Fishermen Win Appeal Over 6 Mile Trawling Ban
The Court of Appeal has ruled that the policy directive introducing a ban on trawling inside the 6nm limit is invalid and of no legal effect
The judgement follows from an appeal taken by Tom Kennedy and Neil Minihane against the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine over Policy Directive 1 of 2019. The directive was introduced by Minister Michael Creed on 5th March 2019.
The Policy Directive stated:
1.The Sea Fishing boat licences of vessels over 18 metres LOA (length overall) shall include a condition to the effect that such vessels are precluded from operating trawl or seine nets inside the six nautical mile zone, including inside the baselines, from 1 January 2020.
2. As a derogation from the above and without prejudice to an existing licence condition restricting access to this zone, the Sea Fishing boat licences for Polyvalent segment and RSW Pelagic segment vessels over 18 metres LOA shall include a condition to the effect that such vessels are permitted to operate trawl or seine nets inside the six nautical mile zone, including inside the baselines, for the targeting of sprat only, up to and including 31 December 2021, subject to any catch limits as may be determined by the Minister from time to time.
3. This Policy Directive shall enter into force on I January 2020.
The Appeals judges found that the failure of the Minister and Dept to notify the UK and EU of conservation and management measures that would affect non Irish vessels rendered the policy directive invalid.
The IS&WFPO welcomed this judgement and once again offered their assistance to the Respondents i.e. Minister for Marine and his Department Officials to properly introduce measures that will not discriminate against fishermen on the basis of their size and their ability to catch larger or smaller quantities of non-quota fish such as Sprat.
The IS&WFPO further advocated that scientific evaluation must begin immediately to calculate the biomass of all commercial Stocks within the 6-mile Zone and until this assessment is complete, they submit that NO Policy Directives should be set for these important fisheries.