23rd July

Fishermen's Forum: call for expressions of interest

Ireland's fishing industry is to establish a forum to provide a discussion platform on key issues relating to operations and best practices, and for dissseminating information and resolving issues affecting their day to day work.

Promoting a positive image of the fishing industry to the general public is a also a key objective.

Castletownbere Howth

Fisheries Forum will provide a platform for fishermen from all sectors: pelagic, polyvalent, inshore

The Forum will comprise representatives from the four Producer Organisations (KFO, IFPO, ISWFPO, ISEFPO); the inshore sector through the National Inshore Fishermen's forum (NIFF) and from the wider fishing industry not represented by the POs or the NIFF.

Read more: Fishermen's Forum: call for expressions of interest

Irish Sea Portal pilot project for scientific research

Scientific information compiled by Irish and Welsh researchers and hosted on a portal, is set to benefit the mussel industry of both countries.

The €1.4m pilot project coordinated by Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency (BIM) and the Centre for Applied Marine Sciences at Bangor University in Wales, will test the feasibility of a larger repository by initially focussing on shared information on seed mussel along with the latest data on the location of shellfish seed sites to broaden the understanding of shellfish larvae movement.

This information is essential for sustainable development of the mussel industry.

Irish Sea Portal

Ben Dallaghan, GIS Officer, BIM, the Seafood Development Agency, Hugh Doyle, mussel farmer from Wexford and Dr. Shelagh Malham, Centre for Applied Marine Sciences, Bangor University, Wales

The economic benefit of aquaculture and fisheries in the Irish Sea is valued at €254m (€58m to Wales; €196m to Ireland) of which the mussel industry is a major component. According to BIM figures, 2016 was a ‘challenging year’. Production volumes of 16,000 tonnes with a value of €12m reflect a slight decline on 2015 values and underpin ongoing challenges for the industry.

Read more: Irish Sea Portal pilot project for scientific research

Seafood standard to drive sustainability

Ireland's Seafood Develoment Agency has launched a certification standard to drive sustainability throughout the fishing industry. The BIM 'Responsibly Sourced Seafood Standard' is a third-party accreditation certifying fishing vessels that adhere to strict criteria regarding care of the catch; traceability and provenance, training, welfare and social sustainability.

FIP 2017

Michael Keatinge, BIM Interim CEO presenting certificates to Greencastle fishermen Patrick McClenaghan, Cyril Harkin and Adrian McClenaghan for their Responsibly Sourced Seafood Standard, at the Skipper Expo, Galway

"The Irish seafood sector and in particular the catching sector understands the ever-increasing need to actively demonstrate their commitment to responsible fishing practices," remarked Michael Keatinge, interim CEO.

Read more: Seafood standard to drive sustainability

Funding for seafood processors and aquaculture sectors

DAFF Logo

Nineteen Irish seafood enterprises are to receive €1.8m in grant aid under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for the seafod sector. 

The programme provides three development schemes that aim to incentivise seafood innovation and new product development; support capital investment in equipment to add value to raw material and assist processors to diversify and develop export markets.

Read more: Funding for seafood processors and aquaculture sectors

Funding to support maritime projects in the southeast

Coastal communities in the southeast of Ireland are to receive €1.68m for projects that add value to seafood products and support maritime activities. The South East FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group) is one of seven nationwide groups co-funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund and administered by BIM.

Flag Southeast 2017

Over 1,200 people are employed in the marine/seafood sector of Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow. Fish landings in Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay - two of the top five ports in Ireland - exceed 10,000 tonnes annually. Other harbours include Wicklow, Arklow, Wexford town and Rosslare Harbour. 

Read more: Funding to support maritime projects in the southeast

Brexit: seafood industry advised to 'prepare for the long haul'

Ireland’s seafood sector faces “unique challenges and must be protected during the Brexit negotiations”.

The key challenge for government will be to ensure that fisheries and seafood concerns are “high on the EU agenda” and not separated from overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.

Oilean an Oir

Oileán an Óir steaming down the Minch loaded with mackerel.                                   Photo John Cunningham 

Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, was addressing a packed gathering of industry and State fisheries and seafood representatives attending a Brexit meeting in Dublin.

Ireland’s seafood sector is a €1bn industry with a first- sale value of €500m, exports worth €560m and employs 11,000 people in mostly remote coastal areas.

Brexit poses a “very particular set of serious threats” over and above trade implications common to most sectors, he added. These concern potential loss of access to fishing grounds in the UK Zone, and possible attempts by the UK to increase its current quota share at the expense of Ireland.

“Any changes to existing rights for the Irish and EU catching sector must be resisted strenuously,” he said.

UK fishing industry hopes to reclaim their waters however may be dashed by a European Parliament opinion. 

FULL STORY INSHORE IRELAND SPRING EDITION  

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