Ireland was notified of a Commission Implementing Decision revoking the approval of the Irish control plan submitted for the weighing of fishery products. The European Commission has deemed that Ireland’s obligations arising from Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 were not being met by the Irish control plan as the risk of non-compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy could not be minimised.
The monitoring and control of fishing vessels within Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone are matters for the Irish control authorities. Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006, all operational issues of this nature are exclusively for the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the Naval Service. As Minister, I am precluded from getting involved in operational control matters such as this.
I understand that the SFPA submitted a Control Plan to the EU Commission for review and approval on 22nd September 2021. A new draft plan must be accepted by the Commission and formally adopted by it under legislation.
Subsequently, the SFPA has advised that it has had comprehensive engagement with DG Mare on the plan. The SFPA advised that it has updated industry representatives on the discussions with DG Mare.
During EU Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius visit to Killybegs recently, representatives of the fishing industry set out the challenges facing the industry in the absence of a control plan that would allow weighing of fish in factories. I asked the Commissioner, during this visit, to give as much priority as possible to the Commission’s examination of Ireland’s draft control plan given the real challenges currently being faced by the industry.
I am keeping the lines of communication open with Commissioner Sinkevicius over the coming period so that he understands the challenges that would practically arise if a new Control plan is not in place for the beginning of the 2022 pelagic season.