Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

BIM Brexit ready

Commercial Fishing News from Ireland
New Technologies May Help Fishing Skippers Avoid Unwanted Catches
Scientists at the Marine Institute are investigating how new technologies could be used to share real-time information and help fishing skippers avoid unwanted catches. The IFISH (Irish Fisheries Information Sharing Network Development) project, funded by the Science Foundation Ireland, is…
Inshore fishing in a small fishing vessel on Dublin Bay
Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue has said he is “committed” to protecting inshore waters for smaller fishing vessels. Mr McConalogue is currently appealing a recent High Court ruling which overturned a new Government policy directive to protect inshore waters. The…
Inshore sprat fishing
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. today welcomed a provisional agreement concluded between the European Council and European Parliament on the text of the new European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) which will disperse…
Sean Moroney - a trawler-man of Kilmore Quay: Can the politicians of London and Brussels really kick them out of the waters that they have fished all their lives?
As efforts continue to agree a final Brexit deal, two Wexford fishermen have outlined on RTÉ Radio Countrywide how devastating loss of access to British waters will be. British prime minister Boris Johnson met European Commission president Ursula von der…
Wide Gap Still to Close in Fisheries Rights as Crunch Brexit Talks Continue
Fishing rights remain a contentious issue as Brexit talks continue, with Britain lowering its demands on catches by EU fleets — but still far above Brussels’ recent offer. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier made…
Irish vessel Ocean Venture II landing into Dingle harbour, Co Kerry, where large quantities of warm water anchovies have appeared in the past week
Sea temperatures may seem bracing for swimmers, but shoals of warm water anchovies have appeared in large numbers off the south-west coast. “Astonishing” is how Kerry-based fish expert Dr Kevin Flannery describes the volume of tiny oily fish, widely used…
The Irish fishing industry is in a particularly vulnerable position as Ireland shares its main fish stocks and its waters on three sides with the UK
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, today attended a virtual meeting with EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in relation to the current state of play in the negotiations on a fisheries agreement with the UK.…
Brexit Talks Continue After Barnier Offers UK Up To 18% of EU Fishing Quota for Trade Deal
Brexit trade talks are set to continue into the weekend after it was reported an offer was made by the European Union to return up to 18% of fish caught in UK waters. According to RTÉ News, the EU’s chief…
Aquabusiness graduates (from left to right) Dr Karen Hennessey, Head of CIT Wexford campus, James > Roche of Kilmore Quay (to graduate shortly), Amy Allen, course director,  HDip graduate Seamus O'Flaherty Jnr of Kilmore Quay, Dr Janette Davies, deputy head of Wexford Campus, Brian O'Loan, BIM Resource Development Officer,  and HDip graduate Carmen Bates of Duncannon.
Students from Norway and other countries are participating in a higher diploma in aquabusiness which is now in its fourth year in Wexford. A total of 19 students have registered for the one-year part-time diploma in “business in aquabusiness” which…
Inshore sprat fishing off Atlantic coast
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today chaired a meeting of the Sea Fisheries Liaison Group of Fisheries Stakeholders to discuss the European Commission’s proposal for Fishing Opportunities for 2021. The meeting was attended by fishing…
Local graduates from the Aquabusiness course in Wexford Campus celebrated receiving their diploma having gathered in Kilmore Quay (as pictured above). The harbour also includes a marina on the south-east coast.
Graduates from Wexford Campus' Aquabusiness course have celebrated the completion of their studies. As the Wexford People highlighted, this is the only course of its kind in the country, as the Higher Diploma in Business in Aquabusiness is now in…
It has been claimed up to 1.7 (one point seven) million tonnes of unwanted and juvenile fish was being discarded annually
A well-intentioned campaign by a celebrity chef to reduce dumping of unwanted fish in European waters has led to an increase in fishing quotas, according to new research. The “unintended impact” of the European ban on discarding fish may lead…
Currently, harvesters are paid €55 a tonne for Ascophyllum nodosum
Hand-harvesting seaweed on the Irish Atlantic coast experienced an unexpected boost due to Covid-19, according to Canadian-owned seaweed company Arramara Teo. Construction workers with coastal connections opted to supplement incomes on the shoreline, and there are now large quantities in…
Wexford inshore fisherman, Michael Foley; each year is more and more challenging for the inshore fleet
If Fungie or any similar solo bottle-nosed dolphin had a notion to settle in an Irish harbour, they could be in stiff competition for feeding on sprat and juvenile herring. As The Irish Examiner reports today, there is mounting concern…
The Oliver's fishing boat approaches the swimmer spotted taking refuge on Palmer’s Rock, about 200 metres from shore.
Galway Harbour father and son Patrick and Morgan Oliver have recorded another rescue, saving a swimmer who got into difficulty off Salthill on Saturday morning. The Olivers were fishing off Salthill in Galway Bay on Saturday morning when a swimmer…
Fisherman Fined €4,000 for Illegal Salmon Netting & Obstructing Fisheries Officers
A West Cork fisherman has been fined €4,000 plus costs after being found guilty on two counts of illegal fishing and the obstruction of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officers. Evidence in relation to the offences by Donal Healy — with…

Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating