Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Fisheries inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published on Saturday 15 September 2018. Government Response published on Thursday 13 December 2018.

Report published

The inquiry will looked at the implications of Brexit for the fishing industry in Northern Ireland.

The sea fishing sector in Northern Ireland employs over 850 people. In terms of ports, the boats which constitute the sea fishing industry are mainly located in the three County Down fishing villages of Portavogie, Kilkeel and Ardglass. Based on 2015 figures, Ardglass and Kilkeel are within the UK’s top 20 ports for tonnage of fish landed. The Northern Ireland fishing fleet is predominantly focussed on the catching of prawn. The total value of fish landed in Northern Ireland’s three primary fishing ports amounted to £20.8 million in 2015.

Fisheries management is a devolved matter. However, the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has provided a common framework for fisheries management across the Devolved Nations. The CFP’s main policy areas are; fisheries management, funding for fishing communities, market organisation and import tariffs.

The Government’s decision to withdraw from the CFP, the London Fisheries Convention and the EU raises important questions about the future of the fishing industry.

Terms of Reference

  • What opportunities and challenges will Northern Ireland face from leaving the Common Fisheries Policy?
  • How would the imposition of export tariffs affect the fisheries industry in Northern Ireland?
  • To what extent is EU market access dependent on the UK retaining EU fisheries regulation?
  • How should the UK Government manage its fishery resources after Brexit?
  • How should scientific data on the sustainability of fish stocks be gathered in future?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages European Maritime and Fisheries Fund? How could funding of fishing communities be improved?
  • To what extent do international agreements limit the UK’s freedom to change fisheries policy?
  •  How will Brexit affect the management of Carlingford, Strangford and Foyle Loughs?
  • What are the consequences of leaving the London Fisheries Convention for Northern Ireland?
  • What effect will Brexit have on the future of the Voisinage Agreement? To what extent can the UK develop bi-lateral fishing arrangements with Ireland?
  • How will regulatory divergence from the Common Fisheries Policy affect management of common fishing stocks?
  • How should the interests of the fishing industry in Northern Ireland be represented in the negotiations? 


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