The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) has received representatives of the Irish Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) on 20 November on board the EFCA chartered patrol vessel Lundy Sentinel while in Cork Harbour. Together with the SFPA, EFCA has organised an event where it has informed on its air and sea assets, which have recently increased.
This event is framed within a patrol mission on fisheries control and maritime surveillance in the Western Waters Joint Deployment Plan (JDP). The objectives of this mission include to participate in control and inspection activities and to contribute to compliance and the effective implementation of risk treatment measures. This patrol mission in Irish waters also supports the ongoing fishery protection services work undertaken by the SFPA in collaboration with the Naval Service and Air Corps.
It was the first mission in which the EFCA chartered aircraft was deployed in Western Waters. It is carrying out aerial fisheries surveillance activities and will operate in tandem with the sea-patrols. Also, a drone provided by European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) was used on board of Lundy Sentinel, offering complementary support to enhance fisheries control by providing additional surveillance capacity.
Regarding the seaborne means of control, the Agency will increase up to three its chartered patrol vessels in the next months.
“For the first time ever, an EFCA directed aircraft will also operate in Irish waters in tandem with the patrol ship Lundy Sentinel, transmitting live aerial patrol footage to the EFCA centre in Vigo and the Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) in Haulbowline, Cork”.
“This is a valuable aspect to the patrol where inspectors from different Member States work together to deliver harmonized fisheries control with the support of EFCA liaison on board and the EFCA coordination centre in Vigo,” said Susan Steele, EFCA Executive Director.
The EFCA coordinates control activities in Union and international waters and on land. This is done through the Joint Deployment Plans (JDPs), the vehicle through which the EFCA organises the deployment of human and material resources of control and inspection pooled by Member States and EFCA. The deployment of pooled national means is coordinated by the EFCA in cooperation with Member State and frequently with the presence of national coordinators at EFCA premises.
The RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) services or drone services take place within the context of European cooperation on coast guard functions, in which EFCA, EMSA and Frontex provide support to Member States’ national competent authorities ensuring cost effective and coordinated action. Since September 2022, the Agency has chartered its first Fixed Wing Aircraft. The process was done under the inter-institutional framework service contract for Surveillance Aircraft Services for Border & Coast Guard Functions to which EFCA is a participating institution.
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the sea-fisheries and the sea-food production sectors. It promotes compliance with the EU Common Fisheries Policy, sea-fisheries law and food safety law relating to fish and fish products, verifies compliance and, where necessary, enforces it. Its mandate covers all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200-mile limit, over 2 000 Irish registered fishing vessels wherever they operate, and all seafood produced in Ireland’s seafood processing companies. The SFPA operates through a network of regional port offices situated at Ireland’s main fishery harbours.