Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Questions (336)

John Perry

Question:

415 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of commercial fishing vessels here that have been lost at sea over the past ten years; the number of deaths that have occurred as a result of the loss of said vessels; if the Government has a fund from which families can draw when their principal earner is lost at sea. [28634/05]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

There is no definitive list held in the Department of all commercial fishing vessels lost at sea. Furthermore, not all vessels lost at sea are reported as being lost. In the period from January 1995 to December 2004 there have been 23 vessels that were the subject of a marine investigation or inquiry following the sinking or loss of that vessel at sea. These vessels were described as fishing vessels in the context of the investigation or inquiry held. The number of deaths that occurred as a result of the loss of these vessels is 32 persons.

There is no State funding as suggested by the Deputy other than supports available under the social welfare code. There was a limited lost at sea scheme put in place in 2001 by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, enabling the provision of fishing boat capacity to qualifying applicants in respect of fishing boats lost at sea between 1980 and 1990. The purpose of this scheme was not to compensate families for loss of family earnings but to facilitate a family member in continuing a family tradition of commercial fishing. The scheme did not apply to fishing boats lost at sea after 1990 when the current sea-fishing boat register was set up because the capacity of vessels which were included on the register after 1990 is available for transfer to another person, whether it be a family member or otherwise, in accordance with the provisions of sea-fishing boat licensing policy.