Cristina Morgado, Deputy Head of Unit EU Waters and North Atlantic, EFCA; Paschal Hayes, Executive Chairperson, SFPA; Susan Steele, Executive Director, EFCA; and Michael Finn, Authority Member, SFPA; aboard the Lundy Sentinel in Cork Harbour. Photo: Damian Coleman

Irish and EU joint fishery plan showcased

A collaborative development plan between Irish and European fishing authorities was showcased in Cork Harbour recently to mark World Fisheries Day.

The joint development plan (JDP), a collaboration between the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), involves the deployment of the EFCA chartered Lundy Sentinel in Irish waters to support ongoing fishery protection services work.

Showcased in Cork Harbour last Sunday, the plan aims to provide additional operational capabilities to promote compliance with sea-fisheries legislation in Irish waters of EU and non-EU flagged vessels. It will provide important support for the SFPA’s work in ensuring the sustainability of Ireland’s marine resources and protecting the long-term viability of the sea-fisheries industry. The SFPA is the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the sea-fisheries and the sea-food production sectors in Ireland.

Paschal Hayes, Executive Chairperson of SFPA said: “Protecting the long-term viability and health of our marine ecosystems and ensuring long-term sustainability for our fishing industries and communities is an issue of significance not only here in Ireland but across Europe.

“Our work with the EFCA is a critical element in supporting the overall remit of the SFPA to ensure the sustainability and future viability of Ireland’s sea-fisheries and marine resources, an industry that supports over 16,500 jobs in coastal communities across Ireland.”

The EFCA is a European Union body established in 2005 to organise operational coordination of fisheries control and inspection activities by the member states.

Susan Steele, Executive Director of the EFCA said: “Our work strongly contributes towards sustainable fisheries by enhancing compliance with existing conservation and management measures to the benefit of present and future generations.

“This is a valuable aspect to the patrol where inspectors from different Member States work together to deliver harmonized fisheries control with the support of EFCA liaison on board and the EFCA coordination centre in Vigo.”

Ms Steele added, for the first time, an EFCA directed aircraft will also operate in Irish waters in tandem with the patrol ship Lundy Sentinel, transmitting live aerial patrol footage to the EFCA centre in Vigo, Spain, and the Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) in Haulbowline.

EFCA JDPs are a year-round activity covering a wide range of fisheries with the permanent exchange of information and intelligence and control activities planned based on risk assessment results in consultation with member states. Ireland participates in JDPs in Western Waters, North Sea and the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission.