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Minister Creed responds to EU Commission infringement proceedings against Ireland on fisheries control

“The Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed notes the issuing today by the EU Commission of a Letter of Formal Notice as a first step in formal infringement proceedings being taken against Ireland for non-implementation of the required EU Points systems for  license holders of sea fishing boats and a separate system for skippers  of vessels.  The EU provisions for points for skippers is general in nature and requires primary legislation while the provisions for licence holders is set down in detail in the EU Regulations and may be implemented by means of secondary legislation through a Statutory Instrument.

In relation to the points system for licence holders, on 20 March 2018 the Minister signed into law the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 89 of 2018), which establishes a point system, which will apply to the Licence Holder of a sea-fishing boat when a serious infringement of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy is detected within Ireland’s 200 mile Exclusive Fishery zone by all fishing vessels both Irish and foreign.  This Statutory Instrument replaces a previous regime which was struck down by the Supreme Court following a successfully challenge by the fishing industry. 

Minister Creed said “The new SI has taken on board the Supreme Court judgements and also satisfies Ireland’s legal obligations under the  Common Fisheries Policy and will address the infringement proceedings issued by the EU Commission on this matter today”.

In addition, the Minister intends to submit in the near future a Memorandum to Government seeking approval for the drafting of a Bill to provide for inter alia the separate EU points system for skippers and forward  the General Scheme for consideration to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the context of Pre-legislative Scrutiny.

Noting the receipt of the EU Commission’s Letter of Formal Notice the Minister stated that “the letter indicates that Ireland has two months to submit observations and I look forward to furnishing the Commission with a detailed response advising that a system applying points to licence holders has been put in place already and that I am working to introduce primary legislation in respect of masters of fishing vessels as a matter of urgency.”

 

ENDS

 

Date Released: 17 May 2018