“Getting inshore fishing communities involved in decision-making is the key aim of the forum initiative,” said the minister, who added that the website “is a vital tool both to make information available and also to foster interaction and discussion.
“I hope that it will become a regular port of call for all interested in developing a sustainable future for this sector.”
Minister Creed also thanked Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the forum delegates for their contributions to the website at www.inshoreforums.ie, launched at the eighth meeting of the NIFF since it was established in 2014.
Budget 2017’s introduction of the Fisher’s Tax Credit (based on the seafarer’s allowance model) and changes to the Fish Assist Scheme were highlighted as important income support mechanisms for inshore fishing communities.
The inshore sector — comprising fishing boats of less than 12 metres in overall length — makes up more than 80% of the fishing fleet, and is predominately active within six nautical miles of the Irish shore.
Minister Creed acknowledged the role of the NIFF and others in the fishing industry in advocating for income support.
“Maintaining jobs and attracting new entrants have been identified by our stakeholders as a key challenge for our fishing industry, including the inshore sector,” he said.
“This annual tax credit specifically for fishermen of €1,270, which mirrors the value of the Seafarer’s allowance, is important recognition for their contribution to Ireland’s Blue Economy.”
Yesterday’s NIFF meeting also tabled proposals to revise the conservation measures for lobster, and to introduce technical conservation measures for the velvet crab fishery.