Displaying items by tag: fisheries
Minister Coveney sought the meeting with the Commissioner to discuss the planned reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and other topical issues on the fisheries horizon at present. Minister Coveney invited Commissioner Damanaki to Ireland to meet the Irish Fishing industry in coastal communities.
Minister Coveney said "It is important from the perspective of furthering Irish ambitions that I build up a close working relationship with the Commissioner, so I saw this as an important opportunity to develop a rapport and connect in a meaningful way with Commissioner Damanaki. I had a frank and forthright discussion with her on the Reform of the CFP, and on Ireland's priorities."
The Minister set out key priority issues for Ireland in the CFP reform. A major priority is the retention of the Hague Preferences, agreed by Heads of State in 1976 by way of the Hague Resolution, under which Ireland receives additional shares of quotas for the whitefish stocks around our coast. There was been strong pressure from certain Member States that these should be abolished in the Reform. Minister Coveney said "Any interference that results in Ireland losing the current benefits of the Hague Preferences within the reformed CFP would be totally unacceptable to me. The Hague Preferences were the payment made for Ireland granting access to our waters to other Member States and a recognition of the high costs involved for the State in the control of these rich fishing grounds."
Minister Coveney set out Ireland's opposition to the mandatory privatisation of fish quotas and outlined the impacts of this policy on Ireland's coastal communities dependant on fisheries. Minister Coveney said "I used this the opportunity to explain why Ireland is strongly opposing a mandatory scheme for privatisation and trading of fish quota. I explained that the family owned fishing fleet in Ireland would be quickly bought out by international fishing companies without links to the coastal communities. I explained my strong belief that these companies would not land into Ireland and we would lose not just the jobs in the fleet but also the processing and ancillary jobs in our fishing ports."
Commissioner Damanaki has placed discarding of fish high on her agenda for the CFP reform to which the Minister made clear that he was committed to giving Ireland's support to assisting the Commissioner in identifying and implementing the appropriate measures to effectively address discards.
In addition to the issues surrounding the CFP reform, the Minister made very clear Ireland's demand for strong actions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands for their irresponsible and untenable fishing activities on the mackerel stock. The Minister said "the actions of these two fishing nations pose a serious threat to the well being of the mackerel stock which is very important to Ireland. I pressed the Commissioner to initiate strong action now, including the introduction of trade sanctions to bring pressure to bear on these two parties to come to the table with reasonable demands and agree a long term management framework for mackerel".
Finally the Minister said "I will continue to liaise closely with the Federation of Irish Fishermen and other industry representatives to further develop Ireland's negotiating position. I consider that today's meeting with Commissioner Damanaki was very useful in giving her a full understanding of Ireland's situation and the importance of the maintenance of a strong fishing industry supporting the fishing communities around our coast".
"Traceability is central to these new rules, 'from net to plate'. It will enable Member states to spot wrongdoings along the market chain, and trace them back to the culprit. Inspections will be carried out in the same way all over Europe. Data will be collected and cross-checked electronically. So once the product reaches the stores, the consumer will know it has been fished legally.
Mr Higgins, who is a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries, says those involved in illegal practices like overfishing will be punished. "If someone breaks the law, they will face equally severe sanctions wherever they are and whatever their nationality. If they are caught fishing illegally repeatedly, thanks to a new point system they will end up losing their licence."
The Fine Gael MEP added that the EU now has the means to establish a real culture of compliance against overfishing to ensure a sustainable fisheries sector in Europe.
The meeting focused on the key areas of importance to both countries in the Common Fisheries Policy. Minister Coveney said "I consider that the Reform of the CFP to be absolutely crucial to the future of the Irish fishing industry and I am committed to working to deliver a reform package that works for Irish fishermen and also ensures that fish stocks are rebuilt and are managed in a sustainable way. Coastal communities are directly dependent on a healthy fishing industry and the new CFP must deliver long term economic activity and employment for these communities. My experience to date in public life has reinforced the importance of building trust and a positive relationship with key decision makers. My relationship with the Spanish Minister with responsibility for fisheries is important in that regard. Today was an important first step in that relationship".
Minister Coveney and Minister Rosa Aguilar agreed to focus on key elements of the CFP Reform and to develop a mutual understanding in advance of key negotiations later this year. A joint statement on the areas of mutual interest that were discussed is attached. Minister Coveney said "While there are certain areas where Ireland and Spain have opposing positions, particularly in relation to access to fish stocks, there are many areas where both countries have similar concerns. Both countries have coastal communities very dependent on fishing and related activities and the new CFP must be reformed to work positively in the long term to support these communities".
