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An Open Letter to the Minister

Mr Charlie McConalogue T.D.,
Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine.
February 28th 2022

CC: Padraig MacLochlainn TD, Michael Collins TD, Michael Healy-Rae TD.
Dear Sir,
On February 23rd last you issued a statement that you had secured Government approval to seek an extension to Ireland’s 6 and 12-mile zones, and further added that later this year the arrangements governing these restricted access protection zones will become due for review at EU level.
In your announcement you declared that you believe that there is a strong case to be made to increase the protection for Ireland’s fishing fleets in these waters, particularly against the background of Brexit and that therefore you are seeking an extension of the zones around Ireland to 12 and 20 miles respectively.
On behalf of the members of the Irish Fishing & Seafood Alliance (IFSA), many of whom are also members of other industry organisations but many others not represented by any other body, I wish to ask the following questions:
1. What are the main objectives in seeking these zone extensions?
2. Can you give confirmation that any changes made will only affect non Irish flagged vessels operating in Irish territorial waters and that status quo will remain for all Irish flagged vessels?
3. As a result of any changes to the zones, what are the implications for straddling (highly migratory) stocks as agreed at coastal states level in particular pelagic stocks like Mackerel and Blue Whiting?

4. If a zone re-arrangement is possible, where did this idea originate from?

If this is the policy that you plan to proceed with, then Irish vessel owners are entitled to be fully informed so they can make future investment decisions accordingly.

Cormac Burke,
Irish Fishing & Seafood Alliance (IFSA)

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