‘Legal Fish’ Warning From Protection Authority

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is reminding restaurants, takeaways, fishmongers and retailers to ensure that the fish and shellfish they serve is legally and sustainably caught. 

The reminder, in advance of a busy autumn season, is a timely prompt to all those in the seafood industry and particularly those in food business operations to comply with the sea-fisheries and seafood safety regulations that help ensure safe and sustainable fishing stocks. 

A consumer survey by the SFPA found that for regular seafood consumers, legally sourced fish tops the menu of purchasing considerations, with (90%) believing that restaurants and food business operators should ensure the fish they buy is legally caught. 
The reputation of the retailer for selling safe quality food (82%) was an influential factor in purchasing decisions while 88% believe that fish processors, retailers or other food business operators should not purchase fish from anyone found guilty in court of illegal sea-fishing or non-compliance with seafood safety regulations. A large majority said they ate fish while dining out or from a take-away (79%) while 88% indicated that they bought their fish from a grocery store or supermarket. 

Ireland’s seafood economy is valued at an estimated €1.26 billion with a domestic sales value of €418 million per year (€318 million retail and €100 million foodservice). The hospitality sector was cited as one of the main contributors to the growth in consumption of seafood.

In 2021, seafood valued at €444 million (an increase of 2%) was landed into Irish ports while there was an 11% growth in exports to a value of €674 million. The seafood industry currently employs 16,647 people directly or indirectly.

Anyone – whether a producer, a purchaser or a consumer – who wishes to report suspected illegal sea-fishing activity should contact the SFPA Confidential Line on 1800 76 76 76, by email at confidential@sfpa.ie or at www.sfpa.ie/Confidential-Line.