Responding to developments in the House of Commons, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation CEO Seán O’Donoghue said his members and the wider fishing industry is in a heightened state of anxiety about what the UK’s next steps might be.
‘A disorderly Brexit would damage Irish fisheries irreparably,’ he said.
‘We’ve been beating this drum for a long time in stating that the seafood and fishing industries are uniquely exposed given the sharing of fishing grounds with the UK. The Department of the Taoiseach reiterated last night that all of the important commercial fish stocks which we rely on are shared with the UK and approximately one third of all landings of fish by Irish vessels come from UK waters.’
Seán O’Donoghue commented that an orderly Brexit is imperative, and the scenario they otherwise face is for chaos and conflict on the high seas in the very near future not to mention the major conflict issues around exports and landings.
‘We cannot countenance this happening and in the event of ‘no-deal Brexit’, we must at a minimum, maintain the existing access and quota sharing arrangements until the end of 2019 as covered in the recent Commission’s proposal,’ he said.
‘Whereas fish are mobile and know no borders nor bear any nationality, our trawlers don’t have this luxury and must obey boundaries and exclusion zones. Our industry is standing on the edge of a precipice and everything that we have strived for and developed for generations is staring into the abyss. We’ve worked tirelessly on this for almost two years, we’ve achieved a great deal in terms of commitments in both the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration only to be now faced with this latest shambles in Westminster. The situation is much too serious to be playing politics with the livelihoods of Irish fishermen,’ stated the KFO’s CEO Seán O’Donoghue.