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Displaying items by tag: Common Fisheries Policy

Following the announcement by EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius that he has ordered a “full evaluation” of the Common Fisheries Policy and reports that 43,000 tonnes of fish were uncaught by Member States, other than Ireland, European fishing regulations under the CFP should have a “Use It, or Lose It” principle according to MEP, Billy Kelleher, whose constituency includes coastal communities in Munster and South Leinster.

“Member States such as France have a habit of not catching their full quota,” he said. “There is 43,000 tonnes of fish, worth an estimated €177 million per annum, left uncaught by other Member States, while it is next to impossible for Ireland to access this spare quota, which would support existing jobs and possibly create thousands of new jobs in coastal communities in Ireland. I have been suggesting in the European Parliament for the past three years that spare quota should be used. A possible review of the Common Fisheries Plan must make this easier to organise. It would be of major benefit to the Irish fishing sector, which has caught its full quota and needs more quota for the industry to survive. As many as 2,500 jobs could be created if the EU re-allocated other member states’ unused fishing quota to Ireland, newly released figures show.”

MEP, Billy Kelleher, whose constituency includes coastal communities in Munster and South LeinsterMEP, Billy Kelleher, whose constituency includes coastal communities in Munster and South Leinster

Access to unused quota has previously been sought by Ireland but rejected by the EU Commission because any change to quotas would affect the Member States which don’t catch their quotas, even though the CFP has given them much bigger quotas in Irish waters than Irish fishing boats have.

The upcoming European elections, mean that the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries will complete his term in office. Marking that, he has announced that a full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be undertaken. That Policy, it is fair to say, is not liked in the Irish fishing industry because it has given non-Irish EU Member States the biggest amount of fishing catches in Irish waters and kept the Irish share so low that the Irish industry has suffered because the national fleet is not allowed to catch enough fish.

EU Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius is to conduct a full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)EU Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius is to conduct a full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

For years, the Irish industry has been seeking a complete review of that Policy, backed by a report from a Government-appointed Committee, which was rejected by the EU Commissioner. So why have the Commissioners now announced a “full evaluation”? Note those words? Long years in journalism have taught me to note the use of words, particularly in political statements. “Evaluation” – as stated by the Commissioner and “Review” as sought by the Irish industry have very different meanings. So, while there has been some welcome for the Commissioner’s announcement, there is also caution.

Published in Fishing

Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has welcomed the commitment by Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius, to conduct a full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The announcement was made during the Informal Meeting of Fisheries Ministers held in Bruges, Belgium on 24th and 25th March 2024.

At the meeting, Fisheries Ministers from across the EU discussed the future of EU Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the key actions needed to help the sector address challenges. Brexit was a major topic of discussion, with Minister McConalogue highlighting the need for a comprehensive analysis of the impacts of Brexit on the functioning of the CFP, including the impact on EU and Member States’ fishing opportunities.

In addition to Brexit, the meeting discussed wider global challenges such as the impact of climate change and the energy transition. The use of digitalisation and new technologies in the fisheries and aquaculture sector was also on the agenda. Minister McConalogue emphasized that data is increasingly seen as a key asset that should be valued, protected and managed, and that clear guidance on how data can be shared is crucial. This data will be used to identify and drive innovations that will enhance the sustainability of wild fish stocks, aquaculture production techniques and promote economic sustainability across the sector.

Reflecting on the theme of the meeting, Minister McConalogue said, “In order to identify solutions, we first need a clear picture of the challenges the EU seafood sector is facing. A full analysis of the impacts of Brexit will provide a clear view of our current challenges and help identify a pathway for future actions.”

The meeting was organized by Belgium, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The evaluation of the CFP will be a crucial step in addressing the challenges facing the EU fisheries and aquaculture sector, and Minister McConalogue looks forward to engaging with the Commission on this important task.

Published in Fishing

Regional management of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is due to be discussed at a conference in Dublin Castle today.

Key speakers at the event will include Charlina Vitcheva, the European Commission’s director-general for maritime affairs and fisheries, along with a representative of the Belgian presidency of the EU’s fisheries council.

Chairs of the North-Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) and the Pelagic Advisory Council (PeIAC) will also participate, as joint hosts of the event.

It has been organised to mark the 20th anniversary of regional advisory councils in the CFP, and will “celebrate” the role of the advisory councils over the past two decades.

It will also discuss a roadmap on the theme of “the future of EU fisheries and regionalisation in the north-east Atlantic”.

