23rd July

Ireland’s fishing industry today

Ashley Hayden

A passionate seafood consumer with roots firmly embedded in the marine, I read with interest the interview with BIM’s Michael Keatinge in the February issue of Inshore Ireland. Both sides of my family hail from Greystones in Co. Wicklow. My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Willie Redmond, a master craftsman, built wooden clinker design boats, and along with his sons fished the inshore grounds south of Bray Head side-by-side with my father and his brothers. Using traditional methods they long-lined, trammel netted, and potted what were prolific fishing grounds for a host of whitefish species that included large cod and plaice, mackerel, crab, and lobster.

Read more: Ireland’s fishing industry today

Is the Commission’s stance on fish discarding a kneejerk reaction?

At a specially convened meeting of EU member states, Maria Damanaki,  European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, starkly  told delegates she considered the practice of fish discarding ‘unethical, a waste of natural resources and a waste of fishermen’s effort’.

And she added that if 2004 FAO estimates of 7.3  million tonnes or 8% of the total fish catches being discarded was not striking to some members, ‘European fisheries are doing much worse than the global average,’ where discarding in the whitefish fishery is up to 50 per cent and 70 per cent in the flatfish fishery.

The practice of 'slipping' at sea. The net is never taken from the water - it is simply opened to release the fish, the majority of which are already dead. These fish are not accounted for and the extent of the damage is unknown

The net is never taken from the water - it is simply opened to release the fish, the majority of which are already dead. These fish are not accounted for and the extent of the damage is unknown

‘If we continue with our policy, then we will soon face a situation where the production capacity of marine ecosystems is at risk,’ she warned.

Outlining her basic ideas, Commissioner Damanaki said the approach should be gradual, ‘starting with pelagic fisheries and then to cover a few important demersal mixed fisheries after a short phase in period. The list of species covered could be enlarged year by year,’ she explained.

Read more: Is the Commission’s stance on fish discarding a kneejerk reaction?

A case of protecting votes at all costs?

Draft-netting on the Laune Estuary, Kilorglin, Co Kerry. All commercial fishing should be confined to estuaries, not common estuaries. Photo Martin O'Farrell

Draft-netting on the Laune Estuary, Kilorglin, Co Kerry. All commercial fishering should be confined to estuaries - not common estuaries. Photo Martin O'Farrell

Martin O’Farrell

It is now proposed to commence a ‘pilot’ salmon fishery to exploit salmon returning to the Laune and Maine rivers which discharge to Dingle Bay via Castlemaine Harbour. It is also likely that adult salmon returning to the nearby Caragh and Behy rivers will be exploited in this fishery. All salmon harvested will be scientifically examined by State personnel who will police the pilot fishery.

At a time when economic gloom is all around us and Atlantic salmon populations are at an all time low, this initiative proposes to target an initial quota of 800 fish. Each fish will be typed genetically and its river of origin will be determined. It is hoped that most of the 800 will be Laune fish as this catchment has been assessed by the Standing Scientific Committee (SSC) of the former National Salmon Commission as being well above conservation limits.

Read more: A case of protecting votes at all costs?

Rhetoric or real? The price of Ireland’s entry to the EU

The appointment of Dr Noel Crawley to oversee a stakeholder consultation process that will feed into Ireland’s submission to the Green Paper on the Common Fisheries Policy marks the first step in a lengthy debate that will culminate in 2013.

At a Council of Ministers meeting, Brendan Smith TD, Minister at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, told his European colleagues that Irish fishermen remained “aggrieved” at the share of fish stocks Ireland received when the first CFP was put in place.

“There will need to be recognition of this reality as the background to this reform process,” he said.

Read more: Rhetoric or real? The price of Ireland’s entry to the EU

Scallops: safe and sustainable from tide to table

Irish seafood is renowned for its delicious, nutritious quality. As the competent authority for the enforcement of sea-fisheries law and food safety law, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) works to ensure the sustainability of these stocks and also to promote food safety in the seafood sector.

The latest SFPA Consumer Advice leaflet on Irish scallops advises consumers on the safe choosing and handling of scallops and along with the SFPA’s additional consumer advice leaflets on smoked salmon and brown crab it is available from www.sfpa.ie or any SFPA office.

Read more: Scallops: safe and sustainable from tide to table

Stakeholders must be central to a reformed Common Fisheries Policy

The EU Commission decision in April to adopt a Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy has been welcomed, if cautiously, by the Federation of Irish Fishermen.

Proceedings from the organisation’s review seminar in October notes starkly: ‘Ireland had put consideratble effort into previous CFP reviews, but the the outcome never met expectations which led FIF to think a new approach was needed when structuring.'

5.4 interview SOD

Sean O'Donoghue, CEO of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation and FiF's current chairman

A key player representing Ireland in the complex intra-community horse-trading now well underway is Sean O’Donoghue, CEO of the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation and FIF’s current chairman.

A veteran of fisheries management who worked in the Department of the Marine and for BIM for over twenty years before taking over the KFO helm in 2000, few would match his grasp of the complexities of the CFP reform discussions.

Read more: Stakeholders must be central to a reformed Common Fisheries Policy

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