Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Inshore Fisheries

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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159. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures he and his Department are taking and implementing to support inshore fishing. [16957/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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I can advise the Deputy that I meet directly with the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) to hear the concerns and goals of the inshore fishing sector. The NIFF and its supporting network of six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums are consultative bodies established to foster industry-led development of proposals for the management of fish stocks within six nautical miles of the Irish shore. Since their inception, the Forums have developed initiatives to protect the future of the inshore sector. The NIFF brought forward the first industry-led Strategy for the sector in 2019 and is now implementing this with support from my Department, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and other agencies. The Strategy flowed from an extensive consultation process that engaged the inshore sector and other stakeholders.

In relation to financial supports, my Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-2020 has made public funding available for the sustainable development of our fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors. This Programme has been providing a range of financial supports to our inshore fishing sector for capital investment on board and ashore, for training and for organisation and capacity building within the sector, while State bodies provide a range of services to the inshore fleet including advisory services and stock conservation supports. The new European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund Regulation (2021/1139) was adopted in July 2021 and work is well advanced on preparing my Department's new Seafood Development Programme 2021-2027. I anticipate that this new Programme will be adopted later in 2022.

I established the Seafood Sector Task Force last year to examine the implications of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union and the UK for the Irish fishing industry and coastal communities. In October 2021, the Task Force, which included stakeholders from the inshore fisheries sector, recommended a range of Brexit support schemes costing €423m. These include the Brexit Inshore Fisheries Business Model Adjustment Scheme which provides payments to inshore fishers to adapt their business operations to the post-Brexit environment. I announced the Brexit Inshore Marketing Scheme on 25 March to support Bord Bia in assisting the inshore fisheries sector to mitigate the impacts of Brexit by growing value in existing markets and developing new markets. A Task Force recommendation on the development of an inshore decommissioning scheme is also being actively examined in consultation with industry stakeholders.

In the Programme for Government - Our Shared Future, the Government commits to ensuring “that inshore waters continue to be protected for smaller fishing vessels and recreational fishers and that pair trawling will be prohibited inside the six-mile limit.” I am fully supportive of this objective. The Government also committed to supporting the inshore sector with establishing a Producer Organisation to generate greater marketing and promotional capacity. In 2021, my Department recognised the Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation as a Producer Organisation.

My Department is committed to supporting the inshore community and the wider seafood sector in achieving its potential. I look forward to continuing my engagement with the NIFF and working on how this can be best achieved together.


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