Irish Impact Report

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Sustainability through conservation of fish species

Find out how a Deloitte consulting team implemented a programme to protect the fishing industry in Ireland

  • Our consulting team is supporting the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to achieve sustainability through conservation of fish species. To do this, our team developed a Quota Balancing system to detect and record overfishing of species and, where required, vessel fishing quotas are adjusted for future periods, ensuring that conservation limits are adhered to.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the second largest Government Department in Ireland, accounting for 7.1% national employment and over 11.2% of all exports in 2019. Its mandate includes a wide range of different functions including implementing national and EU payment schemes for the agriculture sector, animal health and welfare, policy and regulation, and food safety.

For the past ten years, Deloitte has worked with the Department in the delivery of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services to design, develop and implement solutions, which would support the fishing industry here in Ireland. In December 2018, the first phase of the Quota Balancing system for pelagic fish or fish that live away from the bottom of the sea, like Atlantic Herring, was delivered.

In an effort to conserve species, Ireland is provided with an annual fish quota specified by species by the EU, which vessels in Irish waters are permitted to catch. The Department is then responsible for allocating this quota across the Irish fishing fleet. Our Quota Balancing system allows the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), an external agency serviced by the Department, to perform quality assurance of landing declarations submitted by vessels to ensure that they are compliant with their fishing quotas.

In addition to this, our team also developed the ieCatch system, which records the activities performed by fishing vessels at sea, including landing declarations of species caught. Annually the Department conducts a balancing process for each species, to determine if the quota was adhered to or not and where necessary, balance this with the quota for the next period. By conducting this balancing process, the Department is ensuring a fair distribution of quotas across the vessel fleet, with future quota allocations adjusted where vessels have exceeded quotas.

The most recent phase of this project delivered a new Fishery Management application to integrate with the Quota Balancing application to cater for demersal species or fish who reside on the seabed.

The Quota Balancing process is a strategic project for the Department and helps to address the conservation of fish species. It enforces a limit on fish caught per vessel and provides a process where future quota allocations are adjusted for those who fish in excess of the allocated quota. The solution ensures compliance with quotas and European sustainability in the fishing industry.

This project was awarded a Certificate of Excellence at the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards in December 2019 in recognition of the value it delivered in supporting the business to ensure compliance with quotas, activating our purpose of making an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our community and our planet.

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