The Strategy for the Inshore Fisheries Sector 2019-2023 is an industry-led strategy, the first of its kind for the Irish inshore fisheries sector. The national inshore fisheries forum finalised the strategy at the start of last year, following what I understand was an extensive development process that also involved the six regional inshore fisheries forums and a steering group with industry and State partners.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara, BIM, is leading the implementation of the strategy, in partnership with the national inshore fisheries forum. BIM has advised my Department that the implementation group met last year and identified priority actions under the strategy. The last full meeting of the group was held on 25 November. BIM advises that plans for a subsequent meeting at the end of March were overtaken by the Covid-19 pandemic, like many other things, and it has not proved possible to convene a meeting of the group since then, as the industry has been focused on dealing with the impacts of the pandemic which have been significant. Despite this challenge, BIM has confirmed that work to progress the identified priority actions has continued and it anticipates a meeting of the group may be arranged in the coming months.
In the meantime, the chair of the national inshore fisheries forum has formally written to invite me to meet the forum. The programme for Government contains many actions that I would like to hear directly from the sector on and I look forward to meeting the forum at the earliest mutually convenient opportunity.