I am aware of media reports in relation to the claims referred to by the Deputy but I have no specific knowledge on the validity or otherwise of those claims. Accordingly, I am not in a position to comment on the details of the case in question. On the issue of observers generally, there is no such general system currently in place in EU waters under the Common Fisheries Policy. It has however been agreed that an observer system should be introduced by member states in respect of certain deep-sea fisheries. We are currently engaged in planning such a system.
It would not be realistic to place total reliance on observer schemes for the purposes of monitoring catches and stock conservation. A range of other control and enforcement instruments such as logbooks, the application of satellite technology, port-side controls and inspections generally is already in place to support such objectives and these instruments are likely to continue to be the mainstay in monitoring catches.