Following the Inshore Fishery Structures, Development and Conservation package announced earlier this year by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D; BIM in partnership with the Department, recently organised the kick off meetings of the Regional Inland Fisheries Forum’s or RIFF’s representing the North, North West, West, South West, South-East and North East regions.
Members of the North-East Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum (RIFF) with BIM, Marine Institute and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine representatives pictured at BIM’s Dun Laoghaire office for their first briefing meeting. Tasked with contributing to the development of Ireland’s valuable Inshore fishing sector, all six RIFFs have now elected a Chair and Vice Chair to the overall consultative body, the National Inshore Fisheries Forum. Front row: Catherine Barrett, BIM; Aoife Healy, Ian Lawler, BIM; Juan Blanes, Oliver Tully, Marine Institute Back row: Ciaran Gallagher, Martin Hoey, Ronan Faulkner, Pete Callanan, Seamus Kirk, Richard Guildea, Roni Crowley, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnny Woodlock
The Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum’s tie in with the already existing Fisheries Local Action Group’s or FLAG’s around the coast and two representatives (Chair and Vice Chair) have now been elected by each RIFF to represent their respective regions on the National Inland Fisheries Forum.
Designed to develop Ireland’s valuable inshore fishery and to encourage greater coordination and communication within the sector, all of the RIFF meetings were very positive and the election of two representatives from each RIFF to the NIFF signals a significant step forward in the process.
Worth an estimated €25 million, Ireland’s Inshore Fishery is a small but valuable resource that has suffered in recent years due to high fuel charges, storm damage and market competition. Irish Inshore fishing boats are deemed to be sea-fishing boats of less than 12m. These boats predominately operate within 6 nautical miles of the shore. Figures from the national register at the end of December 2013 indicate that there are 1,773 inshore fishing boats in the Irish fleet. The sector is fragmented and it is hoped that industry involvement in the Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums will improve representation and communication for this vital fishing sector.
Michael Keatinge, BIM’s Interim CEO and Fisheries Development Director stressed the importance of industry commitment; ‘I would like to acknowledge Minister Coveney’s role in driving this initiative from the start and while we are still at the early stages of this venture, it is encouraging to now have representative groups elected by the local communities to take ownership, with support from BIM and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to develop Ireland’s inshore fisheries in terms of revenue, employment, conservation and fisheries management. We are looking forward to each of the group’s contributions to the National Inshore Fisheries Forum at the end of the month’
The RIFF representatives* (please see below) recently elected will be responsible for representing their region’s interests at the next National Inshore Fisheries Forum meeting provisionally scheduled for the last week in November.
The following representatives were elected by their respective Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum and will represent their regions on the National Inshore Fisheries Forum:
- Shane McGee, Operations Manager, Errigal Seafoods Ltd. (Chair)
- Jerry Early, Aranmore Island Fisherman, Member of North FLAG, Established DIMRO Donegal Islands Marine Resource Organisation. (Vice Chair)
North West RIFF:
- Eamon Dixon, Fisherman from Mayo. Chairman of Comhar Cumann Iascairi chos Chosta Iorrais, a representative body of 60 members all of whom are licenced and registered vessel owners. Eamon is also the Vice Chairman of North West FLAG Board and a Board member of Responsible Irish Fish.(Chair)
- Ciaran Quinn, Fisherman from Clew Bay (Vice Chair)
- Micheál Ó Goill representing Galway Islands Fishermen (Chair)
- Patrick Mullins: Full time fisherman from Galway Bay Inshore Fishermen’s Association (Vice Chair)
- Eddie Moore: Full time commercial Fisherman, West Kerry (Chair)
- Alex Crowley: Full time commercial Fisherman, South Kerry (Vice Chair)
- Trudy McIntyre, Fishery representative, Dunmore East (Chair)
- Charlie Featherstone, Fishery representative, Wicklow (Vice Chair)
- Richard Guildea, Bi-valve fisherman, Skerries (Chair)
- Juan Blanes, Sales Manager, Glenmar Shellfish, Dublin (Vice Chair)