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Fisheries

The 8 member states (Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, France and the Netherlands), whose fisheries would be potentially most impacted by Brexit have developed a common position that fisheries must not be isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.  

Brexit poses a very particular set of potential serious threats to the Irish and EU seafood industry including possible

  • prohibitions on access to fish in the UK zone
  • large loss of quota share in all of our commercial fisheries, potentially up to 50% in some cases
  • increase in activity by other EU vessels in the waters around Ireland, leading to stock depletion in the waters we depend upon

Current access and sharing arrangements were reaffirmed by all Member States, including the UK, as recently as 2014.

On average, 34% (by volume) of Irish landings are taken from UK waters.  A worst case scenario is that, in addition to restrictions on access, the UK would seek to increase its current quotas to match the amount of fish currently taken by non UK vessels in the UK zone. This would lead to serious over exploitation of stocks at everyone’s expense.

Ireland has worked closely with the Commission, the other affected Member States and stakeholders on preparing a coordinated response to the potential significant impacts of a no deal Brexit on fisheries.

A legal framework is being put in place to allow EU and UK vessels to grant access to each other’s fleets until the end of 2020.  This would apply in the event of a no deal scenario and if the EU and UK agree on continuation of access to each others waters.

Detailed information on the certification requirements in a No Deal scenario for both direct landings into the UK and seafood trade may be found at https://www.sfpa.ie/What-We-Do/Trade-Market-Access-Support/Brexit-Information.  More information can also be found in the EU Q&A document published on the 18th of July 2019.

Should reciprocal access to UK waters be maintained in a no deal scenario, the UK  has indicated that it will require vessels that are ≥12m long to register with the IMO in order to fish in their EEZ.  Any Irish fishing vessel that is ≥12m long and intends to fish outside of the EU EEZ can register for an IMO number at https://imonumbers.ihs.com/