The Irish fishing industry could potentially see a huge slump in some fish quotas if the UK prevails in its ambitions in the Brexit fisheries negotiations, according to an Irish government analysis, seen by RTÉ News.
Quotas for meghrim and monkfish could fall by up 67% and 64% respectively, while cod and haddock could both fall by 48%. The whiting quota for the Irish fleet could fall by 40%, the analysis suggests.
The analysis comes amid conflicting reports over whether or not the EU will relax its red lines on fisheries.
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been holding a video conference with ministers from key fishing states, including Ireland, ahead of the next round of negotiations between the EU and UK next week.
Sources have suggested member states will strongly urge Mr Barnier not to give ground on the EU's key demands on fisheries.
However, Reuters reported this morning that the EU was prepared to shift its "maximalist" approach on the sector.
The EU has said it will not conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK unless there is a separate agreement which grants continued access for European fleets to UK waters.
Britain has insisted that as it is leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) it will resume control over the quotas in its waters, which historically have been accessed by European fleets.
However, the EU has insisted that member states should still enjoy the same access to UK waters as they do at present.
The mandate approved by member states in February says the final deal should "build on existing reciprocal access conditions, [and] quota shares…" and that there should be "continued reciprocal access, for all relevant species, by [European] Union and United Kingdom vessels…"
UK officials have insisted that European vessels will not be allowed to catch the same quotas they do at present.
Under the CFP, EU member states enjoyed access to UK waters based on what they regarded as historical fishing rights, sometimes going back centuries.
The method of sharing out quotas, known as Relative Stability, has evolved since the 1970s.
British fishing organisations have long complained that Relative Stability unfairly discriminated against UK fishing communities in favour of continental European ones.
As such, UK negotiators want to abandon Relative Stability in favour of what is called Zonal Attachment, a method of determining where certain species live, breed and spawn, using deeper scientific data, and which would essentially permit the UK to catch more of the fish in British territorial waters.
Some EU sources have dismissed Zonal Attachment as a "quota grab" by the UK.
Following the last negotiating round, which concluded on 15 May, Mr Barnier signalled there had been some movement on fisheries.
He told a news conference that Zonal Attachment was "one element" in a potential solution, but not "the only element."
While Mr Barnier has signalled that Zonal Attachment could play a part in the future arrangement, member states appear to have hardened their position.
It is understood they were due to tell Mr Barnier during today's meeting to stick to the mandate member states gave him before the negotiations started.