Dáil Éireann - Volume 375 - 24 November, 1987

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Beam-Trawler Licences.

21. Mrs. Doyle asked the Minister for Marine whether licences for beam-trawlers are being issued; the number which have been issued in the last six months and to whom; and the criteria for adopting such a licence.

Mr. P. Gallagher: Two sea fishing boat licences have been issued in respect of beam-trawlers over the last six months to fishermen in Killybegs and Clogherhead. In September, when approval in principle was granted for the issue of sea fishing [1472] boat licences in respect of five beam-trawlers, I decided that, for the future, licences for beam-trawlers would issue on a strict replacement basis only. This decision was based on the uptake of our whitefish quotas, particularly of sole and plaice and in the light of present fleet capacity engaged in fishing for these species.

Mrs. Doyle: Is the Minister considering introducing a charge for these licences in future? Is he aware that a beam-trawler licence has been issued in the last few months to a person who has not even got a boat and never had one? What are the criteria for land based people obtaining such licences?

Mr. P. Gallagher: First, there is no intention of introducing a licence fee. Of course, there are conditions attaching to these licences. One of the main conditions indicates our anxiety about over fishing in the Celtic Sea. The five licences which were issued at that time excluded the Celtic Sea. One of these licences must be taken up by 1 December and the other four by 1 January, so there is no question of any landlubbers or land based fishermen receiving these licences. All licences will be issued in the best interests of the fishermen and at all times we shall take into consideration the species involved, species under pressure and the very important question of employment and labour content.

Mrs. Doyle: Do I understand the Minister to say that if these licences are not effectively put into use by 1 January they will be revoked?

Mr. P. Gallagher: If they are not taken up by 1 January these people will be in a position to re-apply and I do not think that that would prejudice their applications. They will be treated as all other applications in the same way as we will receive as and from 1 January.