Waterford Sinn Fein councillor Pat Fitzgerald says the fishing industry has lost it’s key negotiating ally, after it was announced that the UK is to pull out of an agreement that allows Ireland to fish in British waters.
Withdrawal from the London Fisheries Convention, which was signed in 1964 before the UK joined the EU, will take two years.
Under the deal, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are permitted to fish within 6 and 12 nautical miles of the coastline.
The British Environment Minister George Eustice says it will be an important factor in Brexit negotiations.
In a statement, Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Michael Creed has said the news is “unwelcome and unhelpful” and poses a “very serious challenges to the seafood sector and this announcement will form part of the negotiations”.
Response to U.K. announcement on withdrawal from London Fisheries Convention pic.twitter.com/tMyrUH2q3N
— Michael Creed TD (@creedcnw) July 2, 2017
Councillor Fitzgerald says the announcement by the British Environment Minister was coming and that there’s “probably worse to come” as far as the impact on the Irish industry is concerned.
“I believe that the British fishing sector would be applauding their government’s stand on this,” he says. “Really this is what Brexit was all about, regaining control of their national territory and fisheries.”
Councillor Fitzgerald says it’s time the Irish public were educated about what the potential ramifications could be.
“It’s not only something that is going to affect the fishing industry, but all our coastal communities and every citizen of this country is going to be poorer if we lose access to our sea area.”