Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
354. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider reinstating capacity lost by fishermen since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 and giving an additional 12 months to them from the date of reinstatement to use this capacity in view of the disruption caused by Covid-19, when getting advice and contacting and meeting the Sea Fishing Boat Licencing Authority was difficult; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30374/21]
Under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003, the functions of sea-fishing boat licensing were transferred from the Minister to the Licensing Authority for Sea-fishing Boats, which operates on an independent basis subject to criteria set out in that Act and Ministerial Policy Directives.
As Minister I have responsibility for policy in relation to sea-fishing boat licensing under Section 3(3) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003, as amended by Section 99 of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006. In this context, and as referred to above, Section 3 of the Act makes provision for Ministerial Policy Directives to issue to the independent Licensing Authority for Sea-fishing Boats. I am, however, precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to individual cases, or a group of cases, with which the Licensing Authority is or may be concerned under Section 3(5) of the 2003 Act.
Under Policy Directive 2/2003, capacity taken off the Fishing Boat Register must be re-introduced on to the Register within two years of its removal, otherwise the entitlement is lost to its owner. This element of the Policy Directive is known informally as the "Two Year Rule" and has applied to off-Register capacity since 1st April 2004.
One of the main objectives of Policy Directives 2/2003 was to provide the tools for the effective management of capacity in order to comply with fleet capacity targets set down in EU fleet policy.
I am currently examining a recommendation from the Licensing Authority to remove the "Two Year Rule". Any proposal for a Policy Directive involves a formal procedure including a public consultation on the matter. I will consider the matter and if there is a case for considering a possible change in the policy as soon as practicable.
355. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the total fishing boat capacity allocated to Ireland under the Common Fisheries Policy; the amount of such capacity that is active at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30375/21]
Section 3 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003 transferred the functions of sea-fishing boat licensing from the Minister to the Licensing Authority for Sea-fishing Boats, which operates on an independent basis subject to criteria set out in that Act and Ministerial Policy Directives.
The Licensing Authority is the Registrar General of Fishing Boats, an official of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine or, under the superintendence of the Registrar General, the Deputy Registrar General of Fishing Boats. All applications for sea-fishing boat licences are considered by the Licensing Authority.
Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11th December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy requires each Member State to put in place measures to adjust the fishing capacity of its fleet to its fishing opportunities over time, taking into account trends and based on best scientific advice, with the objective of achieving a stable and enduring balance between capacity and opportunities. The Regulation set Ireland’s Fishing Capacity Ceiling from 1st January 2014. This ceiling is expressed in terms of gross tonnes (GT) and engine power (kilowatts – kW) for the total fishing capacity of fishing vessels flying the Irish flag.
Ireland’s Fishing Capacity Ceiling is set at 77,568GT and 210,083kW.
As of 1stJune 2021, the total amount of on-register capacity is 58436.1GT and 172017.92kW and the amount of off-register capacity that has not expired is 16482.35GT and 17715.75kW.