Quotas, Marine Protected Areas, and Marine Management Organisations
Readers of this paper will know that the real problem for the Irish fishing industry is lack of quota and that Ireland’s share of quota was pretty much set in stone in the 1970s when the common fisheries policy was set up. It is clear that as the total available European quota declines in response to total fish stock assessments so the quota allocated to Ireland is reduced. Europe is now pressed to ensure conservation and sustainability procedures are put in place to control effort and ensure only sustainable exploitation of stocks. The nation who fishes most sustainably will be awarded a greater share of quota.
Ireland has “A sea Change” and “Steering a New Course” to guide progress towards sustainabiltiy. The UK Draft Marine Bill launched on April 3rd will have implications for neighbouring UK waters by setting up a system of Marine Protected Areas and Marine Management Organisations,(MMOs) representative of stakeholder interests working to a Marine Policy statement.
Despite decommissioning in Ireland there will surely be opportunities for fishermen if they can accommodate and implement sustainable fishing practices. The eyes of the world are watching closely. Books like the End of the Line by Charles Clover, The Unnatural History of the Sea: The past and future of humanity and fishing by Professor Callum Roberts, campaigns by WWF, the growth of organisation like the Marine Stewardship Council and a growing body of scientific evidence that marine protected areas can actually increase the value of fish caught, point to an evolving market place for sustainable fishing. A post Cawley strategy will be needed to ensure sustainability goals are achieved.
The European Union needs to be seen to implementing sustainable fishing practices. The opportunity for Ireland is to be ahead of Europe and take the initiative to fish sustainably and benefit accordingly.
Natural Living Assets
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