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Blair says there needs to be a focus on softening impact of Brexit on fishing industry

Alliance Rural Affairs spokesperson John Blair MLA has said there needs to be a focus on the future of the fishing industry here to ensure those involved aren't punished by Brexit.

Mr Blair was speaking after receiving a briefing on the consultation on the Fisheries Bill by the Northern Ireland Office.

"Under the current system, the EU allocates fishing quotas, however, following Brexit the UK Government has indicated a move towards 'zonal attachment'. That will involve quotas being determined by the regional assemblies," he said.

"With the lack of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly, the question remains how the situation will be resolved for the local fishing industry. The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee recently described the fishing industry as having great people and huge potential but being fragile. We have heard from many involved in it how Brexit will already hit them hard, so it is essential we try to soften that impact.

"This is one of the many everyday issues which are in danger of passing under the radar in relation to Brexit. It is people's livelihoods we are talking about here. The UK Government needs to outline urgently how it is going to resolve this matter so the fishing industry in Northern Ireland does not lose out."