Bord Iascaigh Mhara joins other EU coastal states to address Brexit concerns

Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, joined representatives from EU coastal states to emphasise the importance of fisheries in Brexit negotiations.

At the meeting of the European Fisheries Alliance (EUFA) yesterday in Galicia, Spain more than 60 coastal communities across Europe signed a declaration requesting EU decision makers to protect the economic future of their communities during Brexit negotiations.

Speaking at the signing of the declaration this week, BIM Chief Executive Officer, Jim O’Toole said: “The €1.1 billion Irish fishing industry supports 11,000 jobs and is key to the social, economic and cultural composition of Ireland’s coastal communities. Our interdependence on Britain for access to waters, quota share and trade makes Brexit a serious concern for the Irish fishing industry. As Ireland’s seafood development agency, BIM is supporting the Irish Government and our own producer organisations to prioritise fisheries in Brexit trade negotiations.

“However, addressing the challenges will require a collaborative approach across all Member States and the European Fisheries Alliance is a welcome initiative in that regard,” concluded Mr O’Toole.

The futures of British and EU fishermen as well as the communities which depend on the industry are inextricably linked. While EU fishing fleets depend on access to what is to become UK waters for 42% of their catch, the UK industry exports 60 percent of its total catch to the EU’s single market.

A strong, vibrant Irish fisheries sector is key to delivering objectives set out under the Government’s Food Wise 2025 report which specifically cites a 70% increase in the value added to €13billion from the agri-food, fisheries and wood products sectors combined.

The full text of the Declaration of Santiago de Compostella can be found on the European Fisheries Alliance Website.