Brexit and the Northern Ireland Fishing Sector
Northern Ireland needs a co-designed common framework for a world-leading, ecosystem based sustainable fisheries management system and marine conservation for NI and the UK, supported by fit-for-purpose legislation and cross-sectoral active stakeholder participation.
- The sustainability of commercial fish stocks and our fishing industry is inextricably linked to the health of the wider marine environment; however, NI faces challenges as a result of Brexit relating to marine resource management and the restoration of our environment.
- Brexit provides an opportunity to develop a world-leading sustainable fisheries management system using the ecosystem based approach as obligated to do through UK legislation and international conventions.
- The marine environment – including its commercial fish stocks – is a dynamic system that does not respect borders; NI must achieve cooperative management of shared stocks with Ireland and the rest of the UK to avoid negative environmental consequences.
- We must secure and guarantee sources of funding for nature conservation and developing and supporting world leading techniques for sustainable fisheries management to replace that previously supported through EU funding programmes such as EMFF, LIFE+ and INTERREG.
- We must maintain, and where appropriate enhance, existing legislation relating to marine nature protection and environmental governance as the UK leaves the EU which addresses the transboundary issues. As well as this, we must ensure that there is resources for independent monitoring and compliance in place.
- Complete an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas within NI waters to protect and restore important areas of our marine environment – with effective management plans in place for all areas.