Five Irish fishing producing and processing seafood organisations have come together to demand change at national and EU level.

The Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation (KFO), the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WPO), the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (IS&EPO), and the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) have combined to raise awareness of the challenges facing the fishing sectors.

The organisations say they have ‘committed to work closely together in a more formalised relationship to enhance their collective effectiveness as sectoral representatives by presenting a united front.

‘Our objective is to work together on raising awareness of critical challenges impacting the sector at both national and EU level’, they said in their statement.

Dominic Rihan, CEO of the KFO describes this as a “a first step in a fast-track process towards a more focused and coherent united approach.”

He said this was to best represent their membership at both catching and onshore processing segments.

“We want to develop a national perspective and map a sustainable future for the sector that supports our coastal communities.

“The Irish fishing industry has been dealt a hammer blow by Brexit on top of the CFP, which is now outdated.

“Therefore, this systematic engagement will help to drive and deliver positive change but is reliant on proactive engagement at national and EU Level,” said Mr Rihan.

Aodh O Donnell CEO of the IFPO says the need for improved co-operation is imperative.

“Together, we can start a comprehensive wide ranging industry engagement.

“It is heartening to have cohesion and commitment to a plan that will strategically drive us forward.”

“The situation is changing rapidly.

“We each have a responsibility to mediate, and to deliver better outcomes on a shared basis for our sector that is at a critical juncture.

“The work plan we agreed prioritises the re-establishing of an effective liaison process with the Marine Minister and his Department officials.”

John Lynch CEO of the IS&EPO said he was confident that the organisations have a shared view of the essentials to deliver for our members.

“This is a significant step forward and together we will make progress to advance the sector. Positive change can be achieved if we put our shoulder to the wheel as an aligned group.”

Brendan Byrne CEO of the IFPEA says his organisation is supportive of this move to develop appropriate collaborative strategies.

“Having a road map is useful to move forward.

“A key outcome is a consensus agreement on the challenges we face in post Brexit and the need to radically reform the Common Fisheries Policy.

“The support of the Minister and his team will be key to developing a strategic approach,” said Mr Byrne.

Patrick Murphy CEO of the IS&WPO says the move to unite efforts and initiatives is long overdue.

“Collectively we have a broad set of shared experiences and capacities.

“We have been very adversely hit by external factors such as Brexit and the reduction in quotas in recent years.

“Improved, effective engagement with the Minister and the EU at policy level is a starting point in our aligned workplan,” said Mr Murphy.