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Minister welcomes his own committee’s report

Today marine minister Charlie McConalogue has welcomed an interim report from the Seafood Sector Task Force — but if you’re expecting any actual news for an industry in crisis then read no further.


Lots of spin terms like “recommending initiatives to provide support for restructuring” and “ensuring a profitable and sustainable fishing fleet” but here’s a newsflash Minister: we HAD a profitable and sustainable fishing fleet until your government mismanaged it to such an extent that the EU fleet now owns 85% of the fishing resources in Irish waters !


And, as noted in previous IFSA articles, why is this group called the Seafood Taskforce when it is clearing the FISHING INDUSTRY that has is in crisis — the catching sector upon which the seafood industry relies on —— but oh no, its not PC to mention the fishing industry or fishermen because they’re all dodgy characters and layabouts, or so this government would like the general public to believe.


The Minister also refers to asking the Task Force to outline for arrangements for a voluntary decommissioning scheme, only weeks after responding to a question from the IFSA during the online ‘Town Hall’ meetings when he said that there were NO plans for decommissioning on the table at this time…


Finally, and somewhat pathetically, today’s ministerial statement was released to all industry bodies and media —- all except the IFSA, the largest independent voice in Ireland’s fishing & seafood sectors.


How sad is it that this small-minded man thinks that if he ignores the IFSA for long enough that it will somehow just go away - or that I will stop voicing the industry’s opinion that he will go down in history as the most ineffective Agriculture & Marine Minister that this state has ever seen.


However, I can only thank the Minister for his efforts to silence the IFSA because every time he does this he drives even more supporters to this group which continues to grow in numbers day by day.





Minister’s statement in full:


McConalogue welcomes receipt of the interim report of the Seafood Sector Task Force

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has now received the interim report of the Seafood Sector Task Force. The Minister set up the Seafood Sector Task Force to examine the implications for the Irish Fishing industry and coastal communities particularly dependent upon it arising from the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement, agreed between the European Union and the UK.

The Task Force, Chaired by Aiden Cotter, was charged with recommending initiatives that could be taken to provide supports for development and restructuring, so as to ensure a profitable and sustainable fishing fleet and to identify opportunities for jobs and economic activity in coastal communities dependent on fishing.

The Minister requested that an interim report to focus on arrangements for a temporary voluntary fleet cessation scheme to counter the impact of the reduction in quotas would be provided, followed later by the full report of the Seafood Sector Task Force. The Task Force was also asked to review the options and recommend actions that may be pursued which would assist in reducing the burden on Ireland from the transfers of fishing quota shares to the UK.


The Interim Task Force Report , supported by all Members of the Taskforce, addressed the issue of burden sharing between Member States and recommends a range of initiatives to address the quota reductions in Trade and Co-operation Agreement. The Taskforce recommended a series of actions targeted at pelagic quotas and actions targeted at demersal quotas. The Interim Report indicates that the recommended actions, after further consideration by the Task Force, will be set down in detail in the main Report. The Interim Taskforce Report also recommends that a voluntary temporary cessation scheme of one months duration be offered, to approximately 220 whitefish vessels impacted by the quota reductions, in the period from September to December.

The Minister said “I wish to thank the members of the Seafood Sector Task Force for their constructive engagement under the guidance of the steering group (Aidan Cotter, Margaret Daly and Micheál O’Cinneide) to draft this interim report, which I requested would focus the issue of burden sharing and on arrangements for a temporary voluntary fleet cessation scheme to counter the impact of the reduction in fishing quotas under the Brexit Trade and Co-operation agreement. I am delighted to have now received that interim report.”

The Seafood Sector Task will continue its work with a view to producing a final report for submission to the Minister. The terms of reference ask the Task Force to outline the arrangements for a voluntary decommissioning scheme or other initiatives to address the implications of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and outline other developmental strategies to strengthen and enhance coastal communities especially dependent on the seafood industry. The Task Force will also review the options and recommend actions that may be pursued which would assist in reducing the burden on Ireland from the transfers of fishing quota shares to the UK.

The Minister went on to say “I have asked the Task Force to consider how all available funding streams could be used to address, to the extent possible, initiatives to mitigate the impact of quotas transferred to the UK under the Trade and Co-operation Agreement. While the Brexit Adjustment Reserve and the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund will be very important elements in the implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force, they should not be considered the only sources of funding and, in the first instance, it is a matter for the Task Force to consider appropriate funding sources for recommendations they may make.”

The Seafood Sector Task Force is continuing its work and has, to date, met on seven occasions and received a total of 57 submissions from its members and through the public consultation process.

The Interim Seafood Taskforce Report can be found here: BIM - Seafood Sector Taskforce

The establishment of the Seafood Sector Taskforce is an Action in the Department’s Action Plan 2021 under the Strategic Goal to ‘Deliver a sustainable, competitive and innovative seafood sector, driven by a skilled workforce, delivering value added products in line with consumer demand’.

Notes for Editors

The Department’s Action Plan 2021 can be accessed on the Department’s website at: www.gov.ie/en/publication/a9d51-statement-of-strategy-2021-2024/

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