In­shore boats to be monitored by author­ity

Irish Examiner - County - - News -

The Sea-Fish­eries Pro­tec­tion Author­ity (SFPA) has com­menced an in­shore fish­eries pa­trol pro­gramme as part of its mea­sures to help pro­tect valu­able crab, lob­ster and whelk fish­eries, as well as pub­lic health.

Un­li­censed op­er­a­tors will be specif­i­cally tar­geted dur­ing the pro­gramme which will run un­til late au­tumn.

The SFPA, whose head­quar­ters are based in Clon­akilty, warned any­one found to be non-com­pli­ant with sea-fish­eries or seafood safety reg­u­la­tions will face prose­cu­tion.

Li­cens­ing, reg­is­tra­tion, op­er­a­tion of on­board ves­sel track­ers where they are re­quired, and com­pli­ance with fish­ing within des­ig­nated fish­ing ar­eas, will be among the is­sues be­ing scru­ti­nised.

The SFPA will also be check­ing that ac­cu­rate sales records are be­ing main­tained to en­sure trace­abil­ity of prod­uct which is es­sen­tial to pro­tect con­sumer health and con­ser­va­tion of fish­eries.

Su­san Steele, chair of the SPFA, said il­le­gal fish­ing by a small num­ber of peo­ple was un­fair to the ma­jor­ity of in­shore fish­er­men who fish legally.

“It jeop­ar­dises the fu­ture of the in­dus­try by threat­en­ing the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of Ire­land’s valu­able in­shore fish­eries on which many coastal com­mu­ni­ties rely for a liv­ing,” she said. “It also poses a se­ri­ous risk to pub­lic health, and po­ten­tially dam­age the ex­cel­lent rep­u­ta­tion Ir­ish seafood en­joys both at home and abroad.”

The in­shore pa­trols’ pro­gramme is be­ing op­er­ated coun­try­wide. The SPFA has de­ployed two AC750 7.5m rigid in­flat­able craft with the ca­pac­ity to winch lift and in­spect lob­ster pots and keeps to fa­cil­i­tate de­tailed in­spec­tions, while its shore mon­i­tor­ing in­cludes ve­hi­cle pa­trols to small lo­cal ports and land­ing places. In­spec­tion of­fi­cers will iden­tify and mon­i­tor un­li­censed and un­reg­is­tered ves­sels.

The SFPA will be check­ing boats through the sum­mer.

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