Ireland South MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for the full restoration of Ireland’s exclusive 200 nautical mile zone in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after it was announced that the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, on which she is a rapporteur, would include financial support for people in the sector effected by Britain crashing out of the EU in March.
“It is only fair that Irish fishermen should be eligible for compensation if the British government blocks access to its fishing waters in the event of a no deal Brexit,” she said.
“I am delighted with the change to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to include financial support to coastal communities and fishermen in the event of no deal Brexit, something I have been fighting for consistently as a contingency measure since the outcome of the referendum.
“It’s important that this contingency plan takes effect immediately if the Britain leaves the EU without agreeing a withdrawal deal by 29 March.
“What also needs to be guaranteed is the prevention of a mass influx of foreign EU fishing vessels into Irish waters following a no deal Brexit. We already have numerous problems with the foreign vessels who enter Irish waters, from illegal shark finning to supertrawlers and a significant increase in such activities will destroy our indigenous industry.
“It is also important that mutual beneficial and fair reciprocal access is given between fishermen in the north of Ireland and the south, especially given the disputed status of Carlingford and Foyle loughs. Irish fishermen, wherever they’re from, must be able to continue fishing for stocks such as mackerel and nephrops.
“Fishermen have every right to be frustrated with the Common Fisheries Policy . The way is has been implemented by national governments, especially in Ireland, has been a disaster, which is why fishermen want to see a 200 nautical mile exclusive zone.
“Ireland should have the same rights as the outermost regions, especially given that after Brexit the closest Member State to Ireland will be France, which is over 1000km away.
“Ireland should have greater or full control over our 200 nautical mile zone.”