Shipments of fish landed in Ireland and transported to Belgium prior to weighing are facing increased inspections under a common control plan approved by both countries.
Ireland’s Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has been operating joint inspections with the Belgian Fisheries Authorities, it said in a press release. Under the two countries’ common control plan – approved by the European Commission and implemented jointly by authorities in Ireland and Belgium – seafood caught in Ireland can be shipped directly to Belgium, where it is then weighed.
“Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers in SFPA’s port offices in Howth, Dunmore East, and Clonakilty, have recently undertaken a number of joint inspections where vessels were first inspected at landing in Ireland – the transport units were then sealed by the inspecting [officers],” it said. “Following arrival in Belgium, the transport units were met by Belgian officials, who then removed the seals and supervised the unloading and weighing of the fish. This process is to ensure that the consignment arrives, uncompromised and as originally recorded, to its destination for follow up inspection and verification checks.”
An SFPA spokesperson said the inspections were intended to ensure compliance with the common control plan.
“Joint operations are necessary to verify compliance with the common control plan and fisheries legislation and the SFPA welcomes the co-operation of the Belgian Fisheries Authorities. Protecting the long-term viability and health of our marine ecosystems and ensuring long-term sustainability for our fishing industries and communities is an issue of significance not only here in Ireland but across Europe,” the spokesperson said. “Our work with the Belgian Authorities is a critical element in supporting the overall remit of the SFPA to ensure the sustainability and future viability of Ireland’s sea-fisheries and marine resources.”
Photo courtesy of Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority