Assembly Committee Calls for Greater Support for Fisheries Sector on Visit to Kilkeel Harbour

From: Northern Ireland Assembly
Published: Fri Jun 28 2024

The Assembly's Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs took its weekly meeting yesterday (Thursday 27 June) to the Nautilus Centre at Kilkeel Harbour where Members heard from the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation (ANIFPO) and The Northern Ireland Fish Producers' Organisation Ltd (NIFPO) on current issues impacting the fisheries sector.

The organisations highlighted a number of concerns including labour supply challenges and the need for DAERA to take a more robust role in protecting areas of food production. They requested that the Committee supports, as far as possible, the measures being proposed by industry to safeguard its future.

Speaking after the visit, the Committee Chairperson Tom Elliott MLA said: “We were delighted to visit Kilkeel Harbour today and to hear from ANIFPO and NIFPO representatives on the current and pressing issues facing our local fishing industry.

“There can be little doubt that the fisheries sector here continues to be a key contributor to our local economy, creating an annual turnover of £135million and supporting 1,550 jobs. As we have heard today, it is indeed admirable that in the face of enormous fiscal challenges, the sector continues to take positive strides towards improving sustainability and maximising economic viability for local fishermen and their communities”.

The Chairperson continued: Our local fishermen face enormous pressures to remain competitive. It is therefore crucial that we continue to advocate for the equitable allocation of fishing quotas to sustain livelihoods and to protect and grow the sector.”

The Chairperson concluded: “We must prioritise support for our fisheries, through the provision of practical strategies and importantly through direct capital investment and other targeted funding streams and plans. There is so much potential to ensure a deserved vibrant and prosperous future for the industry. We look forward to continued dialogue with the Minister and his Department on these issues and will be seeking an update on his consideration of a five-year strategic plan for the support of the marine and fisheries sector”.

At the meeting, Committee Members also heard from the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs on Fisheries Management Plans.

For media enquiries please contact:

Sinead Murphy, Communications Officer, Northern Ireland Assembly
Mobile: 0789 9864 368 Email:

Notes to Editor:

Further information about the Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, its Membership and its work can be found here.

Company: Northern Ireland Assembly

Visit website »