The ‘Strategy for the Irish Inshore Fisheries Sector 2019-2023‘ represents the first time this sector, which comprises over 80% of Ireland’s fishing fleet, has developed its own sector-specific plan.
Launched by Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in Skerries, Co Dublin (27/2/19), the strategy will frame the work of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) for the next four years.
The strategy sets out a vision for a “prosperous and sustainable future delivered through a united industry with a strong and influential voice,” remarked Minister Creed.
Ireland’s inshore sector comprises fishing boats of less than 12 metres, are predominantly active within six nautical miles of the shore and support up to 3,000 jobs.
The strategy presents four main themes: Organisation & Profile, Management & Planning, Infrastructure & Resources, and Profitability, and outlines specific objectives to develop the sector.
Key issues to be addressed include enhancing business skills, sustainable management of fish stocks, attracting and retaining new entrants to the sector.
“I would like to commend the work done by all those involved in developing [the strategy], particularly the members of the Inshore Fisheries Forums who contributed to this significant landmark step. This Strategy gives a clear blueprint for the future,” remarked Minister Creed.
In 2017, the need for an ‘industry-led’ Strategy was recognised by the NIFF, which was established to be a voice for the inshore sector through dialogue and by creating commonly-supported initiatives.
Strategy architects worked through a Steering Group, comprising industry and State partners, along with NIFF representatives.
The Strategy will be implemented by BIM in an administrative role, in partnership with the NIFF and the sector itself, and is co-funded by the State and under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme.
The NIFF is supported by a network of six regional forums, charged with bringing forward proposals for industry-wide discussion. These forums include inshore fishermen, environmental interests, marine leisure, tourism and other marine-related stakeholders.