The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has published its Annual Report for 2022.
- 45,031 Fish Landings, 1,903 Fishing Vessel Inspections, 87 Case Files opened.
- 1,958 food safety official controls carried out; 74 Food Safety Incidents/Complaints investigated.
- Processing of 3,670 health certificates for 78,171 tonnes of produce from 47 Irish Export Businesses and 688 Catch Certificates for 10,800 tonnes of Irish seafood export.
- 1,571 Shellfish Samples taken.
Protecting seafood safety is critical not only to the reputation of Ireland’s seafood offering both home and abroad but ultimately the health and wellbeing of consumers of Irish seafood products. To this end, Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers (SFPOs) carried out 1,958 food safety official controls across 2,323 food premises under the Authority’s remit. The SFPA responded to 74 food incidents where there were concerns regarding the safety or quality of food which required examination in the interests of public health. Seafood safety enforcement measures in 2022 ranged from informal advisory measures to the service of Compliance Notices, as well as to the commencement of criminal prosecutions for serious non-compliances. In 2022, two separate criminal prosecutions were commenced against food business operators for breaches of the regulations on food safety including on hygiene, temperature controls, pest control and traceability requirements. 16 Compliance Notices were issued in 2022.
As Ireland’s competent authority for seafood trade compliance, the SFPA undertakes a range of activities critical to enabling Ireland’s seafood economy. Irish seafood exports in 2022 was valued at €530 million, representing a €17 million value growth in exports since the previous year. The SFPA’s Trade Compliance Unit, supported by our SFPOs across the country, work tirelessly to support seafood producers to enable export internationally and the functioning of seafood production supply chains. Brexit and the emergence of the UK as a Third Country has led to increased demands on the SFPA. Exports of Irish seafood to international destinations outside the EU required the SFPA processing 3,670 health certificates for 78,171 tonnes of produce. Furthermore, 688 catch certificates were issued for the export of 10,800 tonnes of Irish seafood produce to Third Countries, including the UK.
Protecting sea-fisheries sustainability and safeguarding against illegal fishing activity is one of the critical activities of the SFPA operating throughout the coast and at sea through our partnership with the Irish Naval Service and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA). During 2022, our SFPOs undertook 1,903 fishing vessel inspections which marked an 18% increase in inspection activity from 2021. Throughout 2022 a total of 87 case files were opened as a result of 161 suspected sea-fisheries infringements. The figure of 161 represents the total of both food safety and sea-fisheries infringements. Points for serious infringements were applied in six out of seven cases put forward and one case had points applied to the Master of a fishing vessel for the first time under new legislation. Increased inspection and enforcement provide an effective tool to protect against illegal fishing activity.
Commenting on the publication of the 2022 Annual Report, SFPA Executive Chairperson, Paschal Hayes stated; “I am pleased to publish our Annual Report for 2022 which details the extensive work programme the SFPA undertook across the year in fulfilment of our commitment to our statutory remit. 2022 was a year of significant change within the SFPA with the appointment of a new Authority and new senior management members across the organisation. With renewed leadership and the substantial implementation of the 2020 Organisational Capability Review, the SFPA demonstrated its capacity as an effective, fair regulator and promoter of compliance with sea-fisheries and seafood safety law throughout the year.”