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‘Hands off our fish’ - MEP issues warning to Nordic countries

Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has warned of further attempts by Nordic countries to seek greater access to Ireland’s fish stock.

He made the comments following a recent meeting with the Taoiseach and representatives of the Irish fishing sector.

Michael Treacy, EU Advisor to the IFPO and IFPEA; An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; Manus Boyle of Killybegs Stevedoring; Colm Markey MEP (FG); Brendan Byrne, CEO of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA); and Aodh O Donnell, CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO)

Markey - who sits on the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, - said Ireland must stand its ground during negotiations on 2024 fishing opportunists, which get underway shortly.

“The main EU fishing currency is access and there are indications that some member states are leaning towards negotiating with Iceland and the Faroe Islands regarding access to EU waters. The Nordic countries are interested in valuable mackerel in Irish waters while the EU would seek cod and capelin in return. Ireland must stand firm and ensure we don’t lose out”, he commented.

It comes after Norway unsuccessfully sought unfettered access to Irelands’ blue whiting grounds.

“Earlier this year Norway behaved like a rouge state by demanding Ireland’s blue whiting while doing deals with Russia. The reality is these countries are not members of the EU and Ireland is which makes it even more imperative for our voice to be heard.

Ireland bore the brunt of quota cuts after Brexit and any further losses would be catastrophic. With recent deals between Norway and the UK, the issue of access to Irish waters is now very much back on the table. We need to be vigilant and tell the Nordic countries to keep their hands off our fish”, he added.

Markey concluded, “I recently held a very productive meeting with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and representatives of the Irish fishing sector in which this issue was discussed. I also called for an extension to the Brexit Adjustment Reserve to allow more Irish projects to receive funding. It would be disastrous to send a cheque back to Brussels simply because of tight deadlines. The Taoiseach has committed to look into the matter and I’m grateful for his support”.