National Strategy for Angling Development: Determination

Determination regarding the Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening of the National Strategy for Angling Development pursuant to Article 9(7) of SI No. 435/2004 European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations, 2004 (as amended by SI No. 200/2011).
Having complied with the consultation requirements as set out in the Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) regulations 2004, as amended, and having regard to the responses received from the prescribed environmental authorities, Inland Fisheries Ireland has determined that at this point in time the Strategy as proposed will not require an environmental assessment and the preparation of an Environmental Report. The submissions and rationale for this determination are outlined below.

Submission/observations received from the prescribed Environmental Authorities:

  1. Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR)
    The DCENR acknowledged receipt of the consultation request but made no submission.
  2. The Department for Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG)
    The only acknowledgement from DEHLG was through NPWS by way of a telephone conversation indicating that they were reviewing the documentation. At that point in time it was their view that the conclusions of the assessments were premature and that the environmental charter may not be sufficient. NPWS undertook to make a submission, if required, in advance of the closing date.
  3. The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine(DAFM)
    A number of divisions of DAFM made submissions or observations and these are summarised under the division heading:
      Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division: There are no discernible implications concerning MED areas of work at this time and it would not appear likely that any adverse implications will result from the angling strategy.
      Engineering Division: may have further comments at the project development stages.
      EU and International Policy Division: No specific observations. Continued collaboration with IFI in areas of mutual interest and early engagement with regard to action measures or proposed projects which could impact on commercial sea fisheries expected.
      Inshore Fisheries Unit: DAFM recommends wider stakeholder engagement and the provision of all documents in PDF format for download. A change to the text of Measure 4 to integrate relevant EU legislation including the CFP, Habitats Directive & Birds Directive and request early engagement with DAFM and the relevant Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums regarding any proposals to designate nursery/no keep areas in inshore areas.
  4. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    The EPA acknowledges that the Strategy itself does not place limits on activities or developments, influence location, nature, size or operating conditions itself, there may, however, be potential for effects on the environment during its implementation.  In the absence of details on likely projects it is not possible to make a definitive determination on the nature and extent of potential effect on the environment. 
    Recommendations are as follows:
    To establish a separate more detailed Strategy Implementation Plan/Programme and that the more detailed plan be subject to SEA and Habitats Directive Screening.
    The relationship of the Strategy and any related Implementation Plan/ Programme to relevant environmental obligations, including water quality (WFD), biodiversity (Habitats Directive), climate change, and related key plans and programmes should be set out in greater detail.  This should reflect how the national angling resource is managed and utilised in a sustainable manner, in the wider context of environmental protection 
    The SEA Screening Report and the related environmental criteria (Schedule I) for determining whether a plan or programme is likely to have significant effects on the environment should reference and take account of  S.I. No. 435, and as amended by S.I. No. 200 of 2011. The IFI Environmental Charter and as appropriate, the Project Framework should be considered for inclusion in the Strategy and in the Screening Report. 

Consideration of whether the NSAD would be likely to have significant effects on the environment.

The submissions/observations received do not suggest that an SEA is warranted at this stage of the NSAD. IFI is satisfied that at this strategic level, it is not possible to fully assess the potential for cumulative effects, as impacts will become more apparent once local plans and projects are developed.
The NSAD has been established with the aim of not only promoting angling as a recreational and tourism resource but also as a high-level strategy for the future conservation of fisheries. The submissions and observations received from the EPA and the concerns voiced by NPWS will be reviewed/incorporated into  any implementation plan/programme developed.  The relationship of the Strategy and any related Implementation Plan/ Programme to relevant environmental obligations, including water quality (WFD), biodiversity (Habitats Directive), climate change, and related key plans and programmes can then be set out in greater detail.   This should reflect how the national angling resource is managed and utilised in a sustainable manner, in the wider context of environmental protection  nd in combination with the range of safeguards, such as the Environmental Charter, the implementation of which will aim to ensure that the NSAD should not have the potential to result in any significant effects to European sites.
DAFM observations relating to wider stakeholder engagement are addressed in the ‘Partnership and Collaboration’ section of the document. All documents were made available for download on the www.fisheriesireland.ie website.

Submissions/observations from non-statutory consultees

Submissions from a number of county councils, state agencies, angling organisations and individuals provide for amongst other things: collaborative working, strengthening of the environmental charter, alignment to the Water Framework Directive, recommendations relating to water extractions, turbines, invasive species, fisheries management and engagement. These observations are most welcome and can be incorporated into the implementation phase should the NSAD receive funding, they do not however impact on this determination.

Conclusion

Taking into account the submissions from the environmental authorities and the other submissions received during this consultation phase, IFI is satisfied that due to the high level strategic nature of the NSAD, combined with the fact that funding has not been identified, an SEA is not warranted at this stage in the process.  
Should a separate more detailed Strategy Implementation Plan/Programme be developed consideration would be given to the necessity for screening for an SEA.
IFI shall progress the NSAD in a manner which takes regard of the observations received from the environmental authorities in order to comply with all environmental requirements as necessary. 

Next Steps:

A copy of this decision, including, as appropriate the reasons for not requiring an environmental assessment, be made available for public inspection at IFI offices during office hours and is available on the IFI website.
IFI to notify the environmental authorities prescribed for consultation under sub-article (3) of the regulations of its decision.   
A copy of all submissions received will be made available on www.fishieriesireland.ie/nsad .