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Project May 15, 2024

'The Last Generation'? Indigenous Irish Fishing on the Brink of Collapse



More than half of the world’s fish caught for human consumption comes from small-scale fishing communities, yet many of these communities are at risk of being wiped out by global forces beyond their control.

Ireland offers a case study in the kinds of challenges small nations face in the current world economy.

Already hammered by overfishing, the increased price of fuel and energy, inflation, geopolitics, and climate change, the Irish fishing industry is now at risk of collapse due to changes in trade rules triggered by Brexit, potentially wiping out entire coastal communities, traditional ways of life, and a pillar of the country’s culture and local economies. Indigenous Irish fishermen openly talk about being “the last generation to fish our seas.”

The island nation with 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) of coastline is surrounded by some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, but the post-Brexit trade deal between the U.K. and EU is “a death blow.”

“We’re going to suffer in our coastal communities. We’re going to see people devastated over this. Generations and generations of people who have fished, there'll be nobody left of that family fishing. Forced out of the industry that they love. It's a crime against us," says Patrick Murphy, CEO of the Irish South & West Fish Producer’s Organisation.

Policies could still be implemented to help the industry become stronger and more secure. This project explores possibilities, revealing obstacles and threats while outlining reasons for hope.



a yellow halftone illustration of two trout



teal halftone illustration of a construction worker holding a helmet under their arm


Labor Rights

Labor Rights