Dr Susan Steele is currently the Executive Director of the EU Fisheries Control Agency. Prior to this Susan held the role of Executive Chairperson and Member of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. In this article, Susan speaks to us about her role and experience of working in the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, and a little about the work that they do.
Looking after the future sustainability of our oceans and those that depend on them by ensuring that our sea fisheries and seafood safety are appropriately regulated is a rewarding and at the same time challenging career.
Being an executive management authority member with the SFPA provides the opportunity to lead a team that take pride in their role regulating Irish sea fisheries and seafood safety. As the SFPA is a relatively small organisation of almost 170 employees, there is plenty of variety in the role, from interacting with each of the Port Offices which are located nationwide, to liaising with the Head Office specialist functions including Food & Fisheries Support, Data Management Unit and Corporate affairs. The executive authority member role provides a unique opportunity to positively impact the fishing industry in Ireland while ensuring its future sustainability and implementation of EU Common Fisheries Policy objectives.
The SFPA organisation’s preparation for the UK’s recent departure from the EU required great teamwork across all ports and business units. I am proud to have led the SFPA organisation with the support of my authority member colleagues, through this event of national significance which had a huge impact on the fishing industry in Ireland. This is both a challenging and exciting time for the SFPA organisation and a time of positive change, with many opportunities ahead.
The SFPA is a family-friendly workplace with proactive policies for flexibility and career development. Staff working in the SFPA have access to employee support, high-quality training and good career opportunities. The SFPA Head Office is located in Clonakilty, County Cork, which is a vibrant, family-friendly town, providing an excellent quality of life with proximity to the beautiful landscape and beaches of West Cork and nearby Cork City. This is reflected in some of the awards which Clonakilty has won over the last number of years including the best town in the UK and Ireland and best town in Europe.