulation is subject to negotiations in the Council and European Parliament and its provisions may change.

It is proposed that the BAR would have a budget of €5.37 billion in current prices and that approximately €1 billion would be allocated to Ireland in 2021 as pre-financing to assist Ireland in funding appropriate measures in 2021 and 2022 to assist the worst affected sectors of our economy. Government is very aware that our food sector, not least our fisheries sector, is particularly impacted by the outcome of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and is examining how best to deploy Ireland’s proposed allocation under the Reserve to help our economy adjust to the new arrangements.

In relation to our seafood sector, I am exploring a variety of possible measures, including a temporary fleet tie-up scheme. The tie-up scheme would likely commence in the second quarter of 2021 and would provide short term assistance to fishing vessels most impacted by the quota agreements with the UK.