Brexit disaster for Ireland as fishermen face £38m black hole after loss of UK waters

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Ireland, alongside Germany, is expected to be one of the hardest-hit states the post-Brexit changes to fishing opportunities. Of the EU’s eight coastal states, Dublin is the biggest loser after the bloc’s access to British waters was cut by a quarter. Under the UK-EU agreement, European vessels have been forced to hand back 25 percent of the value of fish they catch in UK fishing grounds.

This is due to be phased-in over a five-and-half-year transition period, after which the Government will be free to decide on access rights.

By 2026, Irish trawlermen will have lost 15 percent of the value of their quota share in Britain’s coastal waters.

The agreement will see significant cuts to Ireland’s largest fishery, western mackerel.

Its fishermen face a 26 percent reduction in quota share, a blow of around £25 million.

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The share in prawn stocks will also be cut 14 percent by 2026, a loss of £7.2 million, while Irish vessels are set to lose £5.4million over the loss of whitefish in the Celtic Sea, the Irish Sea and off the coast of Western Scotland.

The Irish government report states that 105 different fish stocks were included in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“For 41 of these stocks, the UK’s share will remain unchanged from its current relative stability share,” it reads.

“For eight stocks there is no transition period and the new UK quota shares, it is understood, apply from 2021.

“For the remaining stocks, 60 percent of the transition to the new shares occurs in 2021, followed by 70 percent in 2022, 80 percent in 2023 and 92 percent in 2024. By 2025, the transition to the new quota share is complete.”

Only France is expected to be hit harder by the post-Brexit changes to fishing quotas.

While French boats are losing less in quota share, the financial blow is substantially larger than any other EU state.

France is left with a black hole of around £45 million to gap up for in lost opportunities in British waters.

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Brussels has announced it will spend £534million of the so-called Brexit Adjustment Reserve on helping its fishermen adjust to losing out on quotas in UK waters.

The £4.5billion war chest was introduced to help countries adjust to the new trading realities they face because of Britain’s exit.

Dublin announced it would spend most of its allowance, almost £1 billion, on its fisheries and agri-food industries.

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Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney praised eurocrats for ensuring Dublin is handed the largest sum from the fund.

He said: “I’m pleased to announce that a proposal has been made on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR). The BAR is valued at €5.4billion (£4.7billion).

“Ireland’s initial proposed allocation for 2021 is €1.051billion or 25 percent of the fund.

“I hope the European Parliament and Council will now approve as we continue to work through Brexit.”

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