Midlands-North-West MEP Colm Markey has said the 6 billion euro European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2021-2027 will provide a much-needed boost to the Irish fishing industry but more action is needed to address major challenges as a result of Brexit.
Ireland is to receive some €142 million from the new fund, to be combined with co-funding from the Government. The new EMFAF will have a particular focus on supporting the specific needs of small-scale coastal fisheries and encourage more environmentally friendly fishing.
Speaking after MEPs adopted the EMFAF in Strasbourg this evening (Tuesday July 6th), the Fine Gael MEP said the fund is just one-step in reviving the Irish fishing sector after a difficult few years.
“It’s a very challenging environment for the Irish fishing sector following quota cuts as a result of Brexit and I acknowledge the huge difficulties facing the fishing community. This €142 million, along with a substantial amount of funding from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, is the first step is addressing these challenges. However, it is crucial that the EU/UK Specialised Committee on Fisheries is established as soon as possible. This Committee, along with the ongoing work of the Irish Seafood Sector Task Force, will address some of the wider issues facing coastal communities. Fishermen can be assured they’re not being ignored and all options are being discussed to revive the industry.”
The Midlands-North-West MEP concluded by welcoming the shift towards sustainable fishing under the EMFAF.
“The fund will help make fishing vessels safer and more environmentally friendly. It will also promote generational renewal in the profession, support the specific needs of small-scale coastal fisheries through more simplified administrative requirements and provide compensation in case of temporary cessation of fishing activities. Overall, it will ensure food security through the supply of seafood products, help grow the blue economy and lead to sustainably managed seas and oceans. ”