Tuesday, 1 March 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
207. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason licences for small commercial boatmen are now restricted to pots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6678/05]
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Gallagher): The Irish sea fishing fleet is divided into a number of segments mainly on the basis of fishing entitlements. Approximately 85% of the fleet is licensed and registered within the polyvalent or multi-purpose segment which entitles the licensed and registered owner, subject to certain conditions and restrictions, to fish for a wide range of species and with a range of fishing gear. Those licensed and registered with a standard polyvalent licence are not restricted to fishing with pots.
However, having regard to EU requirements on fleet registration, a scheme for the licensing and registration of unlicensed and unregistered pot fishing boats in the Irish inshore fleet was introduced in 2003. One of the conditions of the scheme, which required the approval of the European Commission, is that boats licensed and registered under this scheme must be ring-fenced. The licences granted under this scheme will allow the licensees to fish only for non-quota species and solely by means of pots. The provision of replacement capacity is not a requirement, unlike the normal requirement for sea fishing boat licensing, and the capacity of boats licensed and registered under the scheme will not be eligible as replacement capacity. The current position regarding this scheme is that the licensing authority for sea fishing boats has issued letters of licence offer to successful applicants under the scheme, setting out the requirements to be met before the boats concerned can be licensed and registered and will shortly be completing the process for those who have met the requirements.
The scheme for the licensing of pot fishing boats is now closed but it is open to any person to apply to the licensing authority at any time for a standard fishing boat licence in accordance with standard fishing boat licensing policy, which includes the requirement for the provision for replacement capacity. Such a licence granted for the polyvalent segment would not be restricted to fishing with pots.
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