After fishing during summer holidays from when I was 13 on the ‘Father Murphy’, I went full time fishing on the ’Muriel Grace’ (named after my mother) for 2 years in the late 1980s but unfortunately Michael, my father passed away in 1988 so I came ashore to work on the shore side of the business. During my career I have fished, worked in the now closed Dublin Fish market, in our fish factory, the family ship’s chandlers and been part owner of Silver King Seafood’s salmon farm in west Cork. I have also represented the Irish fishing industry nationally and in Brussels and am ex-chairman of the Irish Fish Producer’s Organisation (Irish fishing boat owners).
Throughout, my career I have worked in almost every aspect of the fishing and aquaculture industry in Ireland and further afield. Indeed I have worked in the 2000’s with the government of the Seychelles for about 4 years and some consultative work with the authorities of Tanzania giving them advice on how to develop their inshore artisanal fisheries. This was exciting and rewarding work but unfortunately the investments initially promised was not forthcoming. However, it did give me the insight into how international fishery works in other jurisdictions especially with regards to third country agreements and with EU fleets in particular.
It even gave me the opportunity to meet some of the captured Somalian pirates in the local jail who were rampant at that particular time.
My life has literally been immersed in the industry since I was a child. I would like to think I can articulate my experiences with anyone who is in anyway interested either in the industry itself, business in general or the way of life of a small unique part of our community which is disappearing quickly due to the modernisation and investment into what was once a way of life into what is now more of a hardnosed business in today’s world. That being said, there are some very good people with the long term preservation of the industry close to their heart. They are the future and hopefully can establish a long term future for the industry. There are also of course poor operators, sometimes government backed but for the planet to keep a long term, replenishable vibrant industry all players have to look to the future and not the short term ‘fast buck’ approach. I hope with the School of Fish’, we are doing our small bit to help people and sometimes ‘influencers’ realise this is the only way for our industry.
I would hope that with my experience along with my colleagues, we would not only show you the insights of the industry but that you might come away with a more knowledgeable view and maybe after a robust discussion (you don’t have to agree with everything I say), that you would have formed your own opinion on how fisheries should go forward into the future. However, the purpose of the day is knowledge exchange and fun so we promise politics will have its place but can be left to a small part of the day.
In a nutshell, I would hope that I can answer almost any relevant question and give an confident answer backed up by a lifetime’s experience of all aspects of the industry which will fulfil your day and those of your group. Most importantly, we recognise the diversity of groups and allow you to lead us into what you want to speak and learn about. On an equal note, I feel we have built a personable, knowledgeable team here who will give you and your group a most enjoyable and memorable day on Howth’s beautiful harbour.