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Naval Service

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (373)

Pádraig MacLochlainn


373. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence if the Naval Service made similar requests in relation to compliance with the European Union Common Fisheries Policy to the skippers of fishing vessels of other European Union member states that were fishing in the same area off the south coast of Ireland as an Irish registered fishing vessel (details supplied) when they were requested to return to harbour by the Naval Service on 30 November 2021; and if not, the reason. [61348/21]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Naval Service is the State's principal sea-going agency and is tasked with a variety of defence and other roles. The primary day-to-day tasking of the Naval Service is to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with the State's obligations as a member of the European Union. In terms of fishery protection the Naval Service is tasked with patrolling all Irish waters from the shoreline to the outer limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone. These patrols are carried out on a regular and frequent basis and are directed to all areas of Irish waters as necessary.

In relation to national sea-fishery protection roles, the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 established the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) as the competent Authority for securing efficient and effective enforcement of sea fisheries protection legislation and the sustainable exploitation of marine fish resources from the waters around Ireland within Ireland's EEZ. A Service Level Agreement is in place which underpins the relationship between the SFPA and the Defence Organisation.

The Naval Service work in close cooperation with the SFPA in relation to a risk based approach to fishery protection to better utilise resources. This is being undertaken with the encouragement and agreement of the SFPA and the European Fisheries Control Agency - EFCA.

In relation to the 30 November 2021, an Irish Registered fishing vessel (FV) was detained by the Irish Naval Service for alleged breaches of Irish and European fisheries legislation. As part of the detention process the FV was instructed to proceed to a designated port, under escort from the ship, where she was subsequently handed over to An Garda Síochána. Other FVs that might have been in the area were not instructed to proceed to a port as they were not detained for alleged breaches of Irish and European fisheries legislation.

No further comment will be made as it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing cases.