• December 8, 2015


The Irish Government appear to have little control or ability to control the activities of so called super trawlers of their coasts.

We tracked several of the vessels over the past two weeks as they literally vacuumed the seas off Donegal and Mayo. The four vessels we monitored included the worlds largest trawler and fish processing ship the Annelies Ilena (formerly Atlantic Dawn and the second largest the Margiris). Both vessels can process several hundred tonnes of fish a day and they also destroy large number of fish as an unwanted by catch and also small marine mammals. Indeed just hours after the vessels had been off the west of Mayo a small minke whale was washed ashore dead although linkage to the fishing activity has not been confirmed.

We wrote to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, urging action and the reply today from the Private Secretary to Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney TD, is disappointing to say the least (see below):

“Dear Mr. Moffatt,

I refer to your recent correspondence forwarded from An Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny to Mr. Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to fishing trawlers off the northwest coast.

The fishing opportunities available to vessels, including within the Irish Exclusive Fishery Zone (EFZ) for 2015 are set out in TAC and Quota Regulation (Council Regulation (EU) 104/2015 dated 19 January 2015) on a stock by stock basis. In addition to the TACs and quotas set down each year by the Fisheries Council, under the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), a Member State may also swap (exchange) quotas with other Member States in a particular year.

Under Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 (the CFP basic regulation), changes to fisheries policy involving access or restriction to fishing opportunities or fishing areas come within the sole competency of the EU. Only the EU Commission may propose changes and any such proposal must be adopted under the co-decision process by the EU Parliament and EU Council. Member States, in consultation with the Commission, Member States affected and stakeholders are permitted to introduce non-discriminatory measures for the conservation and management of fish stocks within the 12 mile zone subject to compliance with policy and procedures set down in CFP Regulation. However, access to the 12 mile zone is set down in the CFP Regulation and may not be changed by an individual Member State.

All fishing opportunities set down in the TAC and Quota Regulation each year are determined by the EU Fisheries Council based on the scientific advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). ICES, in providing advice, considers all of the available data including catch and landing data supplied by the Member States and data provided by Member States scientific bodies, in Ireland’s case — the Marine Institute. The collection and transmission of catch and landings data is mandatory. Member States are also responsible for the collection of scientific data in accordance with EU Data Collection provisions.

Control of the vessel within Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone is a matter for the Irish control authorities. The Control authorities monitor fishing activity of all vessels operating in Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone. Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006, operational issues concerning sea fisheries control are a matter for the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the Naval Service.

I trust this clarifies the position.”

I have also written to the EU Commissioner but given that fisheries interests tend to dominate the Commission am not optimistic of a positive response. It’s clear that the Irish government will only awaken to this threat until the damage to the marine eco-system has gone past the point of no return!

Related links at Celtic News:

Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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