#Fishing - New Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed hosted his first meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) yesterday, Wednesday 22 June.
The inshore sector – comprising fishing boats of less than 12m in overall length – make up more than 80% of the fishing fleet and are predominately active within six nautical miles of the Irish shore.
“I am pleased that there was a focus in today’s discussions on priorities to ensure a positive longterm future for this sector," said Minister Creed. "This Government has committed to the development of the inshore sector. To deliver this, it is essential to hear the views of the stakeholders themselves through the NIFF.
"With EMFF funding now available, there are opportunities to secure sustainable inshore fisheries and enhance incomes in rural, coastal communities.” Among the range of issues discussed at yesterday’s meeting were access to herring stocks, and proposals to develop national conservation measures for velvet crab.
This was the seventh meeting of the NIFF (not to be confused with the National Inland Fisheries Forum), which was established in 2014 to facilitate the development of a coherent inshore sector 'voice' by encouraging inshore fishermen to discuss their fishing issues and generate commonly-supported initiatives.
A network of six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs) around the Irish coast have nominated delegates to bring forward regional proposals to the NIFF for wider industry discussion.
These RIFF 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.