Thursday, 16 November 2023
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
216. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in light of the passing of the EU Nature Restoration Law, his future plans in relation to the issues of the no quota on sprat and the Inishore bottom trawling within 6 km limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50427/23]
In December 2018, it was announced that vessels over 18 metres would be excluded from trawling in inshore waters inside the six nautical mile zone and the baselines from 1 January 2020. This decision to exclude vessels over 18 metres from trawling inside the six nautical miles was the subject of extended legal proceedings following a Judicial Review to the High Court taken by two applicant fishermen challenging the validity of the Policy Directive which underpinned the initiative. The outcome of these proceedings, only achieved earlier this year, is that Policy Directive 1 of 2019 has been quashed by an Order of Certiorari made by the Court of Appeal.
Further to the final judgment of the Courts, and on the basis of the advice received from legal counsel in respect of next steps, I have decided to proceed with a new public consultation in the matter of trawling in inshore waters inside the six nautical mile zone and the baselines. The sprat fishery takes place predominantly within the six nautical mile limit.
As I have previously put on record on this issue, my Department has sought up-to-date scientific and economic advice from the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara, respectively, on trawling in the waters inside the six nautical miles. I look forward to receiving policy options from my Department for my consideration in due course.