NWWAC chair Emiel Brouckaert and PelAC Sean O’Donoghue have said “this jointly hosted celebratory event is very timely to take stock of where we are in the aftermath of Brexit and to develop a roadmap for enhancing the role of advisory councils”.

“This includes strengthening regionalisation in order to meet the very significant challenges for the future of the fisheries sector such as climate change and energy transition,” they have stated.

: “Over the last twenty years the Pelagic Advisory Council has been at the forefront in making unanimous sustainable management recommendations for the pelagic stocks under its remit and in promoting innovative techniques such as genetics to use in stock assessment,” O’Donoghue has added.

Since their inception, the NWWAC and PelAC have been recognised as key stakeholders in the implementation of the CFP, aligning views of the fishing industry, environmental NGOs and other civil society organisations.

The event is co-funded by the EU, and sponsored by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, t the Killybeg’s Fishermen’s Organisation, Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation, Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Pelagic Freezer Trawler Association, and Danmarks Pelagiske Producentorganisation.

More details about the event, including the programme can be found at

Published in Fishing

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D. presented the final report of the Common Fisheries Policy Review Group to the Cabinet on Tuesday.

Under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the European Commission must report to the European Parliament and Council on the functioning of the CFP by the end of 2022. In February 2022, Minister McConalogue established a national Common Fisheries Policy Review Group of relevant stakeholders to examine the issues that arise for Ireland in the context of the Commission’s Review, to advise him on priorities for the negotiations, and to identify strategies most likely to influence the outcome of the review.

The Review Group was chaired by Mr. John Malone, former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, and assisted by a steering committee comprising Mr. Micheál Ó Cinnéide, former Director of the MI and EPA and Mr. Donal Maguire, former Director in BIM. The Group involved representatives of Producer Organisations, the National Inshore Fisheries Forum, the aquaculture industry, co-ops, the seafood processing industry and representatives of environmental NGOs.

In the report, stakeholders have set out a number of recommendations on aspects of the CFP which need to be addressed to adapt to recent changes and ensure a sustainable future for the sector. These include the need for legislative change as part of the CFP review in order to address the impacts of Brexit and the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement, as well as socio-economic imbalances within EU fisheries. The report also highlights the need to support environmental sustainability and develop the Aquaculture sector.

Minister McConalogue said:- “The seafood sector has faced unprecedented challenges over the last number of years. I have consistently made clear the Irish Government’s assessment that the substantial changes in fisheries policy resulting from the adoption of the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement require that, internally within the EU, a comprehensive review of the CFP be carried out that would support changes to deliver a fair and equitable policy. The Review Group report clearly demonstrates that there is a need for legislative changes in the current policy to address the disproportionate impacts of the TCA and in the context of the new environmental challenges we are all facing.”

Minister McConalogue has also forwarded a copy of the Final Report of the CFP Review Group to the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius, who is responsible for the CFP review for consideration of how the report’s findings and recommendations can be taken forward to support a fair and balanced Common Fisheries Policy for Irish fishers for the next decade.

Minister McConalogue said, “I would like to thank the Common Fisheries Policy Review Group members for the time and effort they have invested in this process. It is a testament to their ongoing commitment to Ireland’s seafood sector and our coastal and rural communities.”

The Final Report of the Common Fisheries Policy Review Group is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website: - Final Report of the Common Fisheries Policy Review Group (

Published in Fishing

Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan has welcomed this week’s High Court judgment which will see the European Court of Justice being asked to rule on a missed deadline set for sustainably set fish quotas in European waters.

Environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment CLG (FIE) brought the case to the High Court over the alleged failure by the Irish State to meet a legally defined deadline of ending overfishing of all stocks by 2020.

FIE, which was supported by the legal non-governmental organisation (NGO) Client Earth, claimed the main goal of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was to restore and maintain fish stocks above sustainable levels.

The European Commission had set a target of 2015 for sustainable levels for all fish stocks to be achieved - or by 2020 at the latest.

FIE claimed the European Commission has set total allowable catches for national fleets, for a wide range of fish stocks, at unsustainable levels in 2020.

It said it would have “profound negative consequences for the marine environment and the sustainability of European fishing activities”.

In his judgment on February 8th, Mr Justice Barr said that while the court was satisfied that the issues between the parties in relation to the 2020 Regulation and the fisheries management were “moot”, given the fact that time had passed, it was likely to be a “live issue” in respect of other regulations issued by the EU Council in the future.

“Accordingly, it is desirable that a decision be reached on the general legality of such regulations in terms of their compliance with Article 2(2) of the CFP,” he said.

He also said that the case raised issues of “general public importance” for two reasons.

