11th November 2020 | Marine, Press Releases

Grace O’Sullivan MEP welcomes Ministerial appeal of high court ruling on trawlers

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Green Party Spokesperson for the Marine and MEP for Ireland South, Grace O’Sullivan, has today welcomed Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue’s appeal of a High Court ruling to allow large trawlers to fish inside Ireland’s six-mile zone.

Commenting on the announcement, Grace O’Sullivan MEP said:

“I welcome Minister McConalogue’s appeal of the recent High Court ruling to overturn the ban on fishing vessels larger than 18m from operating within six nautical miles of the coast. We are in a climate and biodiversity emergency and fish stocks and habitats are under serious threat.

“The protection of inshore waters for smaller fishing vessels and recreational fishers and the prohibition of pair trawling within the six-mile limit is a key commitment in the Programme for Government.

“While all fishers should be fully supported where needed as they transition to more sustainable fishing practices into the future, larger vessels can access fish stocks anywhere in Irish coastal or offshore waters within the constraints posed by quotas and other management measures. Small-scale fishers are more dependent on fish stocks closer to their home port or in shallow waters as their engine power is lower and they are less capable of working in poor weather.

“In recent days we have seen environmental and fishers groups come together following the recent ruling to highlight that ‘one of Ireland’s few laws that actively supported hundreds of low-impact fishers and their coastal communities, and could deliver massive environmental benefits, has been overturned on a technicality.’ The protection of Ireland’s coasts and vulnerable fish stocks has broad political and community support.

“In this instance, environmental concerns and the livelihoods of small-scale fishers must be prioritised and I hope the Minister’s appeal is successful.”