Sustainable Fisheries

This fishing industry is an important aspect of Northern Ireland culture and economy. To ensure its success and to protect fish stocks as well as the wider environment, it must be truly sustainable.

NIMTF and The Northern Ireland Fishermen’s Federation (NIFF), have been building a positive relationship, regularly communicating on the challenges & opportunities our marine environment and fisheries face.

Members of NIMTF and NIFF meeting at Kilkeel harbour (Image: ANIFPO)

Joint Fisheries Statement

NIFF and NIMTF issued a joint letter to welcome the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) as a positive step towards economic and environmental sustainability.

You can read this response here: Joint NIFF NIMTF response to the consultation on the JFS.

An ecosystem-based approach

An ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management must be applied whereby healthy ecosystems level components and processes are recognized as vital for good stock management, and are used to inform decision making. To aid this process, all fishing activity must be fully documented, monitored and integrated with other marine planning and conservation measures at sea.

NIMTF want to see:

  • An ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management being applied in NI, in agreement with the latest scientific advice.
  • Effective legislation and implementation procedures in place in NI to enable sustainable and climate friendly fishing.

Co-Fish: NI Fisheries and Conservation Partnership

New fisheries management measures were enacted on the 1st of January 2023.

These measures will prohibit bottom trawling on sensitive features & introduce management for static gear in 9 MPA’s. 4 Scallop enhancement sites have also been selected to ensure future sustainability of scallop populations in NI coastal waters. These measures are an important step in ensuring NI MPA’s are well managed for nature.

NIMTF and other stakeholders including DAERA & the fishing industry have come together to ensure these management measures deliver the best possible outcomes, under the newly formed group, ‘Co-Fish: NI Fisheries and Conservation Partnership’.

Overall, it is hoped that with the introduction of these measures, biodiversity within NI’s MPA network will be further protected and be given the opportunity to flourish, resulting in a healthy, productive and resilient marine environment for all.

Read more about the new measures here. More information is also available through the Official DAERA Press Release.

Co-Fish Aims:

(1) Coordinate knowledge sharing between government departments and stakeholders to improve the efficacy of the MPA network.

(2) ensure regulations are delivering benefits for the marine environment through habitat & species protection and restoration.

3) Ensure the livelihoods of the NI fishing industry is not hindered by such designations.