Minister Coveney added "The development of mutual understanding on core issues including effectively addressing discards, will be critical in the negotiations. I am also convinced that the consumer must be given clear information on the origin and production methods of fish in order to be able to make an informed choice. This approach will, I firmly believe, benefit EU fishermen and aquaculture operators who operate under strict environmental and food safety rules. I am seeking to reform the CFP in the area of governance so that stakeholders are given a key input into management arrangements that are developed on a regional basis. Both Minister Rosa Aguilar and myself are convinced of the importance of increased EU funding to support the reformed CFP.
I will be consulting closely with the Irish fishing industry and other stakeholders over the coming weeks so that I have a full understanding of all the issues. We have the opportunity now to deliver real reforms and I consider that we must work closely with other Member States on areas of mutual interest and importance to develop a policy that ensures that there is a future for Irish fishermen and coastal communities".
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."
Commissioner Damanaki has placed discards high on her agenda for the CFP reform and has outlined her demands for solutions to this problem.
Minister Smith said "I fully share the Commissioner's concern about discards. Indeed tackling discards is one of the priorities in Ireland's submission on the review of the CFP and in my opinion must be a fundamental cornerstone of the new Common Fisheries Policy." Minister Smith said "there is no disagreement between Ireland and the Commissioner on the objective to reduce discards, the discussion is about the means to achieve this objective"
In response to the Commissioner's demands for a discards ban Minister Smith said "It is important to recognise that discarding is a complex issue with many differing drivers. A successful solution requires an approach, which recognises the multi-faceted issues, the different dynamics of individual fisheries and areas and delivers real policies and change on a number of fronts. A blanket ban on discards in all fisheries may well be counterproductive as it would not have industry support, it would be difficult to implement and enforce. As a result a blanket discards ban would not work."
The Minister went on to say that "The media has quite rightly focussed a lot of attention on this subject of late. However I believe that a clear road map over a specified time period which will deliver long term and sustainable improvements is preferable to a short term set of measures which may not deliver in the long run.
With regard to Ireland's proposals Minister Smith said "In terms of achieving actual reductions, a phased pre-defined reduction policy approach is far more likely to reduce discards in practice than an outright discards ban. Ireland has for some time been arguing for a fishery specific approach involving remedial actions to reduce or eliminate discards involving changes to fishing gear and fishing practices. We need a suite of measures akin to a "tool box" which will be applied to fisheries as appropriate. These measures would regulate catches within pre-defined limits, discourage fishing activity in specific areas and improve gear selectivity to allow young fish and unwanted catches to escape. Whatever suite of actions are adopted it is my firm contention that the co-operation, collaboration and commitment of the relevant stakeholders is vital for success." Minister Smith emphasised that there has been consultation with industry stakeholders on the issue in Ireland and all are committed to a practical phased reduction of discards on a fishery by fishery basis.
Finally the Minister gave Ireland's full commitment to work proactively with the European Commission, the European Parliament and other Member States to progressively reduce discards, fishery by fishery and to work towards their elimination. He said "This type of approach will deliver on everyone's abiding goal, of a sustainable, economically viable and ecologically friendly fishing industry for future generations."
In preparation for the field trip Des Chew, Project Manager of the Dublin Angling Initiative visited the school and gave the pupils a talk on water quality, the lifecycle of trout and the art of fly-fishing. The pupils then participated in a field trip along the River Dodder, starting at Rathfarnham shopping centre and finishing at the confluence of the Dodder and Owendore rivers at Bushy Park. Minister Lenihan was joined by TV celebrity and angler Derek Davis.
Fisheries staff from Dublin Angling Initiative and Inland Fisheries Ireland took kick samples and were ably assisted by Gerry Heaslip and Brian McDonagh of the Dodder Angling Club. The children identified invertebrates and their delight could be heard far and wide as they found many different species of stonefly and caddis fly! Looking at water pollution indicators, the children could establish that the presence of these different types of invertebrates indicated the good water quality in the river. This is not surprising given the very healthy stock of wild brown trout in the river.
Minister Lenihan, remarked:
'It is wonderful today to see the young people out learning about their local river. The River Dodder is a very important river in south Dublin, it has good water quality, contains a healthy population of wild brown trout and is a wonderful angling resource.
