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News Roundup for the Week

SFPA WARNS THAT RECREATIONAL CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHING MUST COMPLY WITH REGULATIONS

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority has warned that there must be compliance with EU regulations by those engaged in “recreational fishing” during the Summer. This comes after the re-opening of the crab and lobster fishery for “recreational fishers” at the start of May. There is a particular warning that taking small crabs out of the population damages future breeding potential.

EU regulations were updated last year for the conservation of fisheries and the SFPA Chair, Dr. Susan Steele, said that particular attention “must be paid to the size of shellfish caught and the quantity of crab claws without bodies which can be retained on board a vessel.”

Dr. Steele said that the regulations go to the core of ensuring a sustainable fishery. “Being physically large means they have long enough to have a good chance of contributing to the next generation and having the whole body landed ensures that such an assessment can be made. Taking small crabs out of the population damages future breeding potential and retaining only claws can be a method of evading the minimum size requirements.”

Crab is an important component of Irish seafood exports, with an export value in excess of €60 million making it Ireland’s third most valuable seafood export. Crab and lobsters are not only in demand overseas, but domestically also and are popular amongst recreational fishers during the summer months. There have often been complaints by professional fishermen about non-compliance with regulations and the impact on stocks by recreational, leisure fishing during Summer.

KILLALA COMPANY TAKES OVER DUBLIN SEAFOOD PRODUCER

Carr & Sons Seafood Ltd., of Killala, County Mayo, have acquired the Dublin company, HJ Nolan, whose products will be produced in Mayo. Both are now part of the Swedish Mondi Group which took over Carr six years ago. Carr was established in 1946. Nolans Quality Seafood Ltd. was founded in 1912 and run as a family run business until its acquisition by Carr.

George Nolan said that its “loyal customers can be assured of continuity of this brand which goes back over a hundred years.” Mondi Group AB was founded in 1980. Its owner and founder, Erling Charleson, said “this is a very exciting chapter for our Irish company and this acquisition will make Carr and Sons one of the strongest seafood companies in Ireland.”

ASSISTANCE FOR NORTH’S AQUACULTURE

Northern Ireland Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced a stg£360,000 emergency support package for the region’s aquaculture sector.

The package is intended to help aquaculture businesses that have experienced a significant drop in sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aquaculture sector is a small but valuable niche market in Northern Ireland, employing around 131 people and supporting rural communities. The scheme aims to assist producers of species like oysters and trout. It will be in the form of a grant payment, covering the three month period – 1 March to 31 May 2020 - based on income lost from sales due to COVID-19. Average monthly sales over the past three years for each business will be used as the baseline.

A stg£1.5m. package was previously announced for the North’s fishing fleet.

‘Northern Ireland’s fishing industry has faced extreme difficulties and is in urgent need of our support,” Minister Poots said.

FISHERIES SHOW NOW POSTPONED TO NEXT YEAR

The Irish fisheries show 'Skipper Expo' has been postponed until next year. Mara Media, the organiser of the Skipper Expo had already deferred it from last March until September due to Covid 19.

However the venue, UL Sport Arena in Limerick has been designated for use by the Health Service Executive and is no longer available for the event. The show has been rescheduled for March 12 and 13 next year.

Meanwhile, the much anticipated "Fishermen’s Fling", the Lost At Sea Tragedies (LAST) Charity Ball has also been rescheduled to coincide with Irish Skipper Expo 2021. The event will take place at the Castletroy Park Hotel on 12th March 2021 and all tickets remain valid for this date.