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The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) says it is continuing to work as “collaboratively” as possible with key stakeholders in its new three-year strategy.

The strategy published late this week was developed in consultation with stakeholders, the regulatory body says.

It says it reflects “the extent of the SFPA’s remit across the sea-fisheries and the sea-food production industry as well as the evolving regulatory environment in which it operates”.

The strategy also sets out plans to complete the organisational change programme that is “already underway”, it says.

“As the sea-fisheries regulator, the SFPA’s remit includes all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200-mile limit, almost 2,000 Irish registered fishing vessels, wherever they operate, and all seafood produced in Ireland’s seafood-processing companies,” it states.

SFPA authority member Tim Donovan said that “while our primary functions have not altered since the organisation was established in 2007, the SFPA’s environment has changed substantially and will continue to evolve”.

“Our plan reflects this and underpins our commitment to promote compliance, safeguarding public welfare as well as the delivery of a sustainable, competitive, and innovative seafood sector,” he said.

“Ireland has a safe, innovative fishing industry that is recognised and respected worldwide, while its fish products are acknowledged globally as healthy and nutritious food,” he continued in a statement.

“Robust confidence in an effective regulatory service plays a key role in maintaining that reputation and in ensuring fair and sustainable usage of a shared marine resource for which many compete,” he said.

“ Good regulation is required to protect it and ensure fish for future generations as well as ensuring consumers worldwide can enjoy Irish seafood safely,” he continued.

Donovan referred to changes such as a “rapidly evolving regulatory environment with substantial changes to EU fisheries and seafood safety law” and “monumental changes brought about by Brexit”.

Brexit is having a significant impact, particularly in relation to catch and health certification of Irish fish exports as well as import controls that have significant implications for the industry as well as for the SFPA, he noted.

“ This strategy is a new pathway forward and outlines a new vision for the SFPA, in how we carry out our work. It represents ambition and so too commitment and a deep desire to ensure an engaged and collaborative approach to ensure the sustainability of this important sector,” Donovan said.

Published in Fishing

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) says that a Spanish-registered fishing vessel was "operating within the waters of Bantry Bay and therefore within Ireland's 12-nautical mile limit" during what Irish fishermen in the South West claim was an attempted ramming incident.

The incident was filmed by the crew of the Irish trawler.

The Irish skipper can be heard on VHF radio telling the Spanish boat to 'stay away from us.'

The CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick Murphy, called SFPA Chair Susan Steele and asked for immediate action.

Fishermen also called for the Navy to protect Irish fishing boats.

The CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick MurphyThe CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick Murphy

"The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority are aware of a situation that arose when a Spanish registered vessel was encountered by an Irish-registered vessel operating within the waters of Bantry Bay and therefore within the IRL 12-nautical mile limit. The situation continues to be closely monitored by the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre at the Naval Base, Haulbowline," the SFPA said in a statement.

The incident happened on Friday morning, two days after fishermen staged a demonstration in Cork protesting at the dominant quotas held by non-Irish EU vessels in Irish waters.

"This was an attempt to force Irish boats off our own fishing grounds. It is intimidation. Our authorities must take action against this vessel acting extremely dangerously at sea and endangering life," the Chief Executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers' Organisation, Patrick Murphy, said. "It is appalling. This was a threat to life at sea, so action must be taken against the vessel which tried to do the ramming. The Spanish boat should be arrested and stopped from fishing in Irish waters."

Published in Fishing

An environmental group has called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to separate the State’s Sea Fisheries Protection Agency from control by the Department of Agriculture and the Marine.

As The Times Ireland edition reports today, the Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) believe EU penalties imposed on the Irish fishing sector are a consequence of the SFPA's lack of independence.

The entire Irish fishing sector is now having to bear the burden of penalties arising from an EU audit of specific breaches which were not sufficiently addressed by Irish authorities, FIE says.

The 2018 EU audit had identified “severe and significant weaknesses in the Irish control system” for the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, detailing irregularities, including the manipulation of weighing systems in some instances.

Ireland is already negotiating terms of a payback quotas, as the EU auditors found that Ireland had overfished its quota of mackerel by 28,600 tonnes; horse mackerel quota by 8,100 tonnes and blue whiting by 5,600 tonnes between 2012 and 2016.

The EU’s recent decision to withdraw Ireland’s control plan for weighing catches has caused consternation within the industry, as all seafood catches by both large and small vessels now have to be weighed at the point of landing.

Ireland had previously secured a derogation to allow weighing in factories, due to the loss of quality involved in weighing at the pier.

