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Coveney Welcomes Chair of Inshore Fisheries Forum

2nd April 2015
Coveney Welcomes Chair of Inshore Fisheries Forum

#inshore – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. welcomed the appointments of the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum at the second meeting of the Forum today. The NIFF has been set up to facilitate the development of a coherent inshore sector "voice" by encouraging inshore fishing communities to discuss their fishing issues and generate commonly-supported initiatives. Ciaran Quinn of the North West region was appointed as the first industry-led Chair of the Forum with Eddie Moore of the South West region as his Vice Chair.

The Forum has also been given representation on the Quota Management Advisory Committee and the EMFF Operational Programme Monitoring Committee. Speaking in relation to the recently announced Seafood Development Programme, the Minister said: "While there is a provisional allocation of €6m targeted at the inshore sector, in practice there is much more in the Seafood Development Programme for inshore fishing communities including CFP implementation support, processing development schemes and community-led development."

The Minister and the NIFF also discussed the need for the imminent introduction of conservation measures for razor clam fishing in the Irish Sea: "At the first NIFF meeting in January I heard serious concerns from delegates about the sustainability of the razor clam fishery. Having given careful consideration to industry proposals and to scientific advice, it is clear to me that the fishery is under intense pressure and action is needed. To address the risk of collapse in this fishery I am preparing to introduce interim outtake limits and to monitor fishing effort on a real-time basis but it is already apparent that access to the fishery will need to be managed to prevent over-exploitation. I have asked the NIFF to facilitate development of a managed access programme for the fishery to ensure that the valuable market for this fishery can be maintained into the future. Anyone currently considering fleet investment for this fishery should exercise considerable caution as the fishery is already under significant pressure and access may become conditional on retrospective records of fishing activity. Sustainability will be first and foremost in my mind when deciding on the future measures for this fishery."

Under the EU Birds & Habitats Directives Ireland is obliged to manage the impact of fishing activities on protected habitats, species and birds. At today's meeting general approaches to the introduction of mitigation measures were discussed in some detail and the Minister asked the NIFF to engage with his officials and agencies to develop plans to allow sustainable fishing to continue. In this context and following a number of years of consultation and discussion between the marine agencies, the Department and fishermen concerned, the Minister announced his intention to sign into law a Fisheries Natura Declaration to manage fishing activities in Roaringwater Bay in West Cork. "There are features in Roaringwater Bay which are particularly sensitive to certain fishing activities and we must ensure that the integrity of the Special Areas of Conservation is protected. Protecting the ecosystem of marine conservation sites protects the quality of our marine environment and is another step towards harnessing our ocean wealth in a sustainable way."

Discussions were also held on proposals to manage recreational pot fishing, lobster conservation measures and other policy issues affecting inshore fishing communities.

Published in Fishing Team

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