With the deadline approaching for Ireland’s fleet decommissioning scheme, almost 60 applications had been submitted by the start of November, reports Lorna Siggins.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), which is administering the scheme for the EU and Irish government, said it had received 36 applications by 1 November, and had a further 21 applications ‘in preparation’.

The closing date for applications is 18 November.

The €80m scheme, comprising €60m in direct payments and €20m in tax adjustments, is funded from the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

It was established to buy out Irish vessel owners affected by loss of quotas due to the Brexit Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA).

Loss of access by Irish vessels to key stocks including mackerel and prawns has been estimated at €43m, amounting to a quarter of the EU transfer to Britain when it left the EU.

While Ireland’s marine minister Charlie McConalogue has pledged to push for burden sharing and a better quota deal, the decommissioning scheme has moved apace.

A target of scrapping 60 vessels to ensure the remaining fleet is viable was recommended in the Irish government’s Seafood Task Force report. While the number of applications is now approaching that figure, no offers have as yet been issued.

Irish South and East Fishermen’s Organisation chief executive John Lynch said: “We won’t know the true figure until we see the take-up on offers.”

Some vessels may be worth more on the open market than if they were scrapped, he pointed out.

The decommissioning scheme is offering applicants a basic payment of €3,600 per gross tonne (GT), and a ‘catch incentive premium’ of up to €8,400 per GT for quota species covered under the TCA.

This will be calculated by indexing total vessel landings of quota stocks against the maximum total landings of quota stocks by any one vessel within each segment.

As yet, there has been no government move on introducing fuel subsidies for the Irish fleet, in contrast to subsidies introduced in other EU member states.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


Subscribe to Fishing News magazine today; never miss an issue and save 55%!