Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fishery Restrictions.

11.

asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he will indicate details of any new restrictions put on the fishing efforts of member states of the EEC, and Spain, in recent weeks.

No new restrictions on fishing effort have been imposed on EEC fishing vessels in recent weeks.

As regards Spain, the position is that EEC Regulations up to 31 March 1979 effectively restricted Spanish fishing in our waters from 1 October last to an area which at no point is less than 50 miles outside baselines.

The EEC has recently reached agreement with Spain on fishing arrangements in Community waters for the remainder of this year. In so far as Ireland is concerned this basically involves a continuance of existing arrangements with a reduction in licence numbers and catch allocation in our waters.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Arising out of the Minister's reply to the previous question, having regard——

Chair—the previous question.

The Deputy was seeking to ask a supplementary question.

The Minister will not get away with it so easily. Tough luck.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Having regard to the fact that apparently BIM propose to make some alterations in the shipyards, and that the boatyards appear not to be paying, will the Minister agree it is of the utmost importance that these accounts should be presented, audited and signed without delay?

(Cavan-Monaghan): Will the Minister take steps to see that is done?

I have already said it will be done in May.

I did not hear the reply to Question No. 11 and it was not my fault.

The Minister read it without interruption.

I am willing to give it again.

It is not a contentious reply.

I always like to be helpful. The reply is as follows:

No new restrictions on fishing effort have been imposed on EEC fishing vessels in recent weeks.

As regards Spain the position is that EEC Regulations up to 31 March 1979 effectively restricted Spanish fishing in our waters from 1 October last to an area which at no point is less than 50 miles outside baselines. The EEC has recently reached agreement with Spain on fishing arrangements in Community waters for the remainder of this year. In so far as Ireland is concerned this basically involves a continuance of existing arrangements with a reduction in licence numbers and catch allocation in our waters.

May I assume from the Minister's reply that the 50-mile exclusive limit, which was bandied about so much by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and others, has now gone by the board?

That is not the burden of my answer.

This arises directly from Question No. 11 on the Order Paper. Is the 50-mile exclusive limit now completely forgotten, the limit which the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Health, the Minister for the Gaeltacht, the Minister for Defence——

We cannot have a speech.

——asserted would be the position if Fianna Fáil were returned to power?

If the Deputy had listened to my reply he would know this amounts to an effective 50-mile limit as far as Spain is concerned, and involves a further reduction of 16 per cent for the rest of this year in the number of licences to be issued to Spanish vessels outside 50 miles. The total number of licences for Community waters has been reduced from 240 to 200. All of this is outside 50 miles from our baseline.

Will the Minister stop bluffing?

They are the facts.

Will he tell us about Belgium, France, Germany and the other countries?

The Deputy is good.

The Minister's bluff was called last night. The Minister for Foreign Affairs should be blushing. He was positive with his legal knowledge that we only had to establish——

(Interruptions.)

Question No. 12.