“Firstly, the application raises issues in relation to the conservation of fish stock, which are of fundamental importance to the citizens of the EU and secondly, the issues raised

herein have enormous ramifications for the fishing industry in the member states of the EU,” Mr Justice Barr said.

Mr O’Sullivan, who is Green Party spokesperson on the marine and a member of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, welcomed the ruling.

“Time after time, member states, including Ireland, have exceeded the scientific advice provided for sustainable fishing levels,” she said.

“In the North Atlantic alone, around 46% of Northeast Atlantic total allowable catches (TACs) could be considered ‘unsustainable’ in 2020,” she said.

“ This goes against the EU’s own legal commitment to end overfishing and is extremely damaging to our marine environment, not to mention the fishing communities that depend on healthy stocks,” she said.

Ms O’Sullivan said it was significant that this first challenge came from Ireland, as the European Commission recently expressed concern that “Ireland continues to be the most expensive member state in which to make an environmental claim before the courts”.

“The European Union has set many ambitious goals recently, in light of the European Green Deal and the Environment Action Programme to 2030. But if we do not act on the science, then our efforts to end the climate and biodiversity crises will be pointless,” she added.

Published in Fishing

The announcement by Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue that he is establishing a Common Fisheries Policy Review Group is being seen as a response to increased pressure from the fishing industry for a strong level of preparation for changes in the CFP.

The Policy which has been blamed for causing severe damage to the Irish fishing industry, because of the bigger size of quotas it allocated to foreign vessels in Irish waters, while keeping Irish quotas much smaller.

The ten-year review of the CFP has to be completed by December 2022. However, this review does not imply major changes being made in the Policy.

In fact, on his visit to Ireland last October, EU Commissioner for Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “We’ll do a review, and we will be listening to stakeholders’ concerns, and we’ll look at certain changes, but I cannot promise we will be reopening the CFP.”

The general attitude in the Irish industry is that only a thorough review of the Policy can address the Irish fleet’s reduced access to quotas and the impact of Brexit, as well as the refusal of other EU countries to agree to “burden-sharing” of the Brexit impact. The initial response to the Minister’s announcement is that it is a “needed, welcome and positive move, needed to get a strong Irish position established about the CFP,” industry sources told Afloat.

"a forum of key stakeholders to produce a report to inform Ireland's position"

Commissioner Sinkevičius acknowledged that the review will have to take Brexit into account. He added that climate change, pollution and sustainable fishing would also be included.

EU Commissioner for Fisheries Virginijus SinkevičiusEU Commissioner for Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius

“The seafood sector has faced challenges over the recent past, arising in particular from Brexit,” said Minister McConalogue in announcing the Review Group. It will be, he said, “a forum of key stakeholders to produce a report to inform Ireland's position during the course of the CFP review. This forum will be able to draw on the expertise in my own Department, the Marine Institute and BIM, to provide the necessary policy, scientific and technical support.”

It will be chaired by Mr John Malone, former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Malone will be assisted by a steering committee comprising Mr Micheal O Cinneide, former Director of the Marine Institute and Environmental Protection Agency and Mr Donal Maguire, former Director in BIM.

The Group will involve representatives of stakeholders, including Producer Organisations, National Inshore Fisheries Forum, the Aquaculture industry, Co-Ops, and the Seafood processing industry. It will also include representatives of environmental NGOs. Its purpose is to examine the issues that arise for Ireland in the context of the CFP Review, to advise the Minister on priorities for the negotiations and to identify strategies most likely to influence the outcome of the review.

The Minister is seeking from the Group recommendations in relation to the CFP Review, to focus on supporting the social and economic health of our fisheries dependant coastal communities, economic development in our sea-food sector, delivering long term sustainability of fish stocks and maximising protection of habitats and the marine environment.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) Regulation (Regulation EU 380/2013) provides that the European Commission will report to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning of the CFP by the end of 2022. The European Commission has launched an online questionnaire as part of its public consultation on the preparation of this report. The Commission has stated that it intends to close its consultation process with a stakeholder event before the summer of 2022.

The Minister has asked the Review Group to complete its work by June to ensure that Ireland’s priorities are clearly set out and inputted into the formal Commission process.

Minister McConalogue said that he is issuing invitations to the relevant Stakeholder organisations for nominations to the Group and expects the Group to get to work once all nominations to the Group are in place.

