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Ireland panic: Fishermen fear ‘annihilation’ as Brexit deal could WIPE OUT fleets

3 min read

Brexit deal has 'smashed people's dreams' says fishing boss

Under Mr Johnson’s deal, the EU will lose 25 percent of its share of the catch in British waters. Up to 15 percent will be lost in 2021, rising by two percentage points each year to 25 percent by 2026.

Despite the agreement being secured by the EU, Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFP) attacked the deal claiming it would have a disproportionate impact on the Irish fishing industry.

Patrick Murphy, chief executive of ISWFPO, said: “We have 164 boats over 18 metres in the Irish fleet.

“These are the boats that will be hit the worst.

“To balance the books for the Irish fleet you are talking about an annihilation of the fleet; we would maybe have 100 boats left.”

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He continued: “The EU needs to say we don’t want your Irish fishing fleet to go out of business because the fish are in your waters like they are in the UK so we’re going to give some of our entitlements back to you to keep your fleet fishing.”

Last week, Charlie McComnalogue, minister for the marine, said Ireland would lose 26 percent of its mackerel quota and at least 13 percent of its prawns quota.

The government also estimated Brexit would cost the Irish fishing community a staggering €35million a year.

But Mr Murphy claimed this figure is inaccurate as it does not account for losses in exports.

He estimated the total loss would more likely be €87million this year.

Michael Collins, independent politician for West Cork, said: “The ramifications of the Brexit trade deal will soon be felt in every coastal community as the Irish fishing industry… has been hit hardest by the deal.

“In effect, the Irish fishing sector has been thrown under the proverbial bus, while the Irish government watch on like bystanders instead of protecting our interests.

“Having scrutinised the Brexit deal, I am appalled that the Irish government have allowed the Irish fishing quota to be cut significantly.

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“In fact, the botched Brexit deal amounts to a cut of at least 25 percent in quota and income for the Irish fishing fleet at a time when the sector is already in survival mode.

“Plainly put, this deal will annihilate the Irish fishing sector.”

He continued: “This unfortunate impact of this deal will cost thousands [of] jobs.

“Clearly, the government failed to stand up for this sector which directly supports 16,000 jobs in rural parts of this country.”

Mr Collins insisted the deal was a “complete sell-off in terms of Irish fishing rights”.

He said: “This sell-out will cost livelihoods and jobs in a sector already on the brink.

“It is completely abhorrent for any Irish government to allow this to happen.”

During negotiations last year, fishing was one of the main sticking points, causing talks to be gridlocked for months.

Under the controversial Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP), all member states are given access to EU waters via quotas.

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