Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

BIM Brexit ready

Commercial Fishing News from Ireland
A 2014 High Court ruling, upheld by the Supreme Court 3 years later, found the penalty legislation to be unconstitutional in not allowing for fair procedure.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been accused of having “conveniently ignored” a Supreme Court ruling on penalty points for commercial fishing by signing in a new system late last week. Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) chief executive Séan O’Donoghue condemned the move…
EU-US "Mini Deal" on Lobster Imports  Negotiated by Former Commissioner Phil Hogan May "Wipe Out" Irish Lobster Fishery
Irish lobster fishermen are warning that they face a “wipe-out” as a result of an EU-US trade deal negotiated by former Irish commissioner Phil Hogan. As The Sunday Independent reports, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine says Ireland is…
Fishing for crab and lobster on Dublin Bay - Cultural heritage is associated with the sea, fishing and small-scale fleets
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, is to host a webinar on Wednesday 9th September 2020 at 2 pm on how the role of cultural values can be integrated more in small-scale fisheries management. The webinar, which will…
Ghanaian fishermen in a kickabout at Ardglass GAC
A GAA club in Northern Ireland has had an influx of new players from much further overseas then it’s used to. BBC News reports on the fishermen from Ghana who have taken up Gaelic football as a pastime in between…
The nine wild salmon, boat and net seized during the night of Tuesday 28 July
A firearm was discharged by alleged offenders as fisheries officers responded to reports of an illegal net on the upper tidal River Suir late last month. Nobody was injured in the incident as Inland Fisheries Ireland officers seized a boat,…
Lockdown Sees Huge Increase In Supertrawler Fishing Of UK Protected Areas
Supertrawlers spent almost twice as much time fishing in the UK’s protected waters in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2019, according to an investigation by Greenpeace. As the Guardian reports, supertrawlers spent 5,590 hours…
Sigginstown Castle in Co Wexford is getting €46,000
When new marine minister Dara Calleary recently rolled out EU monies to help coastal communities diversify, there was some dismay within the fishing industry. As The Sunday Times reports today, a garden trail, an art website, a tower house restoration…
There could be “flashpoints everywhere from Rockall to the North Sea to the Celtic Sea and English Channel”, according to Fishing Representatives
A leading fishing industry representative has warned of “skirmishes at sea” throughout Europe if there is a “no-deal” Brexit. Speaking to The Irish Examiner for Ocean Week 2020, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) chief executive Sean O’Donoghue says there could be…
A Dublin Bay Prawn emerges from its seabed burrow
The Marine Institute is collaborating with scientists in Spain as part of a new project, Smart Lobster, to monitor the digging activity and maintenance of burrows of the Nephrops norvegicus, commonly known as the Dublin Bay Prawn, using the EMSO…
The Department of Foreign Affairs launches investigation as HMS Lancaster (F229) ordered a Killybegs based trawler to move on while fishing in Irish waters. AFLOAT adds the Type 23 / 'Duke' class frigate was built in the Clyde, Scotland in 1992 has a crew of 185 personnel and a top speed of 28 knots.
Underway is an investigation following an incident between a UK Royal Navy warship and a Killybegs-registered trawler off the Donegal coast. An Air Corps maritime patrol aircraft, reports DerryNow, was dispatched and two Irish Naval Service ships placed on standby…
Inventor Grzegorz Skawiński with his oyster device
A Polish man says he has quite literally turned oyster farming on its head - by inventing a revolutionary device that allows for three times more oysters within the same area of seabed. Grzegorz Skawiński developed the product over two…
Kilcar Kayaks in county Donegal have been awarded €15,297.60, in an EMFF Fisheries Local Action Group grant
Marine Minister Dara Calleary today announced the award of grants worth €1.2 million to 93 local community groups and micro-enterprises by six of the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups established under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme. The grants…
Marine Minister Dara Calleary T.D, (left) held discussions, by video link, with EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D, held discussions, by video link, with EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius on Ireland’s fisheries priorities. The Minister focused on the issues for fisheries in the ongoing EU negotiations with…
Hundreds Of Illegally Caught Lobsters Seized From Spain-Bound Lorry In Rosslare
Nearly 700 illegally caught lobsters have been seized in an operation in Rosslare, as RTÉ News reports. Officers from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) detained a Spain-bound lorry in the Co Wexford port town yesterday, Wednesday 22 July. On…
Marine Minister Dara Calleary
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D, met today with representatives of the Irish fishing industry to hear at first hand their concerns about fishing in the EU/UK negotiations and the challenges they are facing arising…
Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland is preparing for clinical trials of its soluble protein hydrolysate power
A fisheries science partnership previously touted as a ‘game changer’ in the field of marine food is developing new health supplement based on fish protein from blue whiting. Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) is preparing to begin clinical trials of its…

Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

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

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

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 Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

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