Information about our inshore and coastal fishing
Shellfish are the main catch. Inshore and coastal fishing includes trawling and dredging in the Irish Sea, pot fishing for crabs (edible, shore and velvet swimming), lobsters and buckie whelks, and pot fishing for Nephrops (Dublin Bay Prawns) in Strangford Lough. There is a related fish processing industry.
The total County Down inshore fishery (including Kilkeel and Annalong) is worth about £5m per annum and relates to 1-2 man operations using small nets and pots within a few miles of the coast. (Ref: South Eastern Area Fisheries Local Action Group Strategy 2013).
Reduced fish stocks, fish quotas, over fishing, the need to conserve stocks, an aging fleet, reliance on migrant workers and recent fishery restrictions in Strangford Lough are all putting traditional fishing under stress.
Coastal communities are struggling to cope with changes in the fishing industry. There may be opportunities within inshore fisheries management to promote the maritime heritage and develop or adapt skills and equipment for use in offshore renewables.
The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) Axis 4 aims to promote economic diversification and build capacity of fisheries communities across the European Union.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) consulted on their draft Sustainable Development Strategy for Northern Ireland’s Inshore Fisheries in 2013. This document deals only with fishing heritage and the relationship of fishing to the wider heritage.
There is a need to develop a vision for the pot fishery within the Strangford Lough European Marine Site. There may be opportunities to assist the industry through pilot schemes to brand and market local quality produce.
Within the Lough restrictions have been introduced to allow the recovery of horse mussel (M modiolus) communities on the seabed.