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Fair Regulation for Sustainable Industry

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The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has launched its new strategy, which sets out its key priorities for the regulation of the State’s sea-fisheries and sea food sectors until 2017. The sectors, which employ over 11,000 people, are worth a combined an estimated €850 million¹ annually to the Irish economy.  The independent regulator enforces the EU Common Fisheries Policy and sea-fisheries law generally and food safety law relating to fish and fishery products. Its mandate covers all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200 mile limit, over 2,114² Irish registered fishing vessels wherever they operate and all seafood produced in Ireland’s 170³ seafood processing companies.

The SFPA’s new strategy was developed to meet the challenges of a constantly changing regulatory environment and support Food Harvest 2020 and Harnessing our Ocean Wealth, the shared visions of Government and key stakeholders for the major sustainable development of the sector.

Introducing the new strategy, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence said: “The SFPA, together with the Naval Services, have a significant role to play as we face into significant challenges in the coming years under the new Common Fisheries Policy. The introduction of the discards ban from 2015 will see many fundamental changes in fishing industry practice. These changes will lead to a sustainable industry and a secure future for fishermen and their families. This strategy also comes at a very important time in the development of Ireland’s seafood sector and I have every confidence the SFPA will continue to make a huge contribution to our ambitions for its growth.”

Susan Steele, Chair of the SFPA, said: “The SFPA is strongly committed to playing its part in ensuring a strong future for the Irish Fishing Industry, working in consultation with all stakeholders, and in particular with our Consultative Committee. Ireland has a safe, innovative fishing industry that is recognised and respected worldwide, while its fish products are acknowledged globally as healthy and nutritious foods. Robust confidence in an effective regulatory service plays a key role in maintaining that reputation and in ensuring fair and sustainable usage of a shared marine resource for which many compete. Good regulation is required to protect it and ensure fish for future generations as well as ensuring consumers worldwide can enjoy Irish seafood safely.”

The SFPA provides consultation, advisory and technical support services on matters of fisheries and seafood policy to the Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence. It also operates through a network of regional port offices situated at Ireland’s main fishery harbours - Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Killybegs, Kilmore Quay and Howth. In conjunction with both national and international control partners, including the Irish Naval Service and Air Corps, the SFPA operates a risk and intelligence based approach towards detecting and deterring non-compliance.  Its collaboration with relevant industry and state bodies and other stakeholders has resulted in Irish fisheries receiving internationally recognised Marine Stewardship Council certification and has led to the opening of many new overseas markets for Irish seafood produce. 

The SFPA is also responsible for the effective implementation of seafood safety controls, which are centred on robust traceability systems for the protection of public health and consumer interests both at home and abroad.  Its role includes the implementation of European hygiene package legislation as well as the inspection and health certification of export consignments, which are of critical importance to the development of a growing collection of valuable Third Country markets.

 Under service contract to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, SFPA is responsible for audits and inspections of food businesses (including vessels) in the seafood sector to assess compliance with National and European food safety legislation. The Authority also implements the National Microbiological Monitoring and Classification Programme for shellfish production areas and the National Marine Biotoxin Monitoring programme in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Molluscan Shellfish Safety Committee.  



Further information:

Eleanor Buckley, Communications Manager, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority

Tel: 023 885 93 46/ 087 920 3658 or email eleanor.buckley@sfpa.ie.


Ger McCarthy, Weber Shandwick,

Tel: 01 679 8600/ 086 233 3590 or email: GMcCarthy2@webershandwick.com



Editors’ Notes

¹ http://www.bim.ie/about-the-seafood-industry/

² http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/fisheries/seafisheriesadministration/seafisheriesadministration/seafishingfleetregister/

³ BIM Irish Seafood Industry Fish Facts 2014


About the SFPA

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is the independent statutory body, legally charged with the State’s sea-fisheries law enforcement functions. The Authority enforces the EU Common Fisheries Policy and sea-fisheries law generally and food safety law relating to fish and fishery products.