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Minister Launches Atlas of Ireland's Marine Fisheries

28 March 2014

IRELAND - Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine has launched the Marine Institute’s Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland

The Atlas will be disseminated at a meeting of fishing industry representatives, environmental NGOs and scientists from Ireland, France, UK, Belgium, Portugal and Spain. The meeting, part of the EU funded GEPETO project, will examine case studies on complex management issues associated with mixed fisheries in the Celtic Sea, Bay of Biscay and Iberian waters. The project aims to put in place the building blocks for integrated long-term fisheries management plans at a regional scale.

Minister Coveney welcomed the Atlas saying: “New policy directions within the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, such as a regionalised approach and discard ban require better information. The Atlas of Commercial Fisheries presents complex data in a very visual way using informative maps, making it accessible to a whole range of stakeholders. It brings a new level of transparency in terms of fishing activities and offers new possibilities in terms of spatial management of mixed fisheries.”

A new reformed CFP was agreed last May between Member States and the European Parliament. The agreement was reached after lengthy and complex negotiations under the Irish presidency, led by Minister Simon Coveney.

The Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland is the second of its kind published by the Marine Institute. It shows the distribution of fishing activities in Irish waters by gear and country. Fishing grounds as well as the distribution of landings for all the main commercial species is also shown at high resolution.

The Atlas has been developed in parallel with an online Atlas of Fisheries over a wider area within the EU funded GEPETO project. Dr Colm Lordan, Marine Institute, co-author of the Atlas explains: “We can visualise and analyse complex scientific data and models as never before. The main challenge is to communicate the information in a way that is useful and understandable to stakeholders”.

“The philosophy behind the GEPETO project is to replace the existing top-down management paradigm with a bottom-up approach in line with the new Common Fisheries Policy which is transparent, evidence based and developed in collaboration with the stakeholders. We have an opportunity to reshape the future of fisheries management and ensure a sustainable resource base and industry for future generations”.

The Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland is available to download free at http://hdl.handle.net/10793/958

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