The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, today (Monday, January 18) announced designation of five additional Irish ports for UK registered Northern Ireland vessel landings for both llegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) and North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) purposes.

The five new ports designated are Ros a Mhíl in Co. Galway; Howth, Co. Dublin; Greencastle, Rathmullan and Burtonport in Co. Donegal, which join Killybegs, Co. Donegal and Castletownbere, Co. Cork which continue to be designated for landings from vessels of any third country origin.

The minister has confirmed that he is working to make sure the necessary notifications and requirements are in place to have these ports operational from Monday February 1, 2021.

New designations

Under the new designations Ros a Mhíl and Howth will be able to accommodate landings of demersal fish from vessels under 24 metres and will operate Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 10:00pm.

Greencastle, Rathmullan and Burtonport will be designated for non-quota species landings from vessels under 18 metres and will operate from 2:00pm to 8:00pm from Monday to Friday.

From January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom is a third country and subject to IUU legislation and NEAFC requirements.

This means that any UK, including Northern Ireland, registered vessels must comply with third country landing requirements when landing in the EU, including Irish ports.

It is a direct result of Brexit and is included in the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland.

Brexit agreement

Up until a conclusion of an agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU on Christmas Eve, it remained unclear whether Northern Ireland vessels that had access to Irish waters would continue to do so.

The minister commented: “this is an important decision which will allow fishers in small vessels to continue their livelihoods in a safe manner.

Following Brexit, it is important now more than ever, to support our fishers and fishing communities and to do all we can do help them continue their livelihoods.

Any UK Northern Ireland registered boats landing into any of the seven Irish ports will have to comply with additional documentary and procedural requirements than before Brexit.

Designation of ports is within the state’s authority, but all requirements and protocols are subject to EU and international law and must be strictly adhered to to gain entry to ports.