The commercial fishing industry provides an essential source of income for many people in peripheral communities along the coast of Mayo where there are few alternative employment opportunities. Fishing is one of the few activities that has sustained communities through periods of substantial emigration.
The region is heavily dependent on crab and indications are that the fisheries are stable. The fishing fleet operating in Co. Mayo is predominantly an inshore fleet. With 176 vessels registered in Co. Mayo, the majority of which have “pots” registered as the main fishing gear, a proportion of these vessel are less than 10m in length.
Predominantly in-shore fisheries orientated with a high emphasis on shellfish, crab, lobster. Line caught Pelagic fish in the late summer months, mackerel mainly. Cloghmore would be the busiest port mainly due to aquaculture.
There were approx 26 vessels varying in size in 2017, from 4.95-12m with one exception which is 16.6m in length. Twenty-one vessels are under 10m and 4 between 10-12m.
Sixteen of the vessels have polyvalent licences which allows them access to all commercial species fished in the bay other than oyster which also requires a secondary licence which is issued by IFI. Seven of the vessels are restricted to using pots only (so called P licences) and 3 vessels are licenced in the Aquaculture segment of the fleet. Aquaculture vessels may dredge for oysters provided they have an IFI oyster permit.
Shrimp, prawn, crayfish, whelk, are the main fisheries with drift netting and gill netting providing small seasonal catches. There are a few boats dredging scallop in the bay on a seasonal basis. Although most pot fishermen purchase bait (frozen pelagic) ashore some fishermen use trammel nets to fish for wrasse, pollack and dogfish which are used as bait in pots. The fishery is likely to occur at the edges of reef areas and may be localized. Cloughmore and Raigh are the busiest ports.
Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo
Predominantly in-shore fisheries orientated with a high emphasis on shellfish, crab, lobster. Line caught Pelagic fish in the summer months, mackerel mainly. A small number of seasonal molluscs, razor, scallops and native oysters. Ballyglass is the busiest port with a total of 917 tonnes of fish landed in 2017. Followed by Porturlin, Killala, Ballycastle, Belderrig, Rinroe and killcummin.
Mayo Fishermen Associations
- Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association
- West Mayo Fishermen’s Development Co-operative
- Clew Bay Pot Fishermen’s Association