Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Illegal Fishing Allegations
426. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken to deal with the repeated information that has been brought to his attention regarding the fisherman's co-operative in Castletownbere, County Cork engaging in the catching of black fish. [20509/15]
As advised in the previous replies, from time to time I receive allegations or such allegations are sent to the Department in relation to illegal fishing activity. In every instance, these allegations are sent to either the SFPA and/or An Garda Síochána, as appropriate, for investigation. In respect of the letters received in relation to Castletownbere allegations of illegal fishing, I arranged to have all letters received by me or my Department referred to an Garda Síochána and to the Chair of the SFPA. I have again asked that an Garda Síochána and SFPA examine all matters set down in the letters as appropriate. I have also asked that the SFPA work, as appropriate, in conjunction with an Garda Síochána in this examination. Over the recent period, I have received further letters in this regard which have been sent to both the Chair of the SFPA and an Garda Síochána.
As Minister, I do not have a role in operational matters in relation to sea fisheries control under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006. In the event that policy issues arise in respect of this examination or any other such instance, I expect to receive a report in accordance with Section 43.1(e) of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006 and in relation to any corporate governance issues that may arise.
The SFPA has provided me with an interim report on the investigative process which is underway and its interactions with an Garda Síochána concerning the letters. Officials of my Departmental have met with the SFPA concerning the interim report on the allegations and in relation to the most recent letters received have kept me apprised of the issues.