Minister McConalogue meets seafood sector organisations on impacts of energy costs and discusses EU fisheries negotiations on quota setting for 2023

Minister Charlie McConalogue today met representatives of the broad seafood sector covering the fishing fleet, aquaculture and processing.  The organisations at the meeting were the Irish South and East Fish Producer Organisation, the Irish Fish Producer Organisations, the Irish South and West Fishermen’s Organisation, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, Irish Island’s Marine Resource Producer Organisation, National Inshore Fisheries Forum, Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Organisation and IFA Aquaculture.  Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and the Marine Institute also attended. 

The Minister provided an update on progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the Seafood Task Force.

Minister McConalogue said “I set out how each of the main support schemes recommended by the Seafood Task Force are progressing including the €24 million voluntary tie up scheme for the fishing fleet which continues to the end of November, the €60m voluntary decommissioning scheme which commenced in early September, the €45m processing capital, the €20m aquaculture growth schemes which opened at the end of August and the €25m Blue Economy Enterprise Scheme and the Fisheries Co-operative Transition Scheme. I listened to the requests from the sector to progress quickly the remaining schemes provided for in the Task Force report and I undertook to work to progress consideration of these proposals with Department of Public Expenditure and the EU State Aid approval processes.” 

The seafood sector also explained the challenges they are facing with the high cost of fuel and energy prices and asked for additional supports across all elements of the sector.   The Minister said “I am very aware of the challenges being faced by the seafood sector arising from the increased costs of marine fuel and of energy.   I advised that I have made clear the position that the seafood sector must be supported under any business supports provided in the upcoming Budget. I also undertook to continue to monitor the situation and in particular the fuel costs, which have stabilised albeit at a higher level than Quarter 1 2022 prices.  The current ongoing extensive supports under the Task Force are targeted at addressing the impacts of Brexit taking account of the current situation. I will continue to monitor and assess the situation over the coming period and keep all available options under active consideration.“

There was an in-depth discussion on the upcoming negotiations with the UK on setting whitefish quotas for 2023 and negotiations with the maritime states of the UK, Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland on the management, sharing and quota setting for the mackerel stock and arrangements for the Blue Whiting fishery in 2023.