The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has opened several investigations into NI boats landing at Greencastle since 01 January 2021

The SFPA has opened several investigations into NI boats landing at Greencastle since 01 January 2021

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has issued a statement saying that several investigations are underway in respect to Northern Ireland registered fishing vessels landing at Greencastle Harbour, Co Donegal.

Last night a fisheries protection officer boarded two Northern Ireland registered boats and cautioned the owners for tying-up at the pier, putting them on notice that they could no longer use the harbour facilities.

In a statement to The Fishing Daily in relation to Northern Ireland registered fishing vessel landing in Irish ports the SFPA said:

“As the UK is no longer an EU Member state, UK registered fishing vessels, including those vessels which are registered to addresses in Northern Ireland, are subject to new EU fisheries and food safety controls reflecting the UK’s status now as a Third Country.

“From 01 January 2021, UK registered vessels, including NI registered vessels must be pre-authorised by the SFPA prior to their arrival into port. If authorised, they may only land into one of the two Irish ports that are currently designated for Third Country landings: Killybegs or Castletownbere.

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“There are certain exemptions for Northern Ireland registered vessels in relation to food safety requirements when landing to Irish ports, but otherwise they are treated as non-GB UK vessels.

“While the SFPA does not comment on individual cases it can confirm that several investigations are underway into unauthorised landings that took place in Greencastle since 01 January. Greencastle is an undesignated port for Third Country vessels for the purposes of the provision of port services, and the conduct of landing or transhipment operations.

“The SFPA is committed to fair and effective regulation and the application of EU regulations including those regarding third countries, such as the UK. Breaches of EU legislation can result in criminal prosecution regardless of a non-EU vessel’s country of registration.

“The SFPA would encourage all vessels owners to familiarise themselves with the new regulations. Full details are available on the SFPA website. The SFPA would also encourage any Irish registered vessel owner with a query regarding sea-fisheries regulations to contact their local SFPA port office.”

Asked to what extent does the rules in pertaining to the clause that prohibits UK registered/licenced boats from accessing boatyards in the Republic of Ireland, the SFPA replied:

“These are commercial activities outside of the remit of fisheries legislation.

“The EU legislation in force is specific in this: “Access to ports of Member States, the provision of port services, and the conduct of landing or transhipment operations in such ports shall be prohibited for third country fishing vessels unless they meet the requirements laid down in this Regulation, except in cases of force majeure or distress within the meaning of Article 18 of the Unclos (force majeure or distress) for services strictly necessary to remedy those situations.”

See: 

Northern Ireland Boats banned from landing catch at traditional Irish harbours
McConalogue to examine potential harbour solutions for NI registered boats
Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs

Several investigations underway into NI boats landing at Greencastle

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