Trawler owners to be paid up to €88,700 to not fish under new deal

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Trawler owners are to be paid up to €88,700 to not fish, under a new €10 million plan formally launched by the Government.

The Brexit Temporary Fleet Tie-up Scheme will see boats between 24 meters and 40 meters paid the top rate while those between 22 meters and 24 meters will get €59,000.

Smaller fees will apply to smaller ships over five lower scales, with boats under 10 meters getting €4,600 each.

If every boat eligible for the EU-approved State aid scheme applies for it, it will cost €10m.

The scheme is designed to help mitigate against the impacts of quota cuts on the fishing fleet arising from the post-Brexit deal, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement agreed in December between the European Union and the UK.

Ireland is set to lose 26,412 tonnes of quota – the amount of fish the EU says Irish fishers can catch – per year on a phased basis up to 2026, valued at around €43m.

The scheme delivers on a recommendation of the Seafood Sector Task Force in its June 2021 Interim Report and is targeted at whitefish vessels in the Polyvalent and Beam Trawl segments.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said: “Quota cuts affect many of our most valuable fish stocks and have significant impacts for incomes in our fishing fleet in 2021.

“The scheme I am launching will invite vessels in the polyvalent and beam trawl segments to tie-up for a one-month period during October to December 2021.” 

He said that under the deal, these boats would tie-up at the quayside and cease all fishing activity for that month.

In return, the vessel owner would receive a payment compensating for the lost fishing income.

The vessel owners will in turn be required to distribute one-third of that payment to crew.

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