Irish coastline

The review has been commissioned to understand and comment on the impact of the Irish Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA) off the south and south-west of Ireland in place since 2003 and is funded through the EU European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme.

This area was considered of great biological importance in relation to fish stocks, and its protection is seen to have a role to play in the rebuilding of fish stocks in the waters around Ireland.

It was defined based on advice from marine biologists and a review undertaken by EU fisheries ministers and was designed to safeguard the “biological sensitivity and commercial importance” of the waters around Ireland.

Different fishing effort regulations apply inside and outside of the Irish Conservation Box and set out guidance for fishing vessels, scallop, and crab fisheries under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The European Commission is due to report to the Council and the European Parliament on the functioning of the CFP by 31 December 2022.

Therefore, a review of the utility, functioning and effectiveness of the BSA is needed to feed into this process and the independent review by the APEM team will support this.

APEM’s experts will use their knowledge and expertise in European and Irish marine fisheries to review evidence supporting the BSA, and how fisheries have behaved since its implementation.

We will capture information from a variety of data sources, including European commercial fishing activity and species-specific life history distributions to determine whether it has had a detectable impact on wild fish stocks within the Celtic Seas region.

The Marine Institute provide support to Ireland’s Marine Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI) by carrying out research and analysis to inform marine management in Ireland.

The project is being led by Dr Sarah Davie, Principal Fisheries Scientist at APEM, who said,

“This is an exciting opportunity to evaluate protection measures put in place within the Irish marine environment and advise ways to enhance their effectiveness.”

The opening of APEM Ireland compliments our offices in the US and Germany. Headed up by Dr Eliot Taylor the office aims to support Ireland’s green agenda.

Further information

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

Marine Research, Technology Development, and Innovation (RTDI)

Marine Institute

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and SPAs


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