The FIE has published the full EU audit report on its website, and has also written to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations and to the Criminal Assets Bureau, asking both agencies if they are aware of the audit team’s recommendations in relation to tackling fraud.

SFPA chair Dr Susan Steele,who is due to take up a post as head of the EU’s fisheries control agency in Vigo, Spain in September, said the EU decision on weighing catches at the point of landing is a “clear marker of tougher fisheries controls across the EU”.

However, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has said it is “simply flabbergasted” that what it described as “this bewildering move which has such a direct and draconian impact on all aspects of Irish fisheries” could “be considered without any advance notice”.

In its letter to the Taoiseach, the FIE says that that the root cause of the problem is an undermining of the independence of the SFPA by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Noting the department's “ development priorities”, FIE Director Tony Lowes said the “necessary and appropriate checks and balances incumbent on the department in the exercise of its functions are impossible”.

“The compounding procedures brought against Ireland by the EU are because the SFPA, like the Marine Institute, is administered by the part of the Department of Agriculture also responsible for the promotion of the seafood industry,” he said.

He has urged the Taoiseach to transfer administration and financing of the SFPA to “one of the many non-marine divisions”.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine said it was "not accurate" to suggest it undermined the SFPA's independence.

It said the SFPA's independence is laid down in legislation that is "fully respected", and it said it had also increased the SFPA's budget with further recruitment planned for this year.

Read The Times here

Published in Fishing

An Irish marine biologist has been appointed head of the EU’s monitoring body for the Common Fisheries Policy.

Dr Susan Steele, who grew up on West Cork’s Beara peninsula, has been appointed executive director of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).

She is currently chair and chief executive of the State’s Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA).

The EFCA’s primary role is to organise coordination and cooperation between national control and inspection activities, ensuring the rules of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy are “respected and applied effectively”.

Based in Vigo, Spain, it cooperates with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency to support national authorities.

The EFCA confirmed Dr Steele’s appointment on Thursday (Apr 22), stating that she has a “solid background in fisheries management and control!.

Dr Steele had been head of the SPFA since 2013, and was previously head of the innovation at the national Seafood Development Centre from 2009.

She also worked with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as head of aquaculture and business from 2006 to 2009.

She holds a PhD from the National University of Ireland, an MBA, a Masters in Education (M.Ed) and a bachelor degree in marine biology.

She is expected to take up her new European post on September 1st, 2021.

Ireland’s SFPA was recently directed by the EU to withdraw its control plan for weighing fish landed by Irish vessels, following an EU audit in 2018 conducted in Killybegs, Co Donegal.

Last year, the EFCA recorded 38,452 inspections at sea and ashore, leading to 1787 suspected infringements in EU member states.

Published in Fishing

#Bass - A Rosslare man pleaded guilty on two charges of illegal fishing for bass at a sitting of Wexford District Court on Tuesday 28 March.

Fisheries officer Stephen Byrne outlined how Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) intercepted Declan Ellard in possession of three wild bass and an 80m floating net at Carne Pier in Co Wexford on 14 April 2016. Ellard was also observed servicing the net using a boat.

Ellard had previously accepted under oath that he would never fish again at a Circuit Court hearing in 2012, during which he was prosecuted for illegal bass fishing by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).

As a result of his prior conviction, prosecuting solicitor Caitriona Walsh sought an adjournment so that the matter could be dealt with in the Circuit Court with the consideration of the SFPA. Judge Chettle proceeded with the case and fined Ellard €400.

Net fishing for bass is illegal in Ireland due to low stock numbers, with angling for bass in the South East of Ireland on a ‘catch and release’ basis from January to June and a bag limit of one fish per day for anglers from July to December.

IFI and the SFPA have powers of prosecution for illegal bass fishing under the Bass (Conservation of Stocks) Regulation 2006. Those convicted of this environmental crime can be fined up to €5,000 per charge.

Angling contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually and bass angling is a valuable resource to the South East of the country. Bass and sea anglers alone, including domestic and those visiting from abroad, have an annual expenditure of €168.6 million annually, which supports businesses and jobs in coastal communities nationwide.

David McInerney, director of the South Eastern River Basin District said: “This conviction under the Maritime Jurisdiction Act highlights that illegal fishing in the South-East will not be tolerated.

“Our fisheries officers are patrolling the waterways in overt and covert operations during the day and night with the aim of protecting and conserving this valuable fisheries resource which supports communities and provides a recreational amenity for all.”

