How Inland Fisheries Ireland are working to play our part in a future where there is 'enough, for all, forever'.
Ireland's inland fisheries services (Inland Fisheries Ireland and its predecessor agencies) have existed at the meeting point between natural resource management, environmental protection and conservation, and sustainable development since the Fisheries Consolidation Act was enacted in 1959.
With a fixed legislative focus on the protection, conservation and sustainable management of inland fisheries (and broader freshwater biological diversity) since the 1950s, our primary legislation has provided a statutory touchstone for sustainable development in Ireland since day one.
Over time, we have consistently delivered a sustainability-focused public service and embraced all opportunities to bring the sustainable management of our fisheries and, more generally, the critical area of freshwater biological diversity into sharper focus.
Working in a rapidly changing environment
Coincidentally, the period of time that has passed since our primary legislation was enacted is the same as the period in human history known as the "Great Acceleration" – characterised by unprecedented growth with associated unprecedented and unsustainable deterioration in natural systems and resources, which have enabled this growth.
The past 50 years or so represent the culmination of 250 years of rapid intensification of human impacts on global systems, which began with the Industrial Revolution. Today, humans use as much ecological resources as if we lived on 1.6 planet Earths (Global Footprint Network). However, there is hope. The planetary boundaries concept presents a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come, once we can reduce our global footprint and live sustainably within global limits. Watch Professor Johan Rockström introduce the 9 Planetary Boundaries.
Two of the greatest sustainability challenges facing humanity today are climate change and the decline in natural ecosystems productivity, and the loss of biodiversity. These and other sustainability challenges are addressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are envisioned as universal objectives linking economic, social and environmental dimensions of development (UN, 2015).
As one of our country’s core environmental agencies, Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to contributing wherever possible to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we strongly support the assertion that these SDGs are for everyone in society – that each of us can make a contribution, large or small, to the success of these goals. Our organisation is not only focused on sustainable management of Ireland's inland fisheries, but is also fully committed to leading by example in the sustainable delivery of our public service.
Since 2009, we have been working on the consolidation of sustainable internal environmental management systems (EMS) to minimise the impact on the environment resulting from our organisation's activities and facilities. Our Climate Action Framework (2018 to 2021) targets efficient and sustainable agency operation as a primary goal with associated cost savings. This document and our upcoming Climate Action Mandate (2022 to 2025) sets out Inland Fisheries Ireland’s general approach to reducing the environmental impact of our activities in order to deliver:
- Improved energy efficiency and organisational sustainability through energy auditing and subsequent action
- Reduced generation and improved management of wastes, emissions, effluents
- Conservation of natural resources
- Biodiversity, climate and environmental action initiatives that are aligned with our strategic aim