Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Mr. Tony Killeen T.D. today (Friday 26th February) launched a special “Review of Irish Shellfisheries” at the Irish Skipper Expo 2010 in Galway. The report is a joint effort between the Marine Institute’s Inshore Fisheries Team and the Inshore Fisheries Section in Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), with large inputs from industry. Irish wild-caught shellfish fisheries include some sixteen species of crab, lobster, scallop, cockle and prawn valued at first point of sale at around €39 million to the economy in 2008.
“This report is a positive example of collaboration between two agencies in the interest of sustainable fisheries and the preservation of jobs in the catching sector,” said Minister Killeen. “Not only does it provide an overview of legislation that impinges on operators in the shellfish industry, but it also gives information on landings, value and profitability in the catching sector. The report updates scientific advice on a selected number of stocks for which there are particular management initiatives currently under discussion or being developed. It will be a valuable reference source for the Department in legislating for and protecting this valuable industry."
Dr. Oliver Tully of the Marine Institute, one of the authors of the report, said that while the fishing industry is a customer for the report, it was also a significant data provider and could be seen as a ‘third partner’ in its production. The report relies significantly on data voluntarily provided by operators in the industry through submission of privately held information or through various science-industry collaborations.
“This report is not only a reference for industry on the viability of the sector but also provides technical advice to DAFF and the shellfish species advisory groups on shellfish stocks and their management,” said Dr. Tully. “For example the advice on lobster is relevant to proposed changes to licensing policy which were subject to public consultation in 2008 and provides an assessment of the efficacy of the v-notch programme which was co-funded by industry and the NDP from 2002-2007.”
Speaking on behalf of BIM, Dr. Ian Lawlor said; ‘We were delighted to work with the Marine Institute on the compilation of this important publication. As a scientist and through my role in the development of the inshore fishing sector, I find it very satisfying to see the full value of industry data collected by BIM being used to inform a wide range of stakeholders on the vital contribution the Irish shellfish industry provides to our economy. I am confident that this publication will prove central to the management of Ireland’s inshore fisheries over the coming years.’
“Review of Irish Shellfisheries” is available from both the Marine Institute and BIM.