Sea patrols to target unlicensed fishing
THE Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) will carry out patrols of the Wicklow coast in an effort to target unlicensed fishing operators.
The nationwide inshore fisheries patrol programme aims to help protect Ireland’s valuable crab, lobster and whelk fisheries. The programme will run up until Autumn and anyone found to be non-compliant with sea-fisheries or seafood safety regulations can expect to face prosecution.
Susan Steele, Chair of the SFPA said: ‘Illegal fishing by a small number of fishermen is 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. It also poses a risk to public health, and could potentially damage the excellent reputation Irish seafood enjoys both at home and abroad.’
Licensing, registration, operation of on board vessel trackers where they are required and compliance with fishing within designated fishing areas will be among the issues that will be scrutinised. The SFPA will also be checking that accurate sales records are being maintained. Only licensed fishermen are permitted to sell their catches commercially to ensure traceability of product, to protect consumer health, and ensure conservation of the fisheries.
The inspections will be carried out by two 7.5 Metre Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB) craft with the capacity to winch lift and inspect lobster pots and keeps.