Published in Angling
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#Inspections - Over the last year, more than 2,745 inspections of boats were carried out, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) said, with 10 vessels detained by the Navy for breaching rules.

The Belfast Telegraph writes that the agency said infringements at sea ranged from the under recording of catches to having incorrect equipment on board.

Susan Steele, SFPA chairwoman, said: "The SFPA is committed to playing its part in ensuring a strong future for the Irish fishing industry through the detection of all illegal fishing.

"This year, with the support of the Naval Service, we prioritised the implementation of the new landing obligation, which effectively bans the discarding of fish overboard and was introduced for pelagic fisheries in 2015.

"The generally low level of non-compliance reflects the genuine effort on the part of many fishermen to comply with the regulations." 

For more on the story, click here.

 

Published in Fishing

#sfpa – The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) will host a series of EU Fishery Control focussed meetings involving fishery control experts from the relevant authorities in various EU Member Sates, the European Commission Directorate- General for Maritime Affairs & Fisheries (DG MARE) and the European Fishery Control Agency (EFCA) from today, Tuesday, 16th April until Thursday, 18th of April, in Dublin. The overall objective of the meetings is to allow Member States to share information and best practice with a view to continued progress towards a 'level playing field' in fisheries control.

A number of topics will be discussed at the Fishery Control Expert group meeting including: how fishery product traceability is implemented in Member States to ensure that fisheries products can be traced back and checked throughout the supply chain, from net to plate; the gradation of seriousness of fishery non-compliances and the application of appropriate sanctions to license holders and masters as well as how the certification and verification of fishing vessel engine power is implemented in Member States.

On Wednesday 17th of April, an SFPA led initiative will seek to utilise the expertise of the groups visiting Dublin for an initial seminar and technical discussions on the regulatory framework of the discard ban commencing in January 2014. This should provide a useful forum for initial consideration of the practical implementation challenges for this policy initiative.

The European Fisheries Control Agency's agenda, again hosted by the SFPA, will be discussed on Thursday, 18th April, and this will focus particularly on the challenge of assessment and review of the costs and effectiveness of control and the enforcement of fisheries regulations.

Micheál O'Mahony, Board member with the SFPA said: "The Common Fisheries Policy brings compliance obligations on all fishers in EU waters and control obligations on all EU Member states. To achieve sustainable fisheries, a culture of compliance must exist throughout the fishing industry. These meetings will provide an excellent opportunity for key representatives from EU Member States and EU institutions to share valuable information on how to implement best practices in terms of fisheries control as well as the continued effective implementation of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy. The SFPA wants to play our part in protecting the rich resources of fish around the coasts of Ireland for the benefit of responsible fishermen. We need to ensure that we and all our EU partners have the best systems in place so that illegal practices are prevented. The effective monitoring and control of fish stocks requires the close co-operation of Ireland with other Member States, DG MARE and EFCA. I am sure these meetings will help promote a level playing field of best practice amongst the participants. We look forward to a fruitful exchange of information and ideas on how we can best work together to protect the interests of legitimate fishermen."

Published in Fishing

#sfpa – The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) will meet with the newly appointed Sea-Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee, today, Thursday 7th March at Agriculture House, Dublin. The 14 member Consultative Committee which consists of representatives from the Irish marine community, is appointed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, under the provisions of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act to liaise with SFPA on behalf of the sea-fisheries and seafood sectors. The previous Consultative Committee were particularly active in their regular meetings with the SFPA which is now reinvigorated following recent new appointments by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, including a new Chairperson, Ms Gillian Mills. Today's meeting marks the first sitting of the new Consultative Committee.

Engagement between the SFPA and the Consultative Committee is a two-way process - the Consultative Committee's primary function as described in legislation is to inform the SFPA of the concerns and views of the sea-fisheries and seafood sectors regarding the functions of the SFPA and equally to facilitate the SFPA with communicating to the wider industry.

Part of the remit of the Committee is to also advise the SFPA on the fairness and consistency of its operations. The Consultative Committee will also keep the sea-fisheries and seafood sectors generally informed of the applicable sea-fisheries law and food safety law, as well as of the standards, guidelines, practices and procedures operated by the SFPA in relation to the enforcement of that law. Overall the Consultative Committee's function is to seek the delivery of a high standard of service by the SFPA.

Micheál O'Mahony, Board member with the SFPA said: "The SFPA can only achieve its goals through open dialogue with the sea-fisheries and seafood sectors. This Sea-Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee is a valuable forum through which we continue to share key information on how best to monitor the sea-fisheries and seafood sectors. We are delighted to see the reinvigoration of the role of the committee by the Minister, as various significant challenges are faced in the implementation of current and incoming legal obligations in these sectors.

