Navigating Change – The way forward for our Seafood Sector in the wake of Brexit

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue established the Seafood Task Force in March 2021 to examine the impact on the fishing sector and coastal communities of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. They issued their final report to Minister McConalogue at the start of October.

The establishment of the Seafood Sector Task Force is an Action in the Department’s Action Plan 2021 under the Strategic Goal to ‘Deliver a sustainable, competitive and innovative seafood sector, driven by a skilled workforce, delivering value added products in line with consumer demand’.

The Report acknowledges that Brexit has had a negative impact generally on aquaculture. However, the Task Force notes that with the correct supports the potential for this sector to provide ’employment and sustainable economic development’.

Both EU and national policy recognises the opportunity
for farmed seafood to provide protein with a low environmental footprint as part of sustainable food
system. To realise this potential, it will be necessary to continue to build resilience and
competitiveness in the sector, further transition into more sustainable production practices, ensure
social acceptance and increase innovation.

The Task Force recommends that up to €60 million in grant aid should be made available to the sector to invest in modernizing farms in line with best practice, to increase efficiency and to reduce environmental impact. They also feel that investment in recognizing market opportunities and innovation capability are extremely important for the industry.

The full report can be read online here: Seafood Task Force Report

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