Written Answers. - Fishing Vessel Licences.

Wednesday, 10 May 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 518 No. 6

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  77.  Mr. Ring  Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring   asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey   if, following the Council of Fisheries Ministers meeting of 21 and 22 November 1999 where it was stated that there was specific support for young fishermen under 35 to become boat owners in the industry, he will report on the success of these measures to date. [12902/00]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Following Council agreement, at Ireland's behest, last November to include specific provisions to support young fishermen within the new fisheries structural funding framework, 2000-06, the national investment support for the seafood sector under the national development plan will incorporate a scheme to encourage young fishermen under 35 to invest in the industry and operate safe modern vessels. The details of the scheme are being finalised by the Department and BIM, as part of the current process of finalising and agreeing with the Commission over the coming months the operational programmes under the NDP generally.

The scheme, in essence, provides for the payment of premia to support vessel purchase to fishermen under 35 years, who can, inter alia, demonstrate that they have worked at least five years as fishermen or have equivalent vocational training.

  78.  Mr. Coveney    asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey   the number of licences to be issued for tuna driftnet fishing in 2000; the consultations which have taken place; and the persons with whom these consultations took place. [12905/00]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  My Department is in the process of assessing applications to participate in the albacore tuna driftnet fishery this year and will submit recommendations for my decision shortly.

The number of driftnet licences is determined by the parameters set in EU Council Regulation 1239/98 which provides for the ban on driftnets end 2001 and which specifically limits the number of vessels that my participate in the tuna driftnet fishery to 60% of the number of fishing vessels which used driftnets during the reference period 1995-97. Another critical parameter is the recommendation by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas which limits the size of EU and other contracting parties' albacore tuna fishing fleets. Based on these parameters and from a preliminary analysis of information available to my Department, it is envisaged that the issuing of tuna driftnet authorisations to up to 18 vessels will be possible this year.

In working to finalise arrangements for the tuna driftnet fishery this year, my Department has consulted in detail with representative organisations of the fishing industry and held an all day meeting in Cork on 14 April, which was attended by a wide range of interested parties, including representative organisations and individual fishermen, and which comprehensively covered all the issues and challenges for the tuna fishery in 2000 and future years. I have also discussed the issue with a number of fishermen's organisations and individual fishermen.

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  79.  Mr. J. O'Keeffe  Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe   asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey   if there are vessels consistently engaged in beam trawling without being licensed; if his attention has been drawn to the damage and loss being sustained by other fishermen as a consequence of such activity; and the steps he will take to address this problem. [12822/00]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  A vessel may not engage in sea fishing unless it has been licensed in accordance with section 222B, as amended, of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 1959. The Department has no evidence that vessels without entitlements to beam trawl are so doing. If the Deputy has evidence of such activities, the Department would be glad to investigate.

As I advised in my reply to the Deputy's Question No. 92 of 4 April 2000, there are a number of vessels in the polyvalent segment of the fishing fleet which are not precluded by the terms of their sea fishing boat licences from fishing by means of beam trawls, or which are permitted to engage in beam trawling for a proportion of their fishing time.

Complaints have been received by my Department from fishermen using other types of gear about alleged damage to fishing grounds caused by vessels which engage in beam trawling. These criticisms are not accepted, however, by representatives of the beam trawling sector.

To build better co-operation and consultation between fishermen using different types of gear in shared fisheries my Department has encouraged meetings between beam trawler owners and other fishermen. We will facilitate further discussions, with a view to assisting both groups to achieve a common understanding on issues of mutual interest and concern.


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