Norway exported 289,024 tonnes of herring in 2022 to a value of NOK 3.9 billion sfpa ifsa fish processing permits

SFPA has responded to allegations made by the IFSA over the issuing of permits for in-factory weighing at fish processing plants in Ireland

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has responded to allegations made by the Chair of the Irish Fishing and Seafood Alliance (IFSA), Cormac Burke over the issuing of weighing permits and in-factory weighing at fish processing plants in Ireland.

In an article last week, Cormac Burke reported that no factory in Ireland had received a licence to process fish for the 2023/2024 season. He said that this was revealed after the Galway-registered REALT ÁRA G.897 and the Killybegs-based ELLA G.233 were selected out of a draw for this year’s experimental scientific fishery which allows a total of two pairs of vessels, fishing alternatively within a set three-week timeframe to commercially fish Celtic Sea herring.

Last week the two vessels began their fishing of Celtic Sea herring, and on catching the maximum quota of 110 tonnes each, the IFSA Chair reports that the vessels were forced to travel to Northern Ireland to unload their catches as there were no fish processing plants in Ireland licenced to take and process the catch as the SFPA had not issued the necessary licences to the factories.

He accused the SFPA of knowingly frustrating the situation, as they would be aware that the Celtic Sea herring licences would be issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) at this juncture in the year. He said, “but even knowing that these herring licences were now issued and active, the SFPA continue to withhold issuing the new permits to the processing industry”.

The reason for the delay in issuing permits, he claims, is the SFPA’s demand that all fish processing factories install new weighing-systems which are state-of-the-art flow scales and a secondary chute for random sampling. He claims that this is “NOT requirements in any other EU Member State”.

The IFSA Chair concluded his piece by saying, “Yet again not only is this event a clear case of the fishing industry being inhibited by the SFPA, but it again makes a farce of the term “competent authority” – if this is another case of their competence then I’d hate to see when they’re on a bad day.”

When the allegations in the IFSA article were put to the SFPA press office, a spokesperson replied:

“Article 60 of EU Regulation 1224/2009 requires that all fishery products are weighed on systems approved by the competent authorities on landing prior to the fisheries products being held in storage, transported or sold.  A derogation is in place that facilitates the weighing of fish landings post transport. This derogation is afforded via an EU Commission approved control plan which facilitates the weighing of fish landed in the jurisdiction of the State to be weighed after transport from the place of landing. Premises which wish to avail of the derogation to weigh after transport must comply with the criteria as laid down in the EU Commission approved control plan.  Weight permits are issued by the SFPA following the receipt of a valid application and the verification of compliance with the EU approved control plan.

“It is important to note that fishery products landed into other Member States and Northern Ireland must also comply with Art 60 of EU Regulation 1224/2009, meaning that all fish must be weighed upon landing prior to transport unless that country has in place an EU Commission Approved control plan which facilitates the weighing of fish after transport. Northern Ireland does not have an EU Commission approved control plan at place to allow for the weighing of fish after transport.”


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