The Department of Transport wishes to advise that it has published a new revision of its Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels

 Two fishing vessel masters from Co Mayo, pleaded guilty to illegal fishing activity at Belmullet District Court

Two fishing vessel masters pleaded guilty to illegal fishing activity on the 10 April 2024, at Belmullet District Court.

The Master of a fishing vessel, Jonathan O’Donnell, from Porturlin, Co. Mayo, pleaded guilty to a charge of retaining mackerel onboard without an authorisation for mackerel fishing with hooks and lines, and two charges for the late submission of paper fishing logbooks to the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), within the requisite period of 48 hours from landing, which occurred in May 2022. The Master of a fishing vessel, Martin O’Donnell, from Porturlin, Co. Mayo, pleaded guilty to a charge of fishing without an authorisation for mackerel which occurred in May 2022. Authorisations were subsequently obtained for both fishing vessels.

In the case of Jonathan O’Donnell, the Court heard evidence of the importance of the submission of logbooks within the requisite period for the purposes of monitoring and reporting data in relation to fish stocks. The Court also heard evidence of the requirement for the Defendant’s fishing vessel to have an authorisation for mackerel fishing with hooks and lines and the detection by Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers of the SFPA of a landing by the master of mackerel caught without such an authorisation. The Court heard the Defendant subsequently obtained the relevant authorisation.

The Court adjourned the case to September next, for the Defendant to make a charitable donation of €3,000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), following which the Defendant would be left without a conviction or a fine of €3,500 would be imposed in default of the donation not being made.

The case of Martin O’Donnell arose from the detection by a Sea-Fisheries Protection Officer of the SFPA of the fishing activity through a cross-check of records relating to the landing of catch from the Defendant’s vessel in May 2022.

The Court decided that the Defendant would be left without a conviction if a donation of €500 is made to the RNLI, failing which, a fine of €1,500 would be imposed.

An SFPA spokesperson commented:

“The SFPA notes the decision of the Court on both cases, which underscores the importance of compliance with the requirements for authorised fishing and the submission of logbooks within the statutory period. The authorisation system is an important tool to ensure the effective management and sustainability of fishing for regulated fishing stocks. It is also in this context that the sustainability of fishing stocks and the current and future fishing opportunities for such stocks are assessed on the basis of data resulting from fishing activities, including electronic fishing logbook data and paper logbook data.

The requirements for an authorisation for sea-fishing for certain stocks are set out in the Determination of the Need for an Authorisation for Certain Fish Stocks, published by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, which is publicly available. The SFPA commends the officers involved in these cases for the thorough investigation.”

 

Source: Press Release

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