STATE AID APPROVAL FOR LIQUIDITY AID FOR THE IRISH SCALLOP FLEET
State Aid approval for liquidity aid for the Irish Scallop Fleet. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, has announced a €560,000 support package for the Irish scallop fleet segment of 22-28m that targets scallop in the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, and the English Channel.
Minister McConalogue said:
“I am pleased to announce that I have secured €560,000 State Aid approval for support for this segment of the Irish scallop fleet. The Specific Scallop Fleet Transition Support Scheme recognises that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) while directly impacting quota species, has also indirectly impacted non-quota species such as the scallop sector, which has been significantly affected by reductions in fishing time and logistical issues related to landed catch.”
Prior to Brexit, scallop caught in the English Channel were landed into the UK and shipped directly back to Ireland for processing. These processed scallops were then re-exported to other EU countries. Post-Brexit, as a consequence of the TCA, these operators now face significant additional logistical and administrative burdens, with associated additional costs.
On average the days at sea fished by this fleet segment has reduced from 217 days in the period 2018-2020 to 142 days in 2021, a reduction of 34%. This has resulted in reductions in average turnover of €227,000 (37%) across the fleet segment. This represents an averaged loss of 37.5% between trips now landed on the continent compared to previous trips which were being landed in the UK.
The Minister continued:
“In that context I consider it appropriate to put in place a short-term liquidity aid scheme covering losses incurred by this segment during the 2021 scallop season due to reductions in fishing time, which have led to reduced turnover.”
The scheme will be open to owners of vessels in the specific scallop segment and aims to partially offset losses incurred by the sector due to the TCA during 2021 compared to 2018-2020. To be eligible for funding, vessel owner(s)/company must have suffered a 30% or more reduction in turnover over in 2021 compared to the period 2018-2020 as a direct result of Brexit. Payments will be based on the per days at sea lost in 2021 compared to the period 2018-2020, up to a maximum of 20 days or €80,000 per vessel.
The Minister concluded:
“I am confident this support of up to €80,000 per eligible vessel will assist this segment of the Irish scallop fleet to consider all options to restructure and adapt to the issues created by Brexit in the scallop fishery.”
Scheme information, once launched, will be available on BIMs website at https://bim.ie/brexit-hub/the-brexit-adjustment-reserve-fund/