Leas Cheann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the Marine & Fisheries Pat the Cope Gallagher has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to immediately assemble a forum for the marine sector and fish industry in preparation for Brexit.

“I am calling on the Minister to call all stakeholders within the sector together, for all political parties to be included and all those with a vested interest in the marine sector so that we can best prepare for Brexit”, said Pat the Cope.

“With little over 60 days remaining until the March 29th deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU, it is essential that we as a country have a clear and well defined plan for the entire marine sector.

“I am proposing that the Minister and the government agree to assemble a forum comprising of all stakeholders in the marine sector – the various fishing representative bodies, the fish processors, the fish exporters and all political party spokespersons on the marine.

“Should the UK leave without an agreement then the results will be catastrophic for the entire sector.

“The fishing grounds around Ireland and the United Kingdom have been treated as one entity for the past 800 years. Fish at sea recognise no boundaries or jurisdictions and the negotiators must recognise that the marine sector requires flexibility in terms of them being able to catch their allocated quota be that in Irish, Scottish or English waters.

“We must not fail to prepare nor must we fail to engage with the entire marine sector, it is clear thus far that we have failed to engage with the fishing sector in a round table format”.