Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil Marine spokesperson, has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to immediately assemble a forum for the Marine sector and fish industry, it is essential that we as a state prepare for every eventuality in preparation for Brexit.
"I am calling on the Minister to call all stakeholders within the sector together, for all political parties to be included and all those with a vested interest in the marine sector in order to best prepare for Brexit.
Pat the Cope added that with little over 60 days remaining until the March 29th deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU, "it is essential that we as a country have a clear and well defined plan for the entire Marine sector. Unfortunately, I believe that we have failed to prepare for every eventuality in terms of the ongoing Brexit negotiations and the Marine sector is particularly vulnerable should a UK crash out occur".
"I am proposing that the Minister and the Government agree to assemble a forum comprising of all stakeholders in the marine sector – the various fishing representative bodies, the fish processors, the fish exports and all political party spokespersons on Marine. The entire Marine sector remains terribly exposed to any emerging deal from the Brexit negotiations and should a crash out occur and the UK leave without an agreement, then the results will be catastrophic for the entire sector.
"The fishing grounds around Ireland and the United Kingdom have been treated as one entity for the past 800 years, never has there been demarcation lines between our two states in terms of fishing – this will change unless an agreement is reached added Pat the Cope.
"Fish at sea recognise no boundaries in various jurisdictions and the negotiators must recognise that the Marine sector requires flexibility in terms of them being able to catch their allocated quota be that in Irish, Scottish or English waters stated Pat the Cope.
"We must not fail to prepare nor must we fail to engage with the entire marine sector, it is clear thus far that we have failed to engage with the fishing sector in a round table format. I am impressing on the Minister to call all the stakeholders to an open forum to better plan and prepare for what will be, regardless of whatever eventual outcome is going to be the greatest upheaval and challenge to ever face the Irish Fishing sector," he concluded.
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