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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has signed a statutory instrument to introduce management measures from the start of February for non-commercial pot fishing for crab and lobster. The introduction of the measures follows an extensive consultation process involving the National and Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs) and a public consultation facilitated both in writing and online.

Speaking about the introduction of the new measures the Minister said: “I believe these new measures balance the potential for continued enjoyment of pot-fishing for crab and lobster as a pastime with the need to manage the activity to deter illegal fishing and support efforts for sustainable stock management. Every marine user has a part to play in contributing to healthy marine ecosystems and sustainable fisheries so that we can all continue to enjoy the benefits Ireland’s marine resources afford us long into the future. I would like to thank the National Inshore Fisheries Forum and the six multi-stakeholder RIFFs for their support in developing these measures.”

Commercial sea-fishing is a highly regulated activity, and sea-fishermen must meet the requirements for a sea fishing licence, the requirement to fit out a safe and seaworthy vessel and the costs associated with both. A range of conservation measures apply to species fished by pots, including minimum landing sizes for crabs, minimum and maximum landing sizes for lobster and a prohibition on the sale of lobsters that have been v-notched.

The new management measures were developed following an examination of the current regulatory environment and consideration of a number of options for regulating non-commercial pot-fishing. Illegal, unregulated fishing by unregistered boats was a significant cause for concern in a number of areas as well as resource competition at certain times of the year.

The Minister also stressed that sustainable fisheries and sustainable seafood are a key focus of the new €240 million development programme for Ireland’s seafood sector:

“Last week I launched the initial tranche of schemes to provide Exchequer and EMFF funding to Irish fishing and seafood operators. The Programme has been designed to assist Ireland’s seafood sector and coastal communities to adapt to the significant reforms in the new Common Fisheries Policy and to build a successful, sustainable industry that delivers jobs and incomes. Further schemes will be launched in the coming weeks and months.”

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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