The intention of this annual review is to present stock assessment and management advice for shellfisheries that may be subject to new management proposals or where scientific advice is required in relation to assessing the environmental impact of shellfish fisheries especially in areas designated under European Directives.
The review reflects the recent work of the Marine Institute (MI) in the biological assessment of shellfish fisheries and their interaction with the environment. The information and advice presented here for shellfish is complementary to that presented in the MI Stock Book on demersal and pelagic fisheries.
Separate treatment of shellfish is warranted as their biology and distribution, the assessment methods that can be applied to them and the system under which they are managed, all differ substantially to demersal and pelagic stocks.
Shellfish stocks are not generally assessed by The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and although they come under the competency of the Common Fisheries Policy they are generally not regulated by EU TAC and in the main, other than crab and scallop, are distributed inside the national 12 nm fisheries limit.
Management of these fisheries is within the competency of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM). A co-operative management framework introduced by the Governing Department and BIM in 2005 (Anon 2005), and under which a number of fishery management plans were developed, was, in 2014, replaced by the National and Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (NIFF, RIFFs).
These bodies are consultative forums, the members of which are representative of the inshore fisheries sector and other stakeholder groups. The National forum (NIFF) provides a structure with which each of the regional forums can interact with each other and with the Marine Agencies, DAFM and the Minister.
Management of oyster fisheries is the responsibility of The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) implemented through Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). In many cases, however, management responsibility for oysters is devolved through Fishery Orders or Aquaculture licences to local co-operatives. The main customers for this review are DAFM, RIFFs, NIFF and other Departments and Authorities listed above