• November 21, 2015


The Director of Information of the Celtic League, Bernard Moffatt, has written to the Irish government urging action to curb damage to fishery livelihoods and the marine eco-system of the west of Ireland caused by super trawlers. Two such vessels have been working in the area off Donegal in the past week. The DOI says such vessels are banned in other jurisdiction and EU Fisheries policy which lets them function is seriously flawed.

The DOI says it is not just fishing livelihoods of indigenous fleets but also the potentially lucrative tourist spin off from the west of Ireland ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ they will damage.

The letter to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, is set out below:
“An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, TD
Department of the Taoiseach
Government Buildings
Upper Merrion Street
Dublin 2
16th November 2015
Dear Taoiseach,

On the 11th of November on behalf of the Celtic League I started observation of the movements of the Lithuanian flagged Super Trawler Margiris which was fishing off Donegal. This vessel has the capacity to catch and process 100s of tonnes of fish daily and it carried out an intensive pattern of fishing in the area for five days. Its operation was not even (as far as we can determine) interpreted by the passage through that area of Storm Abigail. The vessel has now left the area presumably with a full catch and is proceeding to port.

The Margaris is the second largest trawler in the World at 9,500 tonnes with a crew of 50 seafarers and processing workers it has made a number of visits to Irish waters in recent years.

Approximately three days into Margaris fishing stint of Donegal we started to monitor the movements of the Worlds largest trawler the Annelies Ilena (Dutch registered) formerly registered in Ireland as the Atlantic Dawn. We tracked its progress from the Netherlands believing that it to would head for waters of Donegal and (stopping for a brief 24 hour fishing stint in the English Channel) it has arrived there today.

The Annelies Ilena can process 250 tonnes of fish per day and has a crew of 60.
These vessels because of there catching capacity can cause damage to the marine eco system. For this reason they have been ‘kicked out’ of other jurisdictions from Australia to Mauritania and yet the Irish government seems incapable of addressing the problem and consequent damage they cause.

It is not just the immediate fish stocks it is associated detriment to other fish species (I believe the Annelies Ilena has been fined for breaches in Ireland – though the sum involved given the capacity and profit of these vessels will not be a deterrent) and marine mammals.

It seems insane that at a time when Ireland is trying to developing lasting tourist potential from ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ and the marine mammals that live along you western seaboard that vessels which can scoop up immature whales, dolphins and seals should be allowed this kind of untrammelled access.

They are in effect destroying the livelihood of the indigenous fishing fleets that use more sustainable catching methods and also a long term marine tourism potential for western Ireland.

Will the Irish government as a matter of urgency press the EU to apply the same type of restrictions on these vessels as have been applied elsewhere e.g. Australia.

Please can I urge you to take action before it is too late!

I will of course we also writing to the EU Fisheries Commissioners ourselves and this correspondence would have been copied to your Minister of State for Fisheries but no identifiable email can be found on the government web site for his office (it will be forwarded by post).
Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”





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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