We recently caught up with Seamus O’Flaherty in Kilmore Quay Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Seamus and his family operate a fleet of 22 commercial fishing boats, of which 20 are bottom trawlers. In our interesting conversation, Seamus tells us how there is a fish nursery ground outside his local harbour. They don’t fish in the nursery area and Seamus feels that an area like this would make a good Marine Protected Area (MPA).

He also adds that the one type of fishing that should be removed from MPAs is bottom trawling. Seamus is also a diver and believes that sinking ships to use as artificial reefs could benefit biodiversity and boot local diving tourism.

Seamus does however also offer a warning to the minister in charge of MPAs and says “they must tread carefully”.

Our thanks to Seamus for taking part.

The results of studying other Marine Protected Areas from around the world have shown that they benefit everyone from the local fishing communities to local fish.

It’s vital that open and honest conversations like this are had throughout Ireland’s MPA process so that all stakeholders and community members can realise their role as stewards of their local waters and feel the benefits that protecting them brings. Fair Seas is calling for 30% of Irish waters to be protected by 2030. This process must be advised by the best scientific data and with early and continued engagement with local communities.

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