S.I. no. 3 of 2014 gives effect to the requirements of Article 92 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 and Title VII of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 404/2011 of 8 April 2011. In accordance with the EU Regulations, this instrument establishes a point system for the Licence Holder of a sea-fishing boat when a serious infringement of the Common Fisheries Policy by a vessel is detected within the Exclusive Fishery Limits of the State or for an Irish vessel, wherever it may be. The accumulation of points for persistent serious infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy will lead to the suspension of a sea fishing boat licence for a period from 2 months to one year. In extreme cases persistent serious fisheries infringements could lead to the permanent withdrawal of a licence.
The maximum capacity for Ireland’s fishing fleet is laid down by EU Regulation. This fleet reference level remains the same regardless of the loss of capacity arising from the application of penalty points regime to any individual license holder. In the event that a licence is permanently withdrawn the capacity in the form of gross tonnage (GT) and kilowatts (kW) is lost to its owner and reverts to the State.
Under Section 3(2) (b) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003, as amended by section 99 of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, the Minister may give policy directives on sea-fishing boat licensing to the Licensing Authority. These policy directives “may provide for measures to control and regulate the capacity, structure, equipment, use and operation of sea-fishing boats for the purpose of protecting, conserving or allowing the sustainable exploitation of living marine aquatic species or the rational management of fisheries, in furtherance of national policy objectives and to comply with requirements of the common fisheries policy of the European Communities or other international obligations which are binding on the state.” In the event that any such relevant policy directive is under consideration, I will consult fully with stakeholders.