The Court of Appeal has refused an application to ‘continue the stay’ on the exclusion of fishing vessels over 18m from inside the 6nm limit
The Court of Appeal has refused an application made by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ‘continue the stay’ on the exclusion of trawlers over 18m length from carrying out fishing activities in Irish waters inside of the six-nautical-mile limit.
The decision was made by the Court today and has been met with mixed reaction from both those in the fishing industry and the general public.
In December 2018, then Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed enacted legislation to exclude fishing vessels using towed fishing gear from inshore waters inside the six-nautical-mile limit and baselines which was to come into effect as of 01 January 2020.
Policy Directive 01 of 2019 was signed by the Minister in March 2019 which gave effect to these changes.
The Policy Directive gave a phasing out period of three-years for fishing vessels over 18m targeting sprat as sprat fishing is concentrated mainly inshore in bays and river estuaries.
In May 2019, fishing company directors, Tom Kennedy and Neil Minihane were given leave to apply for judicial review of the Policy, where they contended the Minister has exceeded his powers in making the directive. In October 2020, two applicants were successful in their challenge.
After a call to reinstate the six-mile ban, in November 2020, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue lodged a legal appeal against the High Court decision.
In March 2021, the Court of Appeal ordered the temporary reinstatement of the six-nautical-mile exclusion zone based on the balance of justice and the Court granted a stay on the order of the High Court until the hearing of the substantive appeal which was due in June 2021.
On 22 June last, following a full hearing, the Court of Appeal decided to extend the stay on the temporary exclusion, however, in today’s ruling it has decided to refuse the Minister’s application to continue the stay and this refusal means that the Policy Directive 01 of 2019 is no longer valid which means that vessels over 18m in length overall can resume trawling in the waters inside 6nm with immediate effect.
by Oliver McBride