• An Atlas of Fishing and Some Related Activities in Ireland's Territorial Sea and Internal Marine Waters with Observations Concerning their Spatial Planning

      Fahy, E.; Healy, E.; Downes, S.; Alcorn, T.; Nixon, E. (Marine Institute, 2008)
      This Atlas was initiated as part of Ireland's preparation for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) which, inter alia, required mapping the distribution of mobile fishing gears in coastal waters (inside 1 n mile outside the base lines). The Atlas subsequently expanded the geographical extent of the review out to 12 n miles. The history, descriptive terminology and extent of subdivisions of the territorial sea are provided. The Atlas is a collection of 1,885 polygons showing the distribution of fishing and fishery related activities, including aquaculture and mariculture within the Republic of Ireland's territorial sea and internal marine waters. The Atlas demonstrates that the greatest range and intensity of fishing and related activities are undertaken in the internal waters of the State. Hook and line fishing emerged as the most widely used metier and a combined array of mobile gears, ranging from pelagic otter trawls to hydraulic dredges, took second place. The total area occupied by fishing and fishing related activities was just under 125,000 km2. The principal metier groupings within 12 n miles were: hook and line occupying 57,000 km2 (45% of the total), mobile gears (towed enclosing nets and dredges) accounting for 27,530 km2 (22%). Passive nets (static tangle and gill nets and the now defunct salmon drift nets) made up 18,000 km2 (14%). Pots targeting crustaceans and molluscs occupied 13,250 km2 (11%). Aquaculture and mariculture occupied 172 km2, some 0.4% of the area within 12 n miles. To supplement the polygons, a table of metier and species combinations in internal and territorial waters opposite each county with a long shoreline is supplied. The table includes fisheries whose existence is known but not their extent. The consequences for benthic community structure of the use of a particular metier, the purpose of the exercise for the WFD, are considered. "Community" refers to fish or invertebrate species assemblages. Applications for the data are discussed in the context of a growing appreciation of the need to plan the use of inshore waters for fishery conservation and to accommodate a wide range of stakeholder interests and to embrace the ecosystem approach to maritime governance. Difficulties inherent in conserving fish species rather than biological communities are illustrated by reference to a case history. Data presented in the document were sourced from the tacit knowledge of stakeholders. Planning jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland is described with reference to inshore waters. Recent thinking by fishery commentators is reviewed. Finally, current thinking on inshore spatial planning within the EU and particularly among our nearest neighbours is discussed and the possibility of implementing ICZM is briefly considered. This document is presented as Version 1 of a continuing exercise. Governmental departmental arrangements and collected data refer to the period up to 2006. The Atlas should be periodically revised as more information becomes available.