At a meeting hosted by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) on the 8th July, representatives from the six Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) developed and agreed with BIM and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine the terms of reference for the new National Inshore Fisheries Forum launched earlier this year by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.
Forming part of a development package including €1 million in funding and conservation measures for lobster and shrimp; the National Inshore Fisheries Forum will give a voice to representatives of the industry (fishermen using fishing boats of less than 12m in length) around the country.
A National Inshore Fisheries Forum and Regional Inshore Forums will be established this autumn. The aim of the forums is to provide the inshore sector with effective opportunities to develop and implement policies and initiatives relating to the sustainable management of inshore fisheries with 6 nautical miles, consistent with national and EU policies concerning fisheries management, sustainable development and protection of the marine environment. The forums will also implement measures to enable local fishermen to contribute to inshore fisheries management policies.
How does it work?
The National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF), consisting of 2 delegates representing each of the Regional Inshore Forums (RIF) will provide a national platform under which the Regional Inshore Forums (RIF) can interact with each other and with the Department of Agriculture and the marine agencies (BIM, SFPA and the Marine Institute). The NIFF will appoint its own Chair.
The Regional Inshore Forums will be established by the already existing six coastal community structures, the FLAG’s or Fisheries Local Action Groups. The BIM FLAG programme has already proved to be a great success with six groups representing the different regions developing and implementing strategies for their areas that will boost revenue and employment. In this case, each FLAG will establish a Regional Inshore Forum (RIF) for its region as a subgroup of the FLAG. Each RIF will consist of no more than 12 members of which there will be at least one fisheries representative from the corresponding FLAG and at least one environmental representative. Each RIF will select its own Chair and Vice Chair, both of whom will act as delegates to the National Inshore Fisheries Forum.
How are members of the RIF selected?
Members of the RIF will be appointed by the corresponding FLAG on the basis of:
- Their ability to represent the views of the inshore sector
- Their knowledge of inshore fisheries, fish stocks, and fishing methods
- Their capacity to engage on fisheries management issues
On appointing RIF members, each FLAG must strive to make each membership representative of the FLAG’s geographical coverage and the characteristics of the region’s inshore fleet and fisheries. The FLAG’s will advertise publicly to invite expressions of interest for membership of the RIF’s.
Michael Keatinge, BIM’s Director of Fisheries & Training Development outlined the importance of this new initiative; ‘The forums will give the Inshore sector a voice and an opportunity to contribute to how this important fishery is managed and developed. The Inshore sector is too fragmented; this is why we are now putting in place a more structured approach to community-led development using the existing infrastructure of the Fisheries Local Action Groups. We have learnt a great deal from this programme and our experience in this area will greatly benefit the Inshore forums. This is a real and genuine attempt at bottom-up cooperative management’
Download the Inshore Fisheries Forums Terms of Reference (pdf 290Kb)