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Creed launches first Industry-Led Strategy for the Irish Inshore Fisheries Sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, today launched the ‘Strategy for the Irish Inshore Fisheries Sector 2019-2023’ on behalf of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum.  The Strategy will frame the work of the Inshore Fisheries Forums over the next number of years and represents the first time the Inshore Fisheries Sector has developed its own sector-specific plan.

The Strategy sets out a vision for the future of the inshore sector, that it “will have a prosperous and sustainable future delivered through a united industry with a strong and influential voice”.  The Irish inshore sector comprises fishing boats of less than 12 metres in overall length, which are predominately active within six nautical miles of the Irish shore.  These boats, approximately 80% of the Irish fishing fleet, operate from communities all around the Irish coast and support an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 jobs. 

The Strategy presents four Main Themes which cover the Organisation and Profile of the Inshore Sector; the Management of inshore resources; the Infrastructure and Resources available to the inshore sector and the Profitability of the sector.  Specific objectives are set for each of these themes which focus on building the sector up in terms of its own identity including its people, resources and infrastructure to create a strong Inshore Fisheries industry for the future.  Key issues to be addressed through the Strategy include enhancing business skills across the sector, sustainable management of key fish stocks as well as attracting and retaining talent, all with a view to maximising the potential of this sector to support Ireland’s coastal communities.

Launching the Strategy, Minister Creed commented:

“I am delighted to launch this strategy, and I would like to commend the work done by all those involved in developing it, particularly the members of the Inshore Fisheries Forums who contributed to this significant landmark step.  The National Inshore Fisheries Forum has recognised in this Strategy that the Inshore Sector needs a strong sense of identity and that there is strength in building cohesion and working towards common goals.  This Strategy gives them a clear blueprint for the future.”

The development of a strategy for the Irish inshore fisheries sector was identified as a priority by the National Inshore Fisheries Forum in 2017.  The National and Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums were established to facilitate the development of a coherent inshore sector “voice” by encouraging inshore fishermen to discuss their fishing issues and generate commonly-supported initiatives.  Since their inception, the Forums have developed initiatives seeking to protect the future of a sector which is extremely important for Irish coastal communities. 

The Strategy was developed through an extensive and inclusive process, which included both industry-focused and wider public consultation.  A Steering Group, made up of industry and State partners, including representatives of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum, oversaw the development of the Strategy.  The Strategy development was co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme.

Implementation of the Strategy will be led by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, in partnership with the National Inshore Fisheries Forum and the inshore sector.  BIM will work closely with the Forum to prepare an implementation plan for the Strategy and to identify the objectives and actions that will be prioritised.  This process will facilitate the targeting of financial support available under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to programmes and initiatives where it can be used most effectively.

Added 27.02.19 

Trudy McIntyre, Chair of The National Inshore Fisheries Forum, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is Michael Creed, TD. and Jim O Toole, Chief Executive Officer, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, launching the strategy in Skerries.

Notes for Editors

Inshore Fisheries Forums

The National Inshore Fisheries Forum is supported by a network of six Regional Forums around the Irish coast.  Delegates from the Regional Forums bring forward regional proposals to the National Forum for wider industry discussion.  The Regional Forum members include inshore fishermen, environmental interests, marine leisure, marine tourism and other marine stakeholders.  The structures also provide opportunities for collaboration between the inshore fishing sector and their communities on sustainable strategies to optimise the income opportunities afforded by the coastal resource.

The Inshore Fisheries Forums are financed under the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Scheme through Ireland’s EU Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020 and part financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.  The Inshore Fisheries Forums are facilitated by the statutory bodies responsible for marine fisheries in Ireland, namely Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Sea Fisheries Protection Agency and the Marine Institute.  Bord Iascaigh Mhara provides administrative support to the forums.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme

Ireland’s EMFF Operational Programme 2014-2020 was adopted by the European Commission in December 2015 and launched in January 2016 by the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine.  The Programme provides €240m in funding to the seafood sector (fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing) over the period 2014 to 2020.  The Programme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.  

Please see links to the Strategy below:

 ENDS

Date Released: 27 February 2019