I propose to take Questions Nos. 341 and 342 together.
The Sea Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2019 amends section 10 of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act. The relevant excerpt from the legislation is as follows:
““10. (1) Subject to section 9 and subsection (2), a person on board a foreign sea-fishing boat shall not fish or attempt to fish while the boat is within the exclusive fishery limits unless he or she is authorised by law to do so.
(2) A person who is on board a sea-fishing boat owned and operated in Northern Ireland may fish or attempt to fish while the boat is within the area between 0 and 6 nautical miles as measured from the baseline (within the meaning of section 85) if, at that time, both the person and the boat comply with any obligation specified in subsection (3) which would apply in the same circumstances if the boat were an Irish sea-fishing boat.
(3) The obligations referred to in subsection (2) are the following:
(a) an obligation under the Sea-Fisheries Acts 2003 to 2019 or regulations made under those Acts;
(b) an obligation under the Fisheries Acts 1959 to 2019 or regulations made under those Acts;
(c) an obligation contained in regulations made under section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972;
(d) an obligation under a provision of the treaties of the European Union, or a provision of an act adopted by an institution of the European Union, an institution of the European Communities or a body competent under those treaties;
(e) an obligation specified in a policy directive given by the Minister under section 3(2)(b) of the Act of 2003;
(f) such other obligation as the Minister may specify in regulations under section 3.
(4) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence.”
Accordingly, only sea-fishing boats which meet the requirements set out in the legislation may legally fish in the area subject to the legislation. As I put on record during the passage of the legislation through the Oireachtas, I understand that the authorities in Northern Ireland have and do license their vessels to fish for mussel seed and apply terms and conditions just as is the case for Irish sea-fishing boats which engage in the same form of fishing.