Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 07 October, 2003
Written Answers. - Fisheries Protection.
Ms Lynch Ms Lynch
145. Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the monitoring of the Irish Box; the position regarding his discussion with the EU regarding the status of the Irish Box, following the meeting of the Fisheries Council on 22 July 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22039/03]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): As I advised the House before the summer recess, the monitoring of activities in waters within Ireland's exclusive economic zone, including the Irish Box, is undertaken by the Naval Service and the Air Corps, agencies of the Department of Defence. My Department is kept informed routinely as to  the trends and levels of activities detected in these waters. Particular attention has been, and continues to be, paid to vessel activities within the Irish Box as this area has been the subject of particular fisheries measures.
The Irish authorities are continuing to monitor closely activity within the Irish Box. In relation to the specific restriction on the number of Spanish vessels permitted within the Irish Box at any one time, the number has remained below the 40 vessels threshold in the relevant EU regulations.
This matter was not discussed at the EU Fisheries Council on 22 July as the Italian Presidency considered that the issue warranted further detailed discussion and technical analysis in the relevant Council working group. The issue, however, is to be discussed again at next Monday's Fisheries Council in Luxembourg and I will be pressing strongly for the matter to be finalised at that Council.
The Italian Presidency has recently tabled a compromise which moves considerably forward from the Commission's proposal of last December but in my view it does not adequately address all of our concerns. We are continuing to work on securing necessary improvements to the compromise proposal in order to ensure that fish stocks in the waters around our coast receive the necessary level of protection.
Dáil Éireann 571 Written Answers. Fisheries Protection.