Meeting held over Killybegs fish weighing debacle


The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has met with the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association as part of an ongoing dialogue relating to the EU Commission approved interim Fisheries Control Plan.

The SFPA has confirmed that the meeting discussed a number of items, including the two options for conducting weighing before transport currently available in Killybegs harbour.

This plan enables 95% of bulk landings of pelagic fish to avail of an exemption to weigh-after-transport, meaning that just 5% are subject to supervised weighing on landing.

Over the past 5 days, approximately 9,500 tonnes of bulk pelagic fish were landed at Killybegs harbour, totalling 20 landings.

During this same period, one vessel chose to leave port and sail to Derry to discharge its catch.

The SFPA detailed how, in both instances, fish are in water when weighed in order to preserve the quality of the catch.

Option 1: In this method fish exiting the vessel are discharged into an industry owned pier-side system which momentarily separates the fish from the water. This fish is immediately placed directly into a tanker that has been pre-filled with water and pre-weighed. The tanker containing the fish and the water is then reweighed on the SFPA approved weighbridge and an accurate weight for the fish is obtained.

Option 2: In this method the fish and water exiting the vessel are discharged directly into a pre-weighed empty tanker. The tanker containing the fish and the water is then reweighed on the SFPA approved weighbridge. The fish remain with their original water which operators seek to minimise in order to balance quality considerations with fish-weight accuracy concerns.

The SFPA says that it will continue to engage with industry representatives to ensure they are informed as to the requirements and specifications of the interim Fisheries Control Plan.