2nd December 2013, Monday
By Bryan T. Smyth
O’Donovan welcomes Govt acceptance of FF Bill on decriminalising minor
Flanna Fáil Senator Denis O’Donovan, has welcomed the commitment by
Minister Simon Coveney to accept the main elements of Fianna Fáil’s
bill seeking to decriminalise minor fishing infringements.
Last week, the Seanad debated the Fianna Fáil ‘Sea Fisheries and
Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2013’, which addresses the fact that
Ireland is the only significant maritime jurisdiction in the EU which
doesn’t have administrative penalties for fishing infringements.
Senator O’Donovan commented: “I welcome the fact that Minister Simon
Coveney has accepted the main thrust of the Fianna Fáil bill. I have
long campaigned for the de-criminalisation of minor fishing
infringements and it looks like this will come to fruition at last. I
am glad that the Minister has seen the merits in the Bill.
“This is not the panacea for all the problems the fishing industry
faces but it is certainly a step in the right direction to bring
equity to fishermen trapped by draconian laws.
“Minister Coveney has said he will set about introducing a penalty
points system for fishing infringements.
“I would urge the Minister to move ahead with this legislation as
quickly as possible because the longer the current laws are in place
the more minor fishing offences are punished unfairly.
“In Ireland, 75% of fishing vessels are less than 10 metres in length
but a small trawler is classified under the same criteria as a massive
factory ship. A larger vessel which is infringing on a bigger scale
needs to be appropriately punished. At the moment there are similar
sanctions for vessels that may be hugely different in size and
“For instance, a log book offence by a small fishing vessel, which may
be outside its permitted grounds, may have its catch and gear
confiscated even though neither would have been used in the offence.
“We need the laws changed to address these anomalies in the system and
I look forward to Minister Coveney publishing this Bill early next