Ensuring a level playing field
Ireland enjoys a vast sea area (10 times the land size); fertile, full of fish, clean unpolluted waters onto the Atlantic. That brings both opportunity and responsibility for Ireland. Ireland has a safe, innovative industry that is recognised and respected world wide while its fish-products are acknowledged globally as healthy and nutritious foods. Food Harvest 2020 and Harvesting our Ocean Wealth set out the shared vision of the Government and key stakeholders. Those road maps align completely with the SFPA vision that looks for coasts full of jobs, seas full of fish. Ireland has experienced development, scientific and regulatory agencies and now these increased funds will facilitate the achievement of this shared vision and, in the case of the SFPA, the successful implementation of its strategy over the coming years.
How will EMFF money make a difference?
The EMFF funding is a key part of a reformed and reforming Common Fisheries Policy. Ireland has set out a vision for a seafood industry today, and tomorrow, and into the future. This extra funding provides the opportunity to ensure a sustainable present and future for the seafood industry and for the seas and to safeguard the future for Irish seafood. Key features in a reformed and reforming CFP include the reduction of discarded fish and the regionalisation of certain aspects of fisheries management. All of this points to better times ahead for the fishing industry where the exploitation of valuable fisheries resources is managed more thoughtfully and less wastefully for the benefit of producers and consumers alike.
Good regulation underpins everything in these visions. The marine resource is a shared resource for which many actors - big and small – compete. Good regulation is required to protect it and to ensure fish for future generations as well as ensuring consumers world wide can enjoy Irish seafood safely. Good regulators, regardless of their industry or sector, work with all the key stakeholders to deliver fair, effective transparent solutions. The SFPA will do likewise. Ireland’s fishery protection responsibilities extend far beyond the Irish fleet. Significant fleets of non-Irish vessels fish in waters under Ireland’s jurisdiction, and their compliance is a significant pillar of the equitable basis of the distribution of marine resources off Ireland’s shores.
How will the money be used?
The work of the SFPA supports the livelihoods of some 7,000 Irish fishing industry workers. The SFPA is committed to the continuously fair and sustainable management of the seas, supporting a culture where compliance is the norm. The EMFF money will be used by the SFPA towards achieving this, working together with the Naval Service, Air Corps and the Department.
Specifically, EMFF funding will be used to develop new technologies for managing data, conducting risk analysis and revamping IFIS, VMS, AIS and ERS. The SFPA is going to make it easier to verify compliance, and detect non compliance. The EMFF funding will help the SFPA to develop better risked-based inspection and monitoring programmes where the SFPA intends to combine effective and efficient compliance verification together with targeted enforcement so as to protect the interests of those who uphold the rules for sustainable fishing against those who seek to plunder commonly owned resources for their own short-term profit.
The SFPA is going to develop a common information sharing environment across fishery control partners while also improving interaction with other EU member states. EMFF funding will be also used to support innovation, working with the Department to deliver smart solutions to make it easier to monitor, control and enforce compliance. This will particularly be relevant in relation to the implementation of the new landing obligation, which the SFPA has prioritized during 2015.
As well as assisting with fish on landing, EMFF funding will be also used to support the systems which enable the SFPA to trace the fish and the sales of the fish from Ireland to the growing number of markets abroad.
EMFF funding will facilitate the introduction of education and compliance programs for fishermen to further promote and support a culture of compliance.
EMFF funding will be used towards joint patrols, inspectors visiting and travelling to other key EU ports to carry out inspections, joint training courses to ensure reporting /logging is consistent, whether fish caught in Irish water is landed here or in non-Irish ports. EMFF supported risk analysis systems will lead to more effective sea inspection and air surveillance regime and aligned shore based regime.
EMFF funding will be used to renew and upgrade ships and aircraft, substantially deployed in fishery protection throughout the Irish EEZ.
What are the benefits?
This money will continue the SFPA’s efforts to create a level playing pitch within the Irish EEZ and wider. It will benefit the people of Ireland on whose behalf the SFPA regulates, helping to safeguard the future of Ireland’s seas and the reputation of the sea-fishing industry. It will also benefit the 7,000 people who make their living from Ireland’s seas, the vast majority of whom operate within the requirements of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The SFPA aims to protect them through supporting and promoting a culture where compliance is the norm.
The vision for the SFPA is to make compliance easy for them. The SFPA will work with the Department to develop IT systems that make it easy for everyone - from a day lobster fisherman up to a super trawler - to be compliant and to prove it. The EMFF money will be spent on communication, on information and on accessible advice.
There is a small group of people who choose not to be compliant. These people threaten Ireland’s marine resources. They have the potential to damage the livelihoods of over 7,000 people and their families and destroy the reputation of Ireland. This funding will help the SFPA ensure that these will be detected and stopped.
This funding presents an important opportunity for the fulfilment of the collective vision for Ireland’s marine resource. The EMFF funding is going to allow the SFPA and its aligned fishery protection partners to support and promote a culture where compliance is the norm and stop those who are determined not to be compliant leading to a safe sustainable future for Ireland’s incredible resource.
Further information on Irelands EMFF Programme is available on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine at this link: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/emff/