Seafood Environmental Management System

A voluntary Seafood Environmental Management System (SEMS) clearly demonstrates environmental responsibilty.

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SEMS Explained

As fishing is often a family tradition, the fishermen understand that long term fishing opportunities are important for them, their families and future generations. The Irish industry has shown commitment to responsible fishing by participating in gear trials, the Bord Iascaigh Mhara / Irish Sea Fisheries Board Responsibly Sourced Standard and the Seafood Environmental Management System (SEMS).

Working in close consultation with the Industry, Bord Iascaigh Mhara / Irish Sea Fisheries Board facilitated the development of a SEMS for the Irish Catching Sector. The SEMS can be used as a management tool to help the Irish fishing industry demonstrate that they fish in a responsible manner. The programme is based on the idea of continuous improvement, following a model based on four key steps 'Plan, Do, Check and Act'.

SEMS and the pelagic fisheries

In 2009 all Irish pelagic vessels implemented a SEMS onboard their vessels. As part of this process they identified potential environmental risks from fishing and implemented measures to eliminate or reduce these risks to acceptable levels. The SEMS manual on each vessel has records that they complete during each trip and this provides proof that they are operating to the pre-agreed standards.

Some of the environmental initiatives include:

  • Fishing trials to develop flexi grids to allow small pelagic fish escape from pelagic nets.
  • The use of nets hexagonal mid water trawl nets with Dynex™ that reduces weight and drag and therefore reduce fuel consumption.
  • When appropriate, the use of jigging systems prior to shooting the net to verify that the shoal of fish is of a marketable size and the communication of the relevant information to other fishers to minimise capture of inappropriate catches.
  • Re-cycling of fishing gear and distributing the proceeds to charity.
  • Implementation of a waste management system where all waste e.g. oil and food waste, is segregated onboard and taken ashore for appropriate recycling.

For more information please see the Bord Iascaigh Mhara / Irish Sea Fisheries Board website.