Super-trawlers Must Be Monitored - Department of the Marine Needs to Get Off Its Arse.
Let's get the facts right in the super-trawler debate:
Super-trawlