Supreme Court delays penalty points against Irish fishermen
2017-12-15 16:26:01   copyfrom:    hits:

Irish fishing vessels (Photo: A Anderson)REPUBLIC OF IRELANDThursday, December 14, 2017,00:10 (GMT + 9)The Supreme

Irish fishing vessels. (Photo: A. Anderson)


Click on the flag for more information about Republic of IrelandREPUBLIC OF IRELAND 
Thursday, December 14, 2017, 00:10 (GMT + 9)


The Supreme Court has decided to uphold a High Court's decision and delay a controversial proposal to apply penalty points against fishermen engaging in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing.

This point system will not be applied until the Supreme Court makes its judgement, a measure that was welcomed by Donegal parlamentarians, Donegal Now reported.

This point system was objected by Donegal representatives like Pat the Cope Gallagher, who consider it wrong to introduce a law for fishing infringements, especially in the context of the potential serious impacts the sanctions would have on the fishing sector until such time as they have all the facts at their disposal.

These legislators expressed concern about the fact the draft Statutory Instrument prepared by the minister, does not afford the fishermen or the vessel owners the right to appeal to an Irish court.

While the regulations governing the system were changed in 2016, the State had appealed the High Court orders in relation to challenges by the licensees of two fishing vessels who had faced penalties under 2014 regulations.

In both instances, the licencees faced the possibility of having penalty points attached to their licences under 2014 regulations brought in under the Common Fisheries Policy to deter illegal fishing, Irish Examiner informed.

One of the cases was related to the Cradyden Fishing Company-licensed Anders Neel vessel, which was boarded by fishery protection officers at Ros a Mhil, Co Galway, in December 2014, when a 126.8 per cent under-recording of a whiting catch was detected.

The second related to the Tea Rose, licensed to brothers Patrick and Cathal O Sullivan, which was boarded at Castletownbere, Co Cork, on April 7, 2015. Cathal O’Sullivan, as master of the vessel was later charged at Bantry District Court with under-recording the catch of hake, cod, haddock and pollack. 

This penalty system, administered by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), provides for eventual suspension of fishing licences and ultimately for complete withdrawal of the licence depending on how many points a licensee incurs.

In both cases, heard separately, High Court judges found in favour of Crayden and the O’Sullivans and against the SFPA, the Minister for Marine and the State.

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