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A total of 39 Irish fishing vessels will be scrapped as part of a Brexit-related decommissioning scheme.

The Brexit Voluntary Permanent Cessation Scheme was announced in 2021 and supports vessels in the polyvalent and beam trawl segments to permanently cease all fishing activity.

The aim is to reduce the number of vessels competing for a reduced fish quota post-Brexit.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara, which is administering the scheme confirmed that a total of 39 vessels will be decommissioned. To date 36 have been scrapped and a further 3 will be scrapped before the deadline of 31 October.

Work on scrapping these vessels has been under way at a number of ports in recent months.

Aodh O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation said that the decommissioning “is a terrible blow to the Irish fishing industry and to small fishing communities”.

He said: “We estimate that the industry here will be losing up to €43m a year due to reduced quotas after Brexit. We are the worst EU affected country because of the deal,” Mr O’Donnell claimed.

He added: “39 boats scrapped will result in less employment opportunities in these communities and less income from fishing. It’s a terrible blow and a big sacrifice that the fishing industry has made due to Brexit.”

Bord Iascaigh Mhara said that the 39 vessels have a combined gross tonnage of 6,300 GT, representing 80% of the original target of the scheme of 8,000.

The total cost of the decommissioning scheme is expected to be in the region of €60m.