Those being invited to be part of the Group have been named as:

  • Fishing and Aquaculture representatives - One representative each from: Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation; Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation; Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation; Irish Fish Producers Organisation; Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation;
  • National Inshore Forum; Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association; IFA Aquaculture.
  • Co-Ops: 2 representatives
  • Environmental NGOs: 2 representatives
Published in Fishing

#FishingBrexit - Northern Ireland’s fishery and marine science research vessel RV Corystes (1988/1,280grt) is an unusual caller to Cork Dockyard having arrived mid-month from the ship’s homeport of Belfast, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The UK flagged RV Corystes has been monitored by Afloat since arrival however the ship is scheduled to depart Cork Harbour this weekend.

RV Corystes was in 2005 transferred from CEFAS (see below) duties in the North Sea to Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). In the following year the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) was created and joined the Science Service of DARD (now DAERA) with the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ARINI).

Currently, the UK as a member state of the EU is one of several countries including Ireland that are part of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which operates to a restrictive licensing scheme. This enables the UK to meet important obligations under the CFP: that is the management of the fishing opportunities allocated to the UK fleet, and secondly the management of the overall fleet structure.

In the existing climate of Brexit negotiations, in which the UK are to leave the CFP, the issue has been raised by the Irish fishing industry which has major concerns. In addition to how both fishing fleets from either jurisdiction will be handled given unresolved contentious waters along the border.

The UK has the largest fishing waters within the EU followed by Ireland in which the State is allocated 4% of the total fish quota. However with the UK to depart the CFP, this will notably have an impact on the Republic’s fishing fleet which will no longer be permitted to operate within UK waters, plus forcing other EU member states to use Irish waters leading to further pressing issues.

DAERA through the AFBI owns and operates RV Corystes to a year round capability. This enables AFBI to pursue an integrated marine science programme in coastal waters within Northern Ireland, the Irish Sea and adjacent sea areas.

The vessel’s versatile platform provides opportunities to conduct a wide range of fisheries and marine environmental research to be undertaken.

AFBI also employs RV Corystes in direct support of the policy objectives of the DAERA fishery customer. They combined with a wide range of other customers, including DEFRA, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the European Commission.

The integrated marine science programme delivered by RV Corystes directly supports the key DAERA policy objective of sustainability of Irish Sea fisheries. This is contributing to the development of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, as required by the European Commission.

A comprehensive data on fish stocks coupled with the marine environment provided by RV Corystes allows AFBI to investigate implications of climate change for future fisheries and on environmental policy.

As referred above RV Corystes originally served CEFAS, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. They based the ship out of Cefas’s homeport of Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Published in Fishing

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that the Marine Institute is carrying out its annual Irish anglerfish and megrim survey (IAMS 2017) in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations from this Tuesday 14 February to Friday 17 March.

The IAMS is a demersal trawl and beam trawl survey consisting of around 85 otter trawls (60 minutes) and 25 beam trawls (30 minutes) in International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) area 7b, 7c, 7g, 7h, 7j and 7k off the West, South West and South Coasts.

Fishing in 2017 will take place within a three-nautical-mile radius of the positions indicated in Marine Notice No 5 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB), which will display all appropriate lights and signals during the survey and will also be listening on VHF Channel 16.

The vessel will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl or two 4m beam trawls during operations. The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators to keep a 3nm area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period outlined above.

While there is no statutory provision for the loss of gear at sea, the Marine Institute will make every effort to avoid gear adequately marked according to legislation that may be encountered in the notified areas.

In the event that an operator has static gear or other obstructions within 3nm of the points listed, it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the survey managers or vessel directly.

This should be communicated by identifying specifically which ‘station’ is of concern using the appendix and contact details provided in the Marine Notice. It is not required to provide positional details of commercial operations beyond 4nm of the survey points provided.

Specifics of any fishing gear or other obstructions that are known and cannot be kept clear of these survey haul locations can be notified using the contact details provided.

Published in Fishing

#Aquaculture - Marine Minister Simon Coveney yesterday (12 June) launched a public consultation on a draft National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development, proposing 24 actions and initiatives to boost the sustainable growth of aquaculture

The reformed Common Fisheries Policy requires EU member states to prepare multi-annual national strategic plans to drive forward the sustainable development of aquaculture, and the draft plan launched this week has been prepared in that context.

Commenting on the plan, Minister Coveney said: “Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry internationally with very rapid expansion opportunities identified over the coming decades to meet the ever growing seafood demand arising from population growth and increased consumption in Asia.

"Aquaculture internationally produced 67 million tonnes of farmed fish in 2012 and it is projected to increase to 85 million tonnes by 2022. That global projection to increase aquaculture production by 18 million tonnes by 2022, puts in context the proposals in the National Strategic Aquaculture Plan to increase Irish aquaculture production by 45,000 tonnes, across all species, by 2023.

