Cawley Report :A Vision for the Irish Fishing Industry


Natural Living Assets

  • There is a viable market place for seafood within Europe and beyond.
  • Ireland has been a key contributor to this market place for many years.
  • Seafood sourced in Ireland today is mostly exported.
  • Sea food is a scarce resource and fish are not as plenty full today as they were in historic times.
  • Many European and Global nations want to catch their own fish and have built up their own industries and fleets to do so.

    The Cawley Report as it is known (Steering A New Course) defines a vision for a way forward. In the globally competitive world of today it is necessary that the great natural living asset that provides the basic raw material is looked after carefully to ensure sustaianble abundance. That means pursuing a strategy that ensures the resource is still around in years and generations to come. There is a need for

    interdependent co operation

    between different nations to facillitate this.Each nation has a responsibiltiy to ensure that natural living assets are sustaianble.

    Each nation needs to formulate their own national strategies best suited to unique national goals.

    However there is also a need for sharing a resource with other nations which demands international standards.

    Much of the discussion around the Fishing Industry focuses on carving up what is left via quotas and limts on fishing activity. It would be more helpful to build a concensus that defined a way forward thaty ensured future sustaianble abundance.

  • I hope that the views and summary on this website can contribute to the debate and to a positive sustaiable future all our natural living assets.



    Over exploitation continues to be a problem and it is essential that measures are established to ensure that this great renewable resource survives and prospers. How can resources be increased? As stated in report “Over fishing is a major cause in every case. Not just for the shared stocks but equally for those where Ireland is allocated the largest quota. For example Whitefish in the Irish Sea, Herring in the Celtic Sea and off the North West coast.

    It is reported that as the demersal and pelagic fisheries are declining in their ability to support economic realities, the shellfish sector has increased in value. A 48% increase in demersal and pelagic stocks quotas would be required to substitute for the recent growth in shellfish value.( Mostly Nephrops)

    Is this sustaianble?

    Current analysis indicates that this trend for increased shellfish catches is not in itself sustainable and effort reductions on all the major shellfish stocks are urgently required if yields are to be maintained close to maximum levels.



    Prospects for Increased Quota


    Declining Fish Stocks



  • The prospects are poor for increased quota”. It is unlikely that the resource can be increased by changes to quota allocation rules.
  • “Ireland’s quota share of all the key commercial stocks will in all likelihood remain fixed under the principle of relative stability”.
  • “Decommissioning, reducing fleet capacity, effort constraints,mortality on fish stocks and developing long term management plans will drive thinking on fisheries management for many years to come. Increasing resources by expanding to other areas or oceans may remain a possibility.”

    SustaianabilityAt the heart of it all Profitability, Competitiveness and Sustainability



    Cawley Report; 10 Key challenges for the Fishing Industry in Ireland include

    Innovation: innovative market focused strategy to achieve maximum return and value added

    Profitability: fragmentation and uncertainty of supply

    Balance: need to address the imbalance between catching and available resource

    Socio economic value: Stakeholder supported commercially aware fisheries management, including stock compliance with quotas (assumption that Europe knows best? CFP etc

    Development Plan: Comprehensive industry development plan supported by regulatory framework. Expand aquaculture.

    Proactivity: Obstacles preventing the sustainable exploitation of inshore fisheries

    Conservation: Inadequate fish conservation and fishing practices , misreporting , discarding>

    Fairness: Level playing field.

    Communications and Relationships between industry, state policy makers

    Unity: to address fragmented representation

    Notes form Cawley Our stocks or shared stocks?

  • 75% of fish stocks in waters around Ireland are below safe biological limits.
  • There will be 55million euros invested over 7 years a contribution form the National Development Plan(NDP) for Ireland
  • Progress on Market Intelligence
  • Targeted Marketing Campaigns
  • Economies of scale (Socio economic implications)
  • Restructuring Plan
  • Decommissioning Plan
  • Re allocation of quota eg Mackerel 1500 tonnes evenly distributed among boat9 65 footers)
  • Aqua culture will have its own ICZM integrated Coastal Zone Management.
  • There will be emphasis on quality through out the supply chain.
  • There will be resources for professional and succession training
  • There will be a policy to reduce Discards
  • Fuel efficiency will be given a proiority.
  • EU compliance will all be given priority.


