Penrose concerned over UK withdrawal from London Fisheries Convention

03 July 2017

Labour spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Willie Penrose TD, has called on the Government to stall further progression of the Sea-Fisheries (Amendment) Bill 2017.

It comes after the UK Government announced it is to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, preventing Irish trawlers from fishing within 12 nautical miles of the UK coastline.

Deputy Penrose said:

“While there are still many unknowns as to how Ireland will be affected by Britain’s decision to leave the EU, it seems that the UK Government is intent of having a ‘hard Brexit’ when it comes to fishing.

“Around a third of the catch brought ashore by Irish fishermen comes from British waters, with a heavy reliance on the UK for mackerel in particular.

“Banning Irish trawlers from fishing within 12 nautical miles of the UK coastline- while EU trawlers still have the same level of access to Irish waters- could have a devastating impact on the fishing industry here.

“The Government now needs to go about securing a larger quota from the EU in a bid to level the playing field for Irish fishermen.

“I would also echo calls from the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation to ensure Brexit negotiations on fishing are included in discussions on trade, and not as a separate issue.

“The Government should also stall any further progression of the Sea-Fisheries (Amendment) Bill 2017 to take into account these latest developments.

“The Irish fishing industry is hugely important around the coast both in terms of employment and income-generating capacity, and needs to be protected. This was clearly evident from recent evidence at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

“It is incumbent upon us legislators to work on a cross-party basis with Minister Creed, to ensure that a comprehensive strategy and response is formulated to deal with events and issues that affect this important industry going forward.”

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