Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Fishing Industry

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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398. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the call by a fishing representative organisation (details supplied) regarding the differentiation of small-scale fishery products in the market through traceability, community-supported fisheries and direct, short-chain marketing schemes, empowering fishing organisations to become price makers. [2682/23]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) sets down a legal framework for the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. Within this legal framework, I consistently work to support the interests of inshore fishers.

Bord Bia has responsibility for the promotion and marketing of Irish food in domestic and international markets and continues to work closely with the seafood sector to develop new higher value markets. Their seafood promotions focus on all types of seafood from small and large producers, encouraging domestic consumers to actively seek out Irish seafood and promote it on the basis of its quality, range and responsible sourcing credentials. I announced a Brexit Inshore Marketing Scheme in March 2022 to assist the inshore fisheries sector to mitigate the impacts of Brexit by growing value in existing markets and developing new markets. As part of this scheme, Bord Bia implemented a marketing plan for supporting the sales and promotion of inshore species such as Irish crab, lobster, whelks, inshore herring/mackerel/hake/pollock on both the domestic and export markets. I can advise the Deputy that the valuable work on this dedicated inshore marketing scheme is continuing in 2023.

The short chain of locally caught and consumed seafood products is encouraged and promoted where possible. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, has supported a number of such initiatives and I have recently engaged with BIM on exploring new product opportunities for the Mackerel Hook and Line fishery. BIM continues to assess how European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) supports can be designed so that appropriate groups or organisations can seek support for such initiatives.

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 on Producer Organisation establishment so as to generate greater marketing and promotional capacity. In 2021, my Department recognised the Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation as a Producer Organisation and consideration of the application by a further association representing inshore fishers for recognition as a Producer Organisation is at an advanced stage in the assessment process.

The Common Market Organisation (CMO) forms part of the CFP and deals with post-harvesting/catching activities in relation to fishery and aquaculture products under Regulation (EU) No. 1379/2013. This includes setting out provisions for the establishment of Producer Organisations, common marketing standards which work alongside conservation measures to ensure the provision of high quality, sustainable products, and consumer information rules to support consumers in making informed purchasing choices. A report on the application of the CMO Regulation will form part of the report on the functioning of the CFP which the European Commission will be presenting to the European Parliament and Council. It is my understanding that this report will be released in the coming weeks.


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