Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) tonight confirmed that the EU Commission has agreed to  extend approval of the interim Irish Sea-Fisheries Control Plan for the weighing of fishery products after transport to SFPA permitted premises until the 31st December 2022.The extension, on foot of a request from the SFPA, will facilitate the continued exemption for weighing after transport of pelagic and demersal fish landings made into Ireland and transported to permitted establishments, unless directed otherwise at landing by a Sea-Fisheries Protection Officer.

The interim Irish Sea-Fisheries Control Plan seeks to ensure control systems are adequate to address significant concerns expressed by the EU Commission regarding inaccurate weighing of catches, particularly by operators landing bulk pelagic catches to Ireland, which resulted in the EU Commission’s revoking of Ireland’s weighing after transport Control Plan in April 2021. It facilitates the weighing of the vast majority of landings in Ireland after transport, in fish factories and processing units.

Commenting on the decision by the European Commission Paschal Hayes, Executive Chairperson of the SFPA said: “The SFPA is pleased to have secured approval from the EU Commission to extend the Interim Control Plan up until 31st December 2022. With the continued demersal landings and increasing activity from smaller inshore vessels there will be thousands of landings into ports right across the country over the coming months – without an extension of the Interim Control Plan every one of these landings could have been required to be weighed upon landing at the pier. With an Interim Control Plan in place, including physical presence and data cross-checks by SFPA to manage compliance risks, the overwhelming majority can continue to be weighed after transport at permitted establishments around Ireland, with a small percentage of landings subject to control-supervised weighing upon landing.

Safeguarding Ireland’s marine resources for future generations is a vital part of the remit of the SFPA, and the continuation of the Interim Control Plan will serve to ensure adequate control systems are in place. The SFPA will continue to work intensively and collaborate with industry to secure approval for a permanent Control Plan.”

Copies of the plan are available here: Weighing of Fishery Products | Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (sfpa.ie) and the SFPA encourages vessel owners and those working in the industry to engage with their local SFPA Port Office or to visit www.sfpa.ie  if they require additional information or clarification on items within the plans.