Thursday, 19 November 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Common Fisheries Policy
344. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the outrage in coastal communities at the ongoing access to the Exclusive Economic Zone being granted to super trawlers and factory trawlers to fish there; the way in which the practice meets the stated objectives of the Government and the European Union to maintain a sustainable fishery for coastal communities and to meet the environmental responsibilities of Ireland; and the reason Ireland and the European Union are not following the lead of Australia in banning super trawlers from national waters. [37423/20]
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 would 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 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 also precluded from fishing in Ireland's 12 mile zone.
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, including super trawlers, 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 and I am expressly precluded from getting involved in operational matters.