Sustainability can sometimes be perceived as a constraint rather than a responsibility. But it is in the interest of the Irish seafood sector to ensure that there are always fish to catch and farm. We need to ensure that future generations of children and grandchildren can always make a living from Irish seafood. Protecting our natural environment – which supports seafood – will sustain the sector for the long term. These two outcomes are not opposed; they are intrinsically linked. BIM will continue to work with the Irish seafood sector to help them to access the potential offered by working in a sustainable way. Collaboration and cooperation with partners such as the Marine Institute will be key to achieving this goal.
Develop a unified sustainability standard
BIM will lead the sector in a campaign of reasserting the sustainability credentials of Irish seafood. Building on the foundation of existing programmes, we will develop and promote a single sustainability and quality standard for all Irish seafood. This standard will respect the needs of the sector, meet the desires and concerns of the consumer, and help protect the marine environment. By the end of our five-year plan, this standard will have been defined, created, and communicated to consumers.
Reduce and re-use waste
Catching, farming, and processing seafood inevitably leads to waste. BIM will collaborate with the sector, at every stage in the production chain, to better manage this waste. Our aim is to minimise or eliminate where possible, to reduce or mitigate, or to find uses and applications for by-products which have the potential to become products, ingredients, or raw materials. We will help the Irish seafood sector to explore the economic potential of waste, rather than see it as cost-intensive problem. Finally, we want to ensure that the seafood sector continues to protect the natural environment.
Respond to climate change
The Irish seafood sector needs to know more about the anticipated impacts of climate change. They need to learn about its long-term effect on the viability of some activities, and the potential impact this will have on livelihoods. This is a community experienced in dealing with challenge, and in finding the strength to respond together to adversity. But they need the help of BIM and partner agencies to get the information, support and responses that are now required.
BIM will help the sector adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, and to reduce the impacts of those changes we can mitigate together. We will do this with an approach that is innovative, practical and action oriented. The scope of response needed for this scale of challenge must be embraced with ambition. By 2026, we will have helped the Irish seafood sector develop a comprehensive range of climate change responses.
Protect and restore biodiversity
To reflect all the above objectives, BIM will develop and activate solutions in response to biodiversity loss. We will do this by working together with the sector, and with local, national and EU sources of knowledge and funding.