Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Fisheries Protection.
Mr. O'Shea Mr. O'Shea
105. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the steps being taken to investigate complaints by the Irish South and West Fishermen's Organisation of widespread illegal fishing in Irish waters by a fleet of Spanish owned French fishing vessels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17058/02]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern)
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): I am aware of concerns expressed by the Irish South and West Fishermen's Organisation regarding the fishing activities of Spanish owned, French registered fishing vessels in Irish waters. I have had inquiries made into this matter and the control authorities advise that these vessels are regularly checked, both at sea and on landing into Irish ports, as are all fishing vessels operating within the Irish fisheries patrol area.
The Irish Naval Service monitors the fishing activities of Spanish owned, French registered fishing vessels as part of its normal patrol missions. Checks at sea include the inspection of fishing gear used by vessels, using the methods and criteria prescribed under EU fisheries legislation, for compliance with requirements on minimum mesh sizes. Vessels are also boarded at sea and their catches inspected for compliance with EU fisheries legislation governing the minimum sizes of fish. The proper recording of catches is also checked. My Department's land based inspectorate also carries out regular checks of all vessels when they discharge fish into Irish ports.
Spanish owned, French registered vessels and all other non-Irish vessels are required to give prior notification of landing, including information on catches aboard the vessel which it is proposed to land. Inspections carried out by my Department's sea fishery officers check the advance notification information against the catches recorded in the European Communities fishing logbook and the actual fish being landed. In addition, checks are made on the fishing gear used by these vessels and on other technical requirements set down in EU fisheries legislation.
I am advised that checks, at sea and on land, of Spanish owned, French registered fishing vessels have not resulted in the detection of fisheries offences. This matter will continue to receive due attention from the Irish Naval Service and my Department's land based inspectorate in the context of overall fisheries control and enforcement.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Fisheries Protection.