We work closely with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Industry, compiled information on the distribution and abundance of eggs and larvae, juvenile and adult fish in the waters around Ireland and presented these data to the EU Commission. This presentation was powerful evidence of the biological importance of this area.
There are important juvenile fish nursery areas off the coast of Ireland. Figure 1, below, shows the distribution of age 0 and age 1 hake from joint UK Scottish, Irish and French Groundfish surveys. The importance of the south coast of Ireland can be clearly seen. There are also important nursery areas for herring, cod and haddock in the waters around Ireland.
Figure 1. Hake spawning area
EU Commission Regulation
In 2003 the EU Commission established a "Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA)" off the south west of Ireland and the area is shown on the map below (Figure 2). (Council Regulation (EC) No 1954/2003). In 2003, the EU also established a specific fishing effort regime inside the BSA and outside the BSA for demersal fishing vessels as well as scallop and crab fisheries (i.e. different fishing effort regulations apply inside and outside of the box).
Figure 2. Biologically Sensitive Area