Flanna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on the Marine, Brian Ó Domhnaill, has welcomed the commitment by Minister Simon Coveney to accept the main elements of Fianna Fáil’s bill seeking to decriminalise minor fishing infringements.
Today the Seanad debated the Fianna Fáil Bill ‘Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2013’, which addresses the fact that Ireland is the only significant maritime jurisdiction in the EU which doesn’t have administrative penalties for fishing infringements.
Senator Ó Domhnaill commented: “I welcome the fact that Minister Simon Coveney has accepted the main thrust of the Fianna Fáil bill.
“The Minister said he would set about introducing a penalty points system for fishing infringements, which is welcome.
“I would urge Minister Coveney to move ahead with this legislation as quickly as possible because the longer the current laws are in place the more minor fishing offences are punished unfairly.
“In Ireland, 75% of fishing vessels are less than 10 metres in length but a small trawler is classified under the same criteria as a massive factory ship. A larger vessel which is infringing on a large scale needs to be appropriately punished. At the moment there are similar sanctions for vessels that may be hugely different in size and capacity.
“For instance, a log book offence by a small fishing vessel, which may be outside its permitted grounds, may have its catch and gear confiscated even though neither would have been used in the offence.
“We need the laws changed to address these anomalies in the system and I look forward to Minister Coveney publishing this Bill early next year.”