Minister Coveney Launches Atlas of Marine Fisheries

Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine launched the Marine Institute’s Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Irelandin Dublin today (27th March 2014).

The Atlas will be disseminated at a meeting of fishing industry representatives, environmental NGOs and scientists from Ireland, France, UK, Belgium, Portugal and Spain at Dublin Castle today. The meeting, part of the EU funded GEPETO project, will examine case studies on complex management issues associated with mixed fisheries in the Celtic Sea, Bay of Biscay and Iberian waters. The project aims to put in place the building blocks for integrated long-term fisheries management plans at a regional scale.

Minister Coveney welcomed the Atlas saying:

“New policy directions within the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, such as a regionalised approach and discard ban require better information. The Atlas of Commercial Fisheries presents complex data in a very visual way using informative maps, making it accessible to a whole range of stakeholders. It brings a new level of transparency in terms of fishing activities and offers new possibilities in terms of spatial management of mixed fisheries.”

A new reformed CFP was agreed last May between Member States and the European Parliament. The agreement was reached after lengthy and complex negotiations under the Irish presidency, led by Minister Simon Coveney.

The Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland is the second of its kind published by the Marine Institute. It shows the distribution of fishing activities in Irish waters by gear and country. Fishing grounds as well as the distribution of landings for all the main commercial species is also shown at high resolution.

The Atlas has been developed in parallel with an online Atlas of Fisheries over a wider area within the EU funded GEPETO project. Dr. Colm Lordan, Marine Institute, co-author of the Atlas explains: “We can visualise and analyse complex scientific data and models as never before. The main challenge is to communicate the information in a way that is useful and understandable to stakeholders”.

“The philosophy behind the GEPETO project is to replace the existing top-down management paradigm with a bottom-up approach in line with the new Common Fisheries Policy which is transparent, evidence based and developed in collaboration with the stakeholders. We have an opportunity to reshape the future of fisheries management and ensure a sustainable resource base and industry for future generations”.

The Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland is available to download free at

The GEPETO project is co-funded under the European Union regional development fund. For more information visit


For more information please contact

Lisa Fitzpatrick, Communications Manager, Marine Institute

Tel, 091 387390 / 0872250871

Notes for Editors

The GEPETO project is a two year project with a total budget of €1.5m and is scheduled to be finished in July 2014. The General Coordination of the GEPETO project is carried out by Galicia’s CETMAR. Project partners include the following scientific partners: The Marine Institute in Ireland, IFREMER in France, IEO in Spain and AZTI in the Basque country, IPMA and the University of the Azores in Portugal. Fishing, environmental and other interest groups are represented by the North Western Waters and South Western Waters Regional Advisory Councils which are involved in the project.