The Northern Celt was one of the Irish fishing boats issues with a temporary licence to fish in UK waters. The temporary licences from the UK stipulate that EU vessels are not authorised to fish inside the UK’s 12 nautical mile zone, and this also applies to the area around Rockall.
The Jura remains on operation duties in the area.
EU fishing vessels are not allowed inside the 12 nautical mile zone at Rockall
Mr McClenaghan has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs about the issue.
He employs nine crew members and said he cannot afford not to fish in the disputed waters as they account for around 30% of his annual catch.
“The Scottish navy are continuing to patrol the 12-mile limit and we’re waiting on further instructions from the Department of Foreign Affairs on what their next move will be,” Mr McClenaghan said.
The Marine Scotland fisheries patrol boat, the Jura, photograhed by the crew of the Northern Celt
In a statement to RTÉ News, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We aware of contact between an Irish fishing vessel and a Marine Scotland patrol vessel yesterday, 4 January.
“We are in contact with the Scottish and UK authorities on this.”
There has been a long running dispute over Rockall with the UK claiming sovereignty, but Ireland disputes the territorial claim.
The Northern Celt was at the centre of similar political dispute in June 2019 when the Scottish government imposed a ban on Irish vessels fishing within 12 miles of the uninhabited rock.
That dispute was resolved after discussions involving the Department of Foreign Affairs, but it appears the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is again laying claim to Rockall.