This is in no small part due to the excellent relationship that the Dublin Angling Initiative and Inland Fisheries Ireland have with the Dodder Angling Club'.
Following this the children were given information packs on fish species, invertebrates and fish species posters. St. Pius X School has participated in Inland Fisheries Ireland's 'Something Fishy' programme in previous years and were thrilled to take part in such an exciting field trip of their local river.
The 'Something Fishy' project was developed by Inland Fisheries Ireland (formerly the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards) in association with Blackrock Education Centre and has proved a highly successful way of encouraging young people to take an interest in Irish fish species, their local environment and habitat. In 2010 almost 1,000 young people participated in the Something Fishy programme within the Eastern River Basin District.
Fine Gael has pledged to reinstate the Department of the Marine in its election manifesto published today. Under the heading 'steering the marine' Fine Gael also says it will replace the Boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissions within one year of entering government. The full chapter dealing with Marine is below:
1.11 Supporting the Seafood Sector and Marine
Expanding the Industry: Fine Gael believes Ireland, as an island nation with a strong and valued fishing tradition has huge potential to succeed as a serious competitor in the international seafood sector. The seafood industry currently generates annual revenues of €718 million and provides direct employment for 11,000 people. With an estimated 40 million tonnes of seafood to be required annually by 2030, there is significant scope for further expansion.
Common Fisheries Policy:
We will negotiate the best possible deal for Irish fishermen in the context of the ongoing review of the Common Fisheries Policy. Our priorities are:
• A progressive reduction of discards, fishery by fishery and in all maritime regions in the EU.
• Protection of the Hague Preferences.
• A uniform and transparent regulation regime.
• A clear, independently audited database of infringements across the EU.
• The development of a sustainable aquaculture plan.
• A strong focus on seafood marketing, labelling and country of origin to ensure imports meet the same
standards on safety, hygiene, traceability, recall, information and audit.
Sea Fisheries Bill:
We will publish legislation to replace the criminal sanctions system for minor fisheries offences with an administrative sanction system to bring Ireland into line with other European jurisdictions.
Funding for Fisheries:
Fianna Fáil and Green Party in-fighting has limited Ireland's ability to draw down EU funds for seafood development. We will resolve difficulties blocking the drawdown of available funds. Aquaculture Licensing: An additional 42 million tonnes of farmed seafood will be required to keep pace with demand each year by 2030, just 20 years away. We must increase our raw material supply and expand our aquaculture sector. We will remove administrative obstacles and clear the backlog of aquaculture licences currently preventing the creation of thousands of jobs in the aquaculture sector.
Value Added Products:
Currently, 85% of all Irish seafood is commodity traded. There is a significant opportunity to generate more value from this raw material base. Fine Gael will task Bord Iascaigh Mhara with assisting Irish companies in adding value to their products through innovation.
Single Food Label:
We will create and market a single label for all Irish produce and will drive a targeted marketing campaign to grow the Irish brand in new markets.
1.12 Steering the Marine
Marine and fisheries policy is currently spread across three Departments. Fine Gael will merge these responsibilities under one Department for better co-ordination in policy delivery.
National Marine and Coastal Plan:
We will develop an integrated marine and coastal planning process to reach the full potential of our coastline in fishing, aquaculture, ocean energy and tourism.
We will support the development of our ports and marine sector as important drivers of economic growth. We will also replace the Boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissions within one year of entering government.
The manifesto is HERE
Fine Gael has told Afloat.ie details of its marine policy will be published in its manifesto tomorrow. If that's the case things are looking up for anyone interested in seeing Ireland develop the valuable waters that surround it.
After searching for references to 'sea', 'marine' or 'maritime' only the Labour party has so far made the only significant written commitment to the marine sector in its programme for government. Its manifesto acknowledges that Coastal Communities, Fisheries and the Marine face major challenges in the years ahead, but it is also an area of major economic potential.
Fianna Fail merely says on page 21 of its manifesto that it will ensure that 'an inter-departmental strategy is in place to improve the leisure potential of our harbours and increase marine tourism'.
The Green Party 'Renewing Ireland' document says it will promote the creation of marinas and youth and child friendly water sports to encourage activity and awareness of our maritime country. It also says Ireland will participates in the North Seas Offshore Grid Plan.
