The fisheries resource is the bedrock of the Irish seafood industry. The waters around Ireland contain some of the most productive fishing grounds and biologically sensitive areas in the EU. In 2010, an estimated 1.3 million tonnes of fish were taken by the fishing fleets of EU member states from the waters around Ireland (ICES Sub-areas VI & VII). Ireland landed 259,500 tonnes of these fish or 23% of the international landings. The main fish species caught were mackerel, horse mackerel, boarfish, blue whiting, herring, cod, whiting, haddock, saithe, hake, megrim, anglerfish, plaice, sole and Nephrops.
Fish stocks (excluding the Inshore stocks) are managed by the EU under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The main instrument of the CFP are Total Allowable Catches (TACs) supplemented by various technical measures (e.g. effort control; mesh size). The provision of timely and accurate fisheries advice on the resource base underpins the management framework of the CFP. Inshore fish stocks (e.g. whelk, cockle) are managed nationally and the Marine Institute works closely with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) through the inshore management. The Inshore Fisheries Atlas provides details of fishing activity in the inshore waters (up to 10 miles from the Irish coast).
Key Fisheries Related Publications
- The Stock Book 2012: The Marine Institute Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS) team produces The Stock Book annually, which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. It contains impartial scientific advice developed by the team (working with other international scientists) from the latest available research, assessments and advice on the fisheries resource and the wider marine ecosystem.
- Atlas of Irish Fish Trawl Surveys - Supporting Fish Stock Assessment and New Ecosystem Advice: This Atlas presents key results from the Irish groundfish survey programme which is carried out annually in the waters around Ireland, and the Deepwater programme conducted between 2006 and 2009.
- Atlas of Demersal Discarding – Scientific Observations and Potential Solutions: This Atlas provides information on discarding patterns by species and area by the various Irish demersal fleets. A number of potential technical measures to reduce discards are shown as well as two case studies showing the potential impact technical measures have on landings and discards.
- MEFEPO North Western Waters Atlas: This Atlas includes general summary information on the physical and chemical features, habitat types, biological features, birds, mammals, fishing activity and other human activities of the NWW region.
- The Shellfish Stocks and Fisheries Review: Focusing specifically on the inshore sector, it gives an overview of Shellfisheries legislation, management and economic value in Ireland and assessment of selected stocks.
- Atlas of the Commercial Fisheries Around Ireland: This Atlas gives information, for the main fisheries, on Total Allowable Catches (TACs), landings trends and fishing activity (effort levels) in the waters around Ireland. It is intended to inform the debate on the review of the CFP, formally scheduled for 2012.
The collection of data on the fisheries resource provides the raw material for the FEAS work programmes. There are two main sources of data collected and used by fisheries scientists; fishery independent and fishery dependent data. The first usually involves monitoring the temporal and spatial changes in the fish populations using fisheries surveys on commercial vessels and purpose built research vessels (RV. Celtic Explorer & RV. Celtic Voyager). Fishery dependant data involves collecting and analysing biological data (age, length etc.) of the fish caught, together with data on the quantities of fish caught and the fishing effort.
The marine Institute hosts a dedicated site for all information relevant to the DCMAP (Data Collection Multi Annual Programme) funded by the EU, which can be found at www.dcmap-ireland.ie
Working with Industry
Working with industry is a key aspect of the Marine Institute programmes. Engagement with industry takes place at many levels. The Irish Fisheries Science Research Partnership (IFSRP) involves industry representatives and scientist from both Marine Institute and BIM and meeting on a regular basis throughout the year to discuss scientific work programmes and priorities. In the ports and at sea Marine Institute staff rely on the co-operation of individual skippers to provide invaluable samples required to conduct scientific assessments and investigations. Collaborative stakeholder engagement is a cornerstone of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).
- For information on past and ongoing research, please see the Projects Database.
- For information on possible funding opportunities, please see the Funding pages.