“The promises of standing by the fishermen of our island nation was forgotten only a few days past, when news broke that Michel Barnier offered 18% of what can only be Irish fish to the UK.”
The CEO of the South and West Fish Producers Organisation has said the EU’s chief negotiator in Brexit talks has been “instructed to throw away his mandate” to protect the rights of Irish fishermen as the UK finalises its withdrawal agreement with the EU.
Mr. Patrick Murphy said EU negotiator Michel Barnier, who was previously Minister for Fisheries in France, “knows only too well that giving more fish to UK fishermen will mean less for everyone else.”
“When the UK voted for Brexit, the vast majority of fishing Organisations across Ireland were asked to put aside their differences and unite in one voice so to protect the current Common Fisheries Policy so we would not lose access or quota share in UK waters once they became a coastal state,” Murphy claimed.
“I will predict that in 2020/21, this year where nightmares became real, we all are going to witness our government’s inaction finishing the job of decommissioning Ireland’s white fish fleet to make way for French, Dutch, Belgian and Spanish vessels displaced from UK waters.
“That our coastal communities who are so dependent on our brave men and women sailing out to sea while being watched and monitored constantly, their meagre fish quotas allocated each month with some species as low as 50 kilos per month and this less than what a man with a fishing rod could catch, will be sacrificed as a bargaining chip for Europe in the Brexit negotiations is simply shameful.”
Murphy claims that the transfer of more European boats into Irish waters also has the potential to destroy “our nursery and spawning grounds” due to overfishing, with 42% of “white fish” sector boats already “wiped out” in the past eleven years.
Referring to the ongoing EU negotiations with the UK, the CEO said he is “upset to think I too could be linked with the final blow to finish off many of the small independent family run fishing vessels around our coastline” and that Ireland is a “sacrificial lamb on the negotiating tables of Europe”.
“Is this the future now that Michel Barnier has been instructed to throw away his mandate? Will our Government our Taoiseach, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine renege on their promises to us?”