There is no reference to the marine in the Sinn Fein 'There is a Better Way' manifesto.
Four party manifestos are available to download below.
Labour's priority will be to develop Ireland as a European hub for seafood processing, which will create sustainable, value-added jobs in coastal communities.
Labour will also develop an Irish seafood strategy to grow the market profile and demand for Irish seafood products. We will support the development of sustainable aquaculture and fish farms by streamlining the licensing process and reducing, as much as possible, the associated bureaucracy. To further assist the development of the sector, responsibility for maritime policy will, as far as is practicable, be concentrated in one department.
Labour will establish a Sea Fisheries Sustainability Impact Assessment based on consultation with all major stakeholders. This report will be brought before the Dáil on an annual basis before EU fisheries negotiations commence, and will ensure that there is a regular evaluation of Irish fish stocks and the effectiveness of current policy and quotas.
Labour is open to the experience and expertise of those whose livelihoods depend on maritime activity. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will engage in an ongoing structured consultation with industry representatives, the marine scientific community and other stakeholders to enable them to contribute to national maritime policy.
Finally, safety at sea and decent working conditions must underpin the development of the fisheries sector. Labour in government will ensure that the Irish Coast Guard has access to an Emergency Towing Vessel.
Dun Laoghaire People before Profit candidate Richard Boyd Barrett who has campaigned under a 'Save our Seafront' banner in the last council elections, is holding a meeting tomorrow night in Dun Laoghaire, the country's largest boating centre to protest against the possible 'privatisation' of the town's harbour.
We're tracking the progress of maritime affairs in the general election and posting details on afloat.ie. Whether you're a candidate or a vote please get in touch with your #ge11 marine news. Contact us via facebook, twitter or our website.
Fishing boats will have to land their entire catch - whether or not the fish are in a saleable condition - according to new European Union proposals.
The Guardian reports that EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki has pledged to bring and end to the "nightmare of discards" in response to the high-profile campaign against the practice of fishermen dumping dead fish from their catch.
Half of all fish in the North Sea - and up to two-thirds in other areas - are thrown back under the quota system implemented under the EU's common fisheries policy.
Damanaki said that her proposed reforms to the system would be phased in over a number of years pending approval by the European parliament.
She acknowledged the concerns of fishermen, who fear the value of their catch will plummet if they are not allowed the choice of which fish to keep, but said they would benefit in the long term as ending discards would help to protect stocks of commercial fish.
Meanwhile, Irish conservation groups have joined a worldwide campaign to put the environment at the heart of the EU's fishing reforms.
The Irish Times reports that Birdwatch Ireland, Coastwatch Europe, the Irish Wildlife Trust and Irish Seal Sanctuary have all signed up to the Ocean 2012 initiative, which hopes to work with the fishing industry to find a balance that preserves both the ecosystem and fishermen's livelihoods.
These figures compare favourably with our European counterparts, reflecting a high level of activity on national and international research and monitoring programmes.
Work duties in 2011 for the Galway based vessels will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submersible ROV Holland 1. The work schedule will facilitate training missions and to carry out essential maintenance work on Ireland's network of data buoys that, in parallel to their research function, supply the vital information on which weather and shipping forecasts are based.
The increased activity of the research vessels reflects the growing imperative to understand and sustainably manage the economic potential of our offshore marine territories, an area over ten times that of Ireland itself.
A major role of the ships' workload will be commercial fish stock assessments. Together they are to devote 141 days on stock surveys in support of the sustainable management of Ireland's fisheries.
The RV Celtic Voyager will conduct underwater television surveys of valuable prawn stocks off the Aran Islands, the Irish and Celtic Seas, working on blue whiting, a survey of herring stocks in the north-west. In addition a comprehensive 54-day annual Irish Groundfish Survey which will take place in stages all around the Irish coast from September to December.
The survey will be the largest undertaken by an Irish research vessel and is essential to providing the scientific data used to inform the annual quota negotiations required in Brussels each year.
At 65.5m RV Celtic Explorer (2,425grt) accommodates 35 personnel and up to 21 scientists and 31.4m RV Celtic Voyager (340grt) with up to 8 scientists and a maximum endurance of 14-day days. For detailed technical specifications of the Dutch built vessels, RV Celtic Explorer, click here to download a PDF file and for the RV Celtic Voyager click here
For further information contact: Dr John Joyce, Communications Manager of Marine Institute on 087 2250871