Micheál Martin, acting as Minister for the Marine has signed S.I No 318 of 2020 enacting a penalty points sytem for the Irish fishing industry
Irish Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, acting as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has signed S.I No 318 of 2020 European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2020 into law today, Friday 28 August 2020.
The Statutory Instrument (S.I) will bring into effect a penalty point system for both Irish fishing vessels fishing in Irish water and in other EU Member States waters and for foreign vessels fishing in Irish waters.
Some of the main points of the S.I are below.
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) has been appointed by the government body who will assign penalty points. A ‘Determination Panel’ will be established by the SFPA for the purpose of determining whether a serious infringement has occurred. The members of the Determination Panel will consist of three independent legal professionals appointed by the Attorney. The Determination Panel shall, if so requested by the licence holder, hold an oral hearing for the purposes of the determination.
Where an SFPA Official detects an alleged serious infringement he/she shall prepare and forward a report to the SFPA who will send the report and any material collected to the Determination Panel to determine if a serious infringement has occurred. The SFPA shall, at the same time furnish the fishing vessel’s licence holder with a copy of the material. The licence holder will then have 30 working days from the date of notification to make submissions to the Determination Panel. The Determination Panel may request that extra information be provided by the SFPA or the holder of the fishing licence in relation to the issue under determination by the Determination Panel.
The Determination Panel shall communicate their determination and reasons for their determination to the SFPA and the licence holder.
If the licence holder is deemed to have committed a serious infringement by the Determination Panel, the SFPA will assign the points to the holder of the licence in relation to Irish vessels and in the case of the foreign vessel it will notify the holder of the foreign licence of the Determination Panel’s decision. Where the holder of the foreign licence is not contactable, the master of the vessel will be notified of the proposal to notify the flag Member State concerned of the detection of the serious infringement.
The SFPA will then notify the Licensing Authority after the period allowed to make an appeal has expired; whether an appeal has been made and in the case where an appeal has been made and it was unsuccessful.
Points assigned to the holder of an Irish licence remain assigned regardless of any criminal proceedings pending or the outcome of any such proceeding, in respect of the serious infringement concerned.
Upon notification, the Licensing Authority shall record the points assigned to the holder of an Irish licence that relates to the Irish sea-fishing boat concerned. Points notified to the Licensing Authority shall be recorded as applying from the date of detection of the serious infringement concerned. Points notified to the Licensing Authority shall also be recorded against the fishing capacity of the Irish sea-fishing boat concerned and remain so attached even if the boat or the capacity (or any part thereof) is subsequently deregistered or transferred, unless any or all of the points have been deleted.
Points assigned to the fishing capacity associated with the licence will remain attached regardless of any transfer, division or sale of that fishing capacity, or any deregistration of the Irish fishing vessel concerned.
Where fishing capacity from more than one Irish fishing vessel, in respect of which points are assigned, is combined and used for the purpose of an application for an Irish licence relating to another Irish fishing vessel, the total number of points assigned in respect of those first-mentioned boats shall transfer to the holder of the new licence.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine will appoint an Appeals Officer, which will consist of one or more persons nominated by the Attorney General, who are practising barristers or solicitors of not less than five years standing.
An Irish licence holder or a foreign licence holder can make an appeal to the Appeals Officer not later than 30 working days from the date of the notification of the proposal by the SFPA.
Where a SFPA Officer has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is committing or has committed an offence under Regulation 14, he or she may serve a notice in writing (“fixed payment notice”) on that person. That person then has 28 days to pay the SFPA the €200 notice.