Ireland’s Eel Management Plan (EMP), including the closure of commercial fishing, was approved, in 2009, by the European Commission under EU Regulation 1100/2007. Fishing for eel was by way of public licence and therefore the issue of compensation does not arise. However, both Minister Naughten and I have secured Exchequer funding for a support measure. Officials have engaged with the European Commission in relation to Ireland's proposals to fund a support scheme for former eel fishermen and the Department has received written advice from the Revenue Commissioners as regards the tax treatment of any payments under such a scheme.
It is intended that the scheme will be open to former fishermen who held an Inland Fisheries Ireland eel fishing licence or a permit from ESB in the period prior to the closure. Officials are liaising with IFI and ESB to verify catch records declared by fishermen and I expect that an announcement of the scheme and a call for applications will be made shortly.