    Fleet management practices will be further defined. These will include the establishment of a new inshore fleet segment and the designation of specific coastal areas with exclusive priorities for inshore vessels.

    The Market in Ireland

    Other Fishing Opportunities or other opportunities must be found for registered fishing displaced form the salmon net ban.

  • In 2005 Ireland exported 354 million euros of fish.
  • The value of fish landed in 2004 was 285937 tonnes at a value of 164Meuroes
  • The latest avaialable figures used are for 2004.
  • 85 % of Irish Seafood is exported
  • Current Irish Fleet 1844
  • Pelagic 22 Vessels
  • 1% of fleet has 40 % catching capacity
  • Polyvalent 1573 vessels
  • 85% of fleet has 48% catching capacity Other 1360

    2004 Landings

    Sector euro Million Value Tonnes
    Pelagic 226 783 56.3
    Shellfish 31 306 55.3
    Whitefish 27 551 51.9P

    There was a reported drastic fall in 2005 although this isn’t quantified. Investments in safetyA key priority is to market fish well to maximise value

    Need to demonstrate value on quota. (Is there anything that the fishing Industry can do about quota?)

    Need to demonstrate that Ireland can utilize the available quota more effectively than competing fishing nations gain credibility at negotiationsto be listened to. Value and sustainability need to be factored into negotiations.)


    Anticipated Outcomes

  • There is a need for decommissioning to ensure profitability and efficiency to compete for quota economically
  • Fishermen need to be encouraged to take ownership (of their industry / markets)
  • With ownership comes responsibility and a recognition that other nations wish to catch fish. Therefore the EU or an other body needs to oversee allocation of resource. It could be argued that it would be better for Ireland to do this on its own. Crucially however that will not negate responsibility for ensuring that fish stocks are sustainable. The future of fish as an abundant renewable resource and the economic and socio economic consequences depend on developing only in a way that is sustainable in the long run.
  • Far off opportunities
  • There may be a possibility to increase fishing opportunities for Ireland by looking for overseas quota in the wider Global Market place. For example of the west coast of Africa.
  • “However such opportunities are generally only important for the individual companies involved and from a national perspective do not deliver significant benefits regarding the imbalance between the fleet size and the available fishing opportunities.”
  • The European Fisheries Fund is to provide decommissioning money.
  • The White report suggested that a 30 % greater quota yield was needed for profitability. This goes up to 45 % for the white sector.
  • What can be done to secure sustainability? If a solution is not found the future would indeed be bleak for those who want to fish for a living. The impacts on many others with wider economic interests would also be dire as there would be no fish at all for the wider marine community to avail off. Habitats and ecosystems and the human activity they support would be all the worse of.
  • Resource Management.

    Economic Reality ” The problems that beset the whitefish sector indicate that the current European and National resource management system has not delivered on its principal objectives of biologically sustainable fisheries and economically viable vessels.

  • “Johannesburg Agreement Requires that fish stocks be maintained or restored where possible to levels that achieve maximum sustainable yield ( MSY).”
  • “Natura 2000 seeks to create an extensive and coherent network of protected areas that will form the cornerstone of EU Biodiversity Policy (Strategy)”
  • “EUs recent green paper on Maritime policy porposes to develop with the participation of stakeholders a set of common principles governing maritime activities and co coordinating policies that have been fragmented up until now”


    User friendly logbook Recent positive developments in Ireland to conserve stocks include the Introduction of a user friendly logbook. The market analysis used in the Cawley report uses data form 2004 and it would be helpful if more current accurate and up to date information was available. Good up to data is needed to facilliatate a programme to fully address the problem of declining fish stocks.

    DATA Mis reporting of data is an issue! The data used in Cawley is based on 2004 catches. For details of data reporting see Marine Institute stock Book

    Other snippets Blue whiting worth 8M euros in 2004 14% of pelagic Horse mackerel worth 6.3 M euros in 2004 11% of Pelagic

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