Thursday, 8 February 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
34. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the reason for the delay in the completion of the report on the activities of beam trawlers; if the report is available; and if not, when will it be available. [3227/01]
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): My Department has undertaken its review of beam trawling activity by vessels in the Irish fishing fleet in the years 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and in the first half of 2000. The review indicates that, in addition to the six vessels in the dedicated beam trawler segment, an average of 15 vessels per year in the polyvalent segment engaged in beam trawling for a significant proportion of their time during the reference period. As I have previously advised the Deputy, it is the long-standing position that a number of vessels in the polyvalent segment are not legally precluded from fishing by means of beam trawls where they are licensed to engage in beam trawling for a proportion of their fishing time. My Department intends to rigorously review the sustainable level as well as the locus of beam trawling activity within the fleet in the context of an overall review of fishing vessel licensing and fleet management policy. Further in-depth analysis of all the issues will be required, including consultation with the industry itself, over the coming months.
In the meantime I have asked the Department to ensure that there is enhanced monitoring of all beam trawling activity which will assist in the task of quantifying the actual level of effort by this type of gear, the impact of that effort and in determining future management and licensing strategies.
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