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From protest to participation: Learning from experience in Irish inshore fisheries management

Fitzpatrick, Mike; Brennan, Ruth; Jackson, Emmet

Approximately 86% of Irish fishing vessels, as of 2018, are classified as small-scale or inshore (under 12 m in length). These vessels are predominantly active within Ireland’s territorial waters (up to 12 nautical miles) and as such are subject to national management to a greater extent than the larger vessels that operate in the shared waters that are directly governed by the European Union Common Fisheries Policy. Despite the social, cultural and economic importance of the inshore sector to small coastal communities, a governance framework for small-scale fisheries in Ireland has only recently been established. This paper gives a brief overview of Irish inshore fisheries including the numbers and profile of participants, target fisheries and its social, cultural and economic significance. An account is given of a previous unsuccessful attempt to establish a governance system for the sector. The paper then describes and gives some fishers’ perspectives on a second iteration of inshore management established in 2014, the Inshore Fisheries Forums, and the recent emergence of a number of representative bodies for Irish inshore fishers. These initiatives are discussed in the broader context of the fragmented nature of marine governance in Ireland.

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