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Natura 2000 Regulations

The designation of Natura sites on Ireland’s coast has the potential to impact on fisheries and aquaculture in those areas. Such fishing and aquaculture activities need to be controlled and protected through Natura fisheries permits, declarations and notices.

In order to allow for the continuing activity of fisheries and aquaculture in Natura sites, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine enacted the following Statutory Instruments that regulate and control by means of Declarations and permits for fishing and aquaculture activities in these areas:

European Union (Birds and Natural Habitats) (Sea-fisheries) Regulations 2013

The European Union (Birds and Natural Habitats) (Sea Fisheries) Regulations 2013 provide for a process for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to prepare and publish a fisheries Natura plan, which includes provision for receiving representations.

Where the Minister publishes a Natura plan he/she may issue a Fisheries Natura Declaration in respect of a designated area. Contravention of a Fisheries Natura Declaration constitutes an offence. The purpose of a Fisheries Natura Declaration is to provide for the regulation of activities in the area subject to the plan. Regulation of activities may include:

  • Fishing by class or description
  • Prohibition on use of fishing gear by class
  • Fishing by sea fishing boats by class or description
  • Limiting fishing by means other than sea fishing boats
  • Regulation of fishing periods, species
  • Requirements on the notification of fishing and landing, and the use of location devices.


Natura Permits

Where the Fisheries Natura Declaration requires the that fishing activities in the designated area shall only be permissible by means of a permit, then the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine may, on application, issue Fisheries Natura Permits, to authorise fishing activities in the designated area. Further information is available at this link:

Natura Permits