I am sure this collaboration between the SFPA and the Consultative Committee will continue to help SFPA to work towards its service delivery and facilitate ongoing industry compliance. The SFPA and the industry share common goals, most notably the attainment of a vibrant, compliant seafood sector. We look forward to a fruitful exchange of information and ideas on how we can best work together to protect the interests of legitimate operators within the sea-fisheries and seafood sectors. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Tom Geoghegan for successfully taking on the role of acting Chair of the Consultative Committee - Mr Geoghegan remains on as Deputy Chair of the Consultative Committee."

Published in Fishing
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The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has announced that Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain will share resources – patrol vessels and personnel, in a continuing effort to monitor trans-boundary fisheries. This further development of international co-operation on fisheries control for 2011 involves one Member State providing an inspection vessel with inspectors from the various other Member States onboard. This allows the inspection vessel to operate across each Member State's European Economic Zone boundaries.

This year Ireland will provide the Naval Vessel LE Aoife which will act as a platform for inspectors from Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain to engage in fisheries control. This patrol will take place in May and will operate in the European Economic Zone's of Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain.

Historically the control of trans-boundary fishing was a problem as fishing vessels could cross from one jurisdiction to another to avoid inspection. The problem was initially very prevalent in the North Sea and the first proposals for trans-boundary co-operation within the EU were developed there.

The European Commission has formalised the protocols through the introduction of legislation. Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain have worked very closely on this protocol. Ireland has shared boundaries for fisheries control with these other Member States.

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA said: "The SFPA's authorisation of this latest fisheries patrol is aligned with our goal of promoting a level playing field across EU waters. I welcome this initiative which I believe will benefit all fishermen who operate in compliance with the law. As fisheries are a common resource it is vital that all operators from all EU fleets respect the rules. We must rebuild our fish stocks by implementing conservation measures and tackling illegal fishing by fleets in our waters which is a major cause of the decline in our fish stocks and quotas. This initiative will provide an opportunity to stop the cycle of decline which in turn will support the development of a sustainable profitable future for our industry. We will continue to work with the Competent Authorities of other Member States to promote a uniform standard of fisheries control."

Published in Fishing

In a move to protect dwindling fish stocks, the European Commission recently took decisive action by significantly reducing Spain's mackerel quotas over the next few years as a result of over-fishing. This over-fishing of mackerel by the Spanish has been of major concern to the Irish fishing industry and was brought to the attention of the Commission by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and other bodies.

Spanish fishermen landed almost twice as much mackerel in 2010 from the Cantabrian Sea, in the southern part of the Bay of Biscay, as they were permitted. Through their investigations, the European Commission discovered that the mackerel catch exceeded Spain's quota in the year 2010 by 19,621 tonnes. The European Commission has now passed a regulation reducing Spain's future quotas to account for the excess catches. Spain is obliged, in the period between 2011 and 2015, to return twice the amount of mackerel wrongfully caught.

In order to help combat over-fishing the SFPA operates a round the clock monitoring and surveillance programme to ensure the effective control of fish catches and landings. To promote a culture of compliance with National and EU legislation, landings by Irish, EU and Third Country vessels are inspected by the SFPA in Irish ports. Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers engage in a range of at-sea inspection programmes including both inshore and offshore patrols in conjunction with the Naval Service and Joint inspection patrols with other Member States operating in Irish waters and in those of other Member States.

The SFPA will work with Member States and with the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) based in Vigo, Spain, when a specific control and inspection programme for pelagic fisheries in Western Waters of the North East Atlantic is established - this is expected to be adopted in the near future. This will allow for the co-ordination of joint control, inspection and surveillance activities by Member States for these pelagic fisheries.

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA said: "The recent decision by the EU to impose sanctions on Spain for over-fishing and to protect the valuable mackerel fishery is significant. There is a need for all Member States to work together and to comply with the Common Fisheries Policy's rules in order to ensure the sustainable development of fisheries. The role of the SFPA supports profitable, sustainable, managed fisheries at a time when the fishing industry faces many challenges. Effective monitoring and control systems safe-guards the good reputation of Irish food producers in the international marketplace and protects Irish taxpayer from the threat of large fines being imposed when non-compliances with the Common Fisheries Policy are encountered. The SFPA will continue with our aim of working with other Member States to promote a uniform standard of monitoring, control and surveillance."

Published in Fishing
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boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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