"While the targets in the plan are ambitious in the context of the past performance of this industry nationally, they are modest in the context of the global expansion which this industry will experience over the next seven years.”

Minister Coveney added that “our aquaculture industry has long been recognised as an area with potential to grow significant value and employment and to sustainably provide the raw material to enhance our processed seafood exports. Clearly, that has not happened and there are many complex reasons for that.

"At the same time, concerns have been raised about the environmental sustainability of the industry. In this plan, I have sought to identify all of the issues affecting both the growth potential and sustainability of the aquaculture industry and I am proposing a suite of 24 tailored actions to boost sustainable growth, while allaying legitimate areas of concern.

"With these initiatives, I believe we can get our aquaculture sector back on a path of sustainable growth and provide much needed jobs in our coastal communities."

Actions proposed in the draft plan include the introduction of a set of guiding principles for the sustainable development of aquaculture, recommended to the minister by the Marine Institute, together with scale limits and phasing in relation to the development of individual offshore salmon farms, also recommended by the Marine Institute. 

Other initiatives include a review of the regulatory framework for aquaculture licensing and associated administrative procedures, and financial supports to build capacity, foster knowledge, innovation and technology transfer and expert advice and training for aquaculture operators in business planning, disease management and environmental best practice.

Submissions on the draft plan and related environmental report and appropriate assessment are invited by 24 July 2015 to [email protected]. Relevant documents are available for download HERE.

Published in Aquaculture

#seafood – Following months of intense lobbying and negotiation, Minister Coveney today secured €148 million from this fund for the period 2014 to 2020 for the development of the Irish seafood industry and the coastal communities that depend upon it. Welcoming this announcement the Minister said 'This funding is more than double the amount that was available to Ireland during the last Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and will ensure a strong fishing industry in Ireland that can grow expand to meet its potential up to 2020."

In announcing the EU funding, Minister Coveney said "The new CFP is a major overhaul of the way which fishing is carried out in EU waters, the purpose of which is to provide a framework for the long term sustainability of fish stocks and the whole industry. The fund will provide support for our fishing fleet to meet the challenges of the new discards ban; it will support the development of the seafood processing sector, a sustainable aquaculture industry and the communities that depend on a vibrant seafood industry."

The Minister went on to say that "I am satisfied the €148 million which I was able to negotiate for Ireland from the new fund will help our seafood industry to develop and maintain long term sustainability and economic strength. This is more than double the amount of funding that was available to Ireland in the last period from 2007 to 2013 and is, I believe, the level of the investment needed to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the Irish seafood industry."

Ireland must now prepare a programme setting out the arrangements for spending the fund and submit this to the Commission by 20 October 2014. The Department has been working on the new Operational Programme since 2013 and has engaged with stakeholders on a number of occasions to date. Further public consultation and strategic environmental assessment will take place over the summer 2014. The Minister added "We have already being consulting stakeholders on the framework for the new programme. Now that we know the amount of funds we have available we can finalise these consultations and put in place an ambitious programme of support that delivers on the priorities of the fishing industry and other stakeholders."

Under the new CFP, which was negotiated to completion under the Irish Presidency of the EU in 2013, a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund has now been established to support the delivery of the new policy.

Published in Fishing
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About Rosslare Europort

2021 sees Rosslare Europort hitting a new record with a total of 36 shipping services a week operating from the port making it one of the premier Irish ports serving the European Continent. Rosslare Europort is a gateway to Europe for the freight and tourist industries. It is strategically located on the sunny south-east coast of Ireland.

Rosslare is within a 90-minute driving radius of major Irish cities; Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Rosslare Europort is a RoRo, RoPax, offshore and bulk port with three RoRo berths with a two-tier linkspan, we also have a dedicated offshore bulk berth.

Exports in Rosslare Europort comprise mainly of fresh products, food, pharmaceuticals, steel, timber and building supplies. While imports are largely in the form of consumer goods such as clothes, furniture, food, trade vehicles, and electronics.

The entire Europort is bar-swept to 7.2 meters, allowing unrestricted access to vessels with draughts up to 6.5 metres. Rosslare Europort offers a comprehensive service including mooring, stevedoring and passenger-car check-in for RoRo shipping lines. It also provides facilities for offshore, dry bulk and general cargo.

The port currently has twice-daily round services to the UK and direct services to the continent each day. Rosslare Europort has a fleet of Tugmasters service, fork-lift trucks, tractors and other handling equipment to cater for non-standard RoRo freight.

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