New Partnership Drives Sustainability Agenda in Irish Fisheries

Inland Fisheries Ireland recently signed up to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) Partnership Programme which aims to integrate energy management into public sector organisations. As an environmental agency, Inland Fisheries has a set range of progressive environmental targets to meet, and this new partnership will help provide a roadmap for further progress.

The organisation has already commenced a number of energy saving initiatives in recent years. These include introducing ‘green patrols’ for fishery officers, where kayaks and bikes are used when carrying out fishery protection patrols; installing solar panels and insulation on buildings; commencing fuel monitoring and fleet audits; and altering lighting and trialling an electric vehicle for future consideration.

This new partnership will see Inland Fisheries Ireland with a clear roadmap with defined actions to help achieve targeted energy savings. The Public Sector in Ireland has a target of meeting energy efficiency savings of 33% and the SEAI programme provides central advice and monitoring services to support all public bodies in their efficiency efforts.

As an environmental agency, Inland Fisheries aims to reinforce the importance of energy efficiency and this programme will drive its work in this area forward with a view to achieving year on year savings targets of greater than 3%. The public sector as a whole has already avoided €154 million energy spends through improved energy efficiency in 2015. The sector is now 21% more energy efficient, and is on track to meet the overall 33% energy saving target.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “As custodians of the fisheries resource, Inland Fisheries Ireland recognises the importance of energy management as a highly cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to reverse climate change. Today we have formally committed to reducing our energy usage and our carbon emissions and we look forward to working with the SEAI on reaching our goal by 2020.

“There are many benefits to energy efficiency aside from environmental reasons; we are also motivated by the desire to operate in a lean manner. We know that many organisations can achieve 20% monetary savings in energy use through proven management and technology solutions so as an organisation, we will benefit year on year.”

Commenting, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI said: “SEAI is working closely with the public sector to help them to achieve energy savings and agencies such as Inland Fisheries have a key role to play. Already, public bodies have achieved more than €600 million in energy efficiency savings in the last few years with SEAI’s assistance. With more partnerships like the one Inland Fisheries Ireland has committed to today, even more public sector savings can be achieved as we move towards a low carbon future.”

In terms of offshore fishing, BIM, Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, launched a new certification standard to drive sustainability in the Irish Fishing Sector in early March. The BIM Responsibly Sourced Seafood Standard is a third party accreditation that certifies fishing vessels that adhere to strict criteria regarding care of the catch, traceability and provenance, training, welfare and social sustainability.

Speaking at the launch of the certification, Michael Keatinge, Interim CEO, BIM said: “The Irish Seafood Sector and in particular the catching sector understands the ever increasing need to actively demonstrate their commitment to responsible fishing practices. With seven fishing vessels certified under the updated Responsibly Sourced Seafood Standard, and a target of 40 by year end, this standard will provide an independently certified raw material source that links in with the sector’s sustainability charter, Origin Green. This integrated approach to Irish seafood is vital for competitiveness, especially on our existing and emerging export markets, where sustainability is a key criterion for business.”

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