The Final Report in the Northern Ireland Fishing and Seafood Development Programme

The Final Report in the Northern Ireland Fishing and Seafood Development Programme

The Final Report in the Northern Ireland Fishing and Seafood Development Programme has been published.

The Fishing and Seafood Development Programme (FSDP) was established in response to calls from the Northern Ireland (NI) fishing industry to make significant investments in fishing harbour infrastructure. The FSDP involved a strategic review of the opportunities for developing the sea fishing and seafood sectors in NI as a whole, including the potential role of new public investment in infrastructure. This requires a long-term view as port infrastructure has a long life (50+ years).

The Stage 1 report focused on the current and future needs of Northern Ireland’s fishing industry. Stage 2 of the FSDP focused on seafood and other port-based sectors. These reports, along with DAERA assessments of future needs and opportunities resulting from the UK’s exit from the EU (specifically the UK/EU Fisheries Agreement and the NI Protocol) contribute the evidence base for the FSDP.

The UK government has committed to replacing EU fisheries funding with an equivalent UK programme. Some of the needs identified for NI’s fishing and seafood sector (including support to the private sector in production efficiencies, innovation, marketing and training) can be addressed through a future fisheries & aquaculture support programme. However, with an expected annual funding limit of £4m, this is not of a scale that will fund the infrastructure investment needed to make NI’s fishing ports fit for the 21st century. It is also important to recognize that the investments in port infrastructure proposed will benefit other sectors and contribute to growth in Northern Ireland’s Blue Economy.

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Brian J McMullin Solicitors

FSDP Vision

Northern Ireland’s fishing & seafood industry is fit for the 21st Century. It will be prosperous and sustainable; able to take advantage of new fishing opportunities and green growth. It will be supported by improved fishing infrastructure that also supports growth in the Blue Economy and contributes to thriving coastal communities.


Fishing Objective: Fishing operations are sustainable in economic, environmental and social terms: sufficiently profitable to invest in a fleet that can operate efficiently, attract crew and reduce its carbon emissions.

Blue Economy Objective: Northern Ireland grasps future opportunities in the existing and emerging sectors of the Blue Economy.

Harbour Objective: Northern Ireland’s fishing harbours are developed to support the needs of the fishing industry and enable growth in other sectors of the Blue Economy.

Kilkeel becomes an Irish Sea Marine Hub: port capacity is increased, making it more accessible with increased water depth, for fishing, vessel repair and offshore services. The harbour estate is increased with additional land for business expansion and new opportunities.

Ardglass harbour capacity is enhanced to secure fishing and processing industries. Harbour properties are acquired to enable coherent harbourside development.

Portavogie harbour is maintained for its fishing industry and the harbour estate is prepared for future Blue Economy opportunities.

The full report can be read by clicking here.

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Northern Ireland Fishing and Seafood Development Programme Final Report

by editor time to read: 7 min