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SFPA welcomes court ruling on shellfish offences
Sunday, May 06, 2018/Number of views (847)

Clonalkilty, Co Cork, 4th May 2018            The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has welcomed the ruling by Judge Timothy Lucey at Waterford District Court this week in which he imposed total fines of €2,500 on businessman, Mr Ronan Forde of Ferrybank, Waterford, arising from a joint investigation by the SFPA and An Garda Síochána into attempts to export Irish shellfish illegally. Mr Forde had pleaded guilty to five offences including food safety and hygiene breaches as well as document forgery.

Commenting on the verdict, Dr Susan Steele, Chair of Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, the independent state agency responsible for the regulation of sea-fisheries and the seafood production sector, said the ruling recognised the potentially serious consequences of the breaches to public health. “Ireland has world-class systems in place to ensure Irish seafood is safe to eat. It is very disappointing when individuals try to circumvent them, threatening consumer health and undermining the reputation of the industry,” she said.

Dr Steele reiterated the SFPA’s commitment to detecting and enforcing non-compliance.  “Compliance with food safety regulations is critical.  Consumers at home and abroad must be able to eat Ireland’s seafood safely. Furthermore, their trust in the quality, provenance and safety of our seafood produce is essential to maintain the growing reputation it enjoys across the world. Without that good reputation, the future of the industry on which so many rural communities rely will be threatened,” she added.

The evidence presented by the SFPA detailed the seriousness of the infringements before the court in terms of the impact of exporting shellfish without proper certification and provenance due to the risk of contamination and illness for the subsequent buyer and consumer of these products.

Mr Forde was fined €1,000 for forging a Shellfish Registration Document, a record containing important traceability data, including the date and location of harvesting, which must accompany all batches of shellfish.  Judge Lucey also fined Mr. Forde €500 for failing to ensure adherence with food safety law and a further €500 for failing to notify the appropriate authority of each stage of production, processing and distribution of shellfish, in compliance with regulations. A further offence of failing to ensure hygiene requirements was taken into consideration. Finally, Mr Forde was fined €500 for failing to register as food business operator.

All food businesses operating in the seafood sector are required to register their business with the SFPA, which is responsible for the control of the food safety systems around all seafood production by fishermen or farmers throughout the production chain as far as but not including retail.  



Clonakilty Shelfish Information Event cancelled
Tuesday, October 17, 2017/Number of views (1038)

The Shellfish Information Event scheduled for Clonakilty on Wednesday October 18th has been cancelled until further notice due to travel concerns in the aftermath of Storm Ophelia.

Shellfish Regional Information Events 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017/Number of views (1268)

The Shellfish Regional Information Events will be held around the coast again in October and November. These events are run by the FSAI with the assistance of the SFPA, the MI and BIM. The events  are an important opportunity for samplers, the shellfish industry and others involved in ensuring shellfish safety to hear about the latest updates and discuss issues with the agencies involved in the Shellfish Monitoring Programme. Registration for the events will be through the FSAI website

The presentations will cover a range of topics of interest to shellfish operators such as biotoxin sampling and reporting, microbiological classification, new legislation, Food Safety Management Systems, food incidents, new risks and exports.

All events will start with registration and refreshments at 9am.

The event will conclude with a light lunch at 1pm

To register for one of these free half day events please go to the FSAI website:

Or phone Lorna Tallon on 01 – 8171398.




Registration  Time



18th Oct



SFPA Offices Clonakilty

Donegal Town

24th Oct



Mill Park Hotel


25th Oct



Clayton Hotel

Dublin 2nd Nov Thurs 9am Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley

SFPA co-hosts international conference on molluscan shellfish safety
Monday, May 22, 2017/Number of views (1395)


Clonakilty, 16th May 2017             More than 200 international delegates are attending the 11th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (ICMSS) taking place this week at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Co-hosted by the SFPA, the Marine Institute, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Irish Shellfish Association and NUI Galway, the ICMSS is the only international conference that focuses specifically on molluscan shellfish safety. Previously the conference has taken place in New Zealand, Canada, France, Spain, Australia, USA, and Chile.


The event brings together food safety professionals, scientists, regulators and industry experts to exchange ideas, information and the latest research findings, and also offers the opportunity for delegates to review the current and future prospects in molluscan shellfish safety.


Public health specialist Dorothy-Jean McCoubrey, who has more than 30 years of experience in regulatory roles in New Zealand, is the keynote speaker.   Other speakers during the five-day event include Jim Oliver, Bonnie Cone Distinguished Professor and Professor of Microbiology at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (USA) and Andrew Turner, Principle Chemist at Cefas Weymouth Food Safety Group (UK). In addition, the ICMSS will include a series of workshops on Friday 19 May that explore new technologies and regulatory matters in food safety.


On Thursday, the SFPA will present the Donal O’Callaghan memorial award for the best poster displayed at the event, in memory of the late Director of Food Safety who died suddenly last year.





Donegal Fish Processor gets six-month suspended prison sentence. Fined €45,000 for tampering with weighing scales
Thursday, March 30, 2017/Number of views (2348)

30th March 2017 A Donegal fish processing plant and a company director have been fined €45,000 in total for tampering with weighing scales used to measure incoming fish catches. This follows a joint investigation carried out by NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).


Norfish Ltd, based in Killybegs, and director Tony Byrne, were handed down the sentence yesterday at Donegal Circuit Court. Mr. Byrne was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay €10,000 to a local hospice in Killybegs, and a further €10,000 to the Donegal Branch of the RNLI. Norfish Ltd was given three months to pay a €25,000 fine.


The inspection carried out by NSAI’s Legal Metrology division followed an alert from the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, which had uncovered non-compliance during an unannounced inspection. The SFPA noticed that fish were being carried along a conveyor belt and over the flow scales, but were not being weighed. The SFPA withdrew Norfish Ltd’s permit to weigh on site at this time and Legal Metrology conducted an inspection under Metrology Legislation on the 4th of December, 2013. It found that an electrical switch had been fitted to the company’s flow scales used to weigh incoming fish catches. This switch could be used to turn off the scales, allowing the fish to pass over without being weighed. Tampering with measuring instruments used in trade and rendering them inaccurate as a result is an offence under the Legal Metrology Act 1996.


Susan Steele, Chair, SFPA said the verdict is an important outcome for the fishing industry. “Mis-weighing distorts the declaration of catches and undermines the accuracy of data on stocks used by scientists to determine quotas and could affect the long term sustainability of our valuable fisheries and the coastal communities that rely on them.”


“Breaches such as these also threaten the continuation of in-factory weighing for the entire industry, which is permitted under a special exemption negotiated with the SFPA.  This facility can continue only while the accuracy and correct use of those weighing systems is guaranteed,” she added.


EU fishery regulations require all fishery produ

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