Like its European Fisheries Alliance (EUFA) colleagues, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation has at all times, recognised that its members need time and predictability to make appropriate plans for the future. A transition period that maintains relative stability will ensure the continued sustainability of stocks and economic competitiveness for the fishing industry in the EU and the UK while an acceptable long-term deal is negotiated.
The European Fisheries Alliance is a coalition of European fishing fleets directly impacted by Brexit. Members include national organizations from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. The alliance accounts for over 18,000 fishermen and 3,500 vessels with an annual turnover €20.7 billion.
KFO Chief Executive, Seán O’Donoghue said:
“This announcement on the transition period is an important step forward. It gives our fleet certainty until the end of 2020 and allows time to negotiate a post-Brexit fisheries relationship which is in the interest of both sides. We have always maintained that it is vital to maintain existing access to waters and resources and to conduct negotiations in the context of wider trade relations
We now stand ready to support the European Commission and the EU27 during the next phase of negotiations on the future framework. Maintaining reciprocal access to waters and resources should be at the heart of the post-Brexit relationship in fisheries given the historic ties and inextricable links between our countries and industries. It is now imperative that Minister Creed build on progress to date by fighting tooth and nail to ensure the commitments set out in the draft text are retained in the final document to be agreed at Council by the end of the month. We cannot afford to concede a single inch as these extremely important negotiations reach a finale.”
The KFO recognises the importance of involving the UK in a meaningful way in the annual discussions on total allowable catches (TACs) and fishing opportunities during the transition. The progress made on the draft Withdrawal Agreement, including the transition period, is a step in the right direction and the KFO would like to acknowledge the work carried out by EUFA, the European Commission’s Task Force 50 and Irish Government. The KFO has always maintained that the €1.15billion Irish fishing industry which sustains more than 14,500 jobs, must be a top priority for our Government as Ireland faces the enormity of Brexit drawing ever closer. The level of uncertainty and the scale of the challenge facing Irish fishermen has been causing the industry many sleepless nights since the British voted for Brexit on June 23rd, 2016 hence its insistence that trade and fisheries be inextricably linked at all times in high-level negotiations.
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