'Outrageous!' EU threatens to 'plunder' fish just miles from UK waters amid bid to strike deal with Iceland

'Outrageous!' EU threatens to 'plunder' fish just miles from UK waters amid bid to strike deal with Iceland

WATCH: Nigel Farage visits Hull to talk about how the fishing sector has changed

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 22/12/2023

- 09:52

Updated: 22/12/2023

- 10:22

Critics have expressed fears about sustainability as Iceland has a huge fishing industry

The EU is set to finalise a deal with Iceland to allow access to waters just miles away from the UK.

Irish fishing officials have expressed their concerned that negotiations are underway and may be near finalisation without their input or adequate consultation.

Despite not being in the EU, Iceland wants to catch valuable blue whiting in Irish waters that are not available in Iceland’s own extensive waters.

The fish is abundant and sustainably managed in Irish waters. However, allowing access to another non-EU country has sparked concerns about livelihood and sustainability.

Fish in a bucket

'No justice': EU threatens to 'plunder' fish just miles from UK waters amid bid to strike deal with Iceland


CEO of the Irish Fish Processors Organisation Aodh O’Donnell said: "We fear that this give away of more foreign access to Irish waters is being agreed behind closed doors. There is a lack of clarity and Christmas is upon us, and we are very concerned.

"From what we hear, Iceland is in advanced consultation with the EU to grant them access to Irish waters to catch an enormous tonnage of blue whiting. Iceland has a highly developed fishing industry with strong interest by other European states.

"It’s a massive fishing fleet including factory ships that will covet our stock. There is no justice in allocating them rights to fish in our waters.

"The EU already threw Ireland under the bus when it came to Brexit as we took the hardest hits.

"As a result of that disastrous transfer of Irish fishing quotas to the UK, Ireland has decommissioned 39 vessels and downsized our national fleet.

"Now, we find ourselves again in an unbelievable situation in granting a third country access whilst Ireland’s small fleet and onshore factories struggle with reduced fishing quotas."


Icelandic boats

Icelandic fishers are hoping to start fishing in the Irish ocean


The Fishing Daily reports that the proposed deal for Iceland to fish blue whiting stocks in Irish waters would benefit Iceland to the value of €22.5million (£19.5million), with no reciprocal benefit for Ireland.

Brendan Byrne of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) said: "The deal as it stands is nothing less than outrageous.

"It must be put on ice so that Ireland can avail on a compensatory transfer of quota from Iceland in lieu of access.

"We call on the Minister to make it clear that there will be no agreement without consultation, transparency, and reciprocity."

Officials have appealed to ministers to block the initiative and ensure a better arrangement is made.

O’Donnell added: "We aim to work in harmony with other member states, but we will not stand by and watch more plundering of our rich maritime resources by another non-EU country.

"We fail to understand why our Minister and his officials are hastening an agenda driven by the EU Commission and to the benefit of Iceland as a non-EU member.

"Why have we not learned lessons from the past?"

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