The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has launched its latest strategy which sets out its key objectives along with the extensive programme of work the regulatory body will undertake over the next three years.
Developed collaboratively in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, the strategy reflects the extent of the SFPA’s remit across the sea-fisheries and the sea-food production industry as well as the evolving regulatory environment in which it operates. It also sets out the SFPA’s plans to complete the organisational change programme that is already underway.
As the sea-fisheries regulator, the SFPA’s remit includes all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200-mile limit, almost 2,000 Irish registered fishing vessels, wherever they operate, and all seafood produced in Ireland’s seafood-processing companies.
Tim Donovan, Authority Member, SFPA commented: “While our primary functions have not altered since the organisation was established in 2007, the SFPA’s environment has changed substantially and will continue to evolve. Our plan reflects this and underpins our commitment to promote compliance, safeguarding public welfare as well as the delivery of a sustainable, competitive and innovative seafood sector.
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 new strategy continues the SFPA’s commitment to work as collaboratively as possible with key stakeholders. Information technology and data analytics are also ear-marked as areas for further development and expansion which are critical to the development and roll-out of regulatory elements.
Tim Donovan adds: “The organisation has grown and evolved in the past number of years, in response to many factors, not least a rapidly evolving regulatory environment with substantial changes to EU Fisheries and Seafood Safety Law. There have also been monumental changes brought about by Brexit, which are having a significant impact, particularly in relation to catch and health certification of Irish fish exports as well as import controls that have significant implications for industry as well as for the SFPA. This strategy is a new pathway forward, and outlines a new vision for the SFPA, in how we carry out our work. It represents ambition and so too commitment and a deep desire to ensure an engaged and collaborative approach to ensure the sustainability of this important sector.”