Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Under this policy EU fishing fleets are given equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds subject to allocated fish quotas.
In relation to the access so-called "super trawlers" have to Irish waters, I should point out that all foreign fishing vessels, on the north-west coast, are excluded from Ireland's 12 mile fishing zone, other than for transit purposes. All foreign pelagic fishing vessels, including pelagic factory vessels, are also precluded from fishing in Ireland's 12 mile fishing zone on the west coast.
Irish fishing vessels greater than or equal to 36.58m (120 feet) in length are precluded from fishing in Ireland's 12 mile zone. From 1 January 2020, all trawling by larger trawlers, over 18m in length, in coastal waters inside Ireland’s 6 mile zone ceased other than for a sprat fishery which is being phased out during 2020 and 2021.
Under Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013 (the CFP basic regulation), changes to fisheries policy involving access or restriction to fishing opportunities or fishing areas come within the sole competence of the EU. Only the European Commission may propose changes and any such proposal must be adopted under the co-decision process by the EU Parliament and EU Council. Member States, in consultation with the Commission, affected Member States and stakeholders are permitted to introduce non-discriminatory measures for the conservation and management of fish stocks within the 12 mile zone subject to compliance with policy and procedures set down in the CFP Regulation.
The monitoring and control of fishing vessels within Ireland's Exclusive Fisheries Zone are matters for the Irish control authorities. Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006, all operational issues of this nature concerning sea-fisheries control are, as a matter of law, exclusively for the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the Naval Service. I am precluded from getting involved in operational matters including in relation to law enforcement.