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The Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO) has welcomed the announcement of over €25m in EU aid to the Irish pelagic sector.

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €25.6 million Irish scheme to compensate owners of certain vessels for losses of turnover experienced in 2021 and 2022 because of reduced mackerel quota following Brexit. The aid will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will run until 31 December 2023.

IFPO chief executive, Aodh O Donnell described it as an important “first step” in addressing the massive losses the sector sustained due to Brexit.

“Quota transfers from Ireland to the UK post Brexit created an estimated loss of €28 a year to the Irish fishing industry. Most of this loss was sustained by the pelagic sector, so this aid scheme is a welcome first measure in compensating the fleet for this massive loss.”

Mr O Donnell said the scheme has been in the pipeline for some time and that Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue had made a commitment to introduce it. The State aid scheme will be fully funded by the European Commission and will take the form of direct grants to fishing vessels.

The measure is planned to be financed under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, established to mitigate the economic and social impact of Brexit, subject to approval under the specific provisions governing funding from that instrument.

Mr O’Donnell added: “The next step is just as important however. The Irish Government needs to collaborate with our fishing industry, coastal communities and the EU to reverse the decline in the seafood sector. Other EU and non-EU members in Europe are achieving growth and it’s time we support growth too. We need to build the capacity for sustainable growth with a modern fleet, a skilled workforce and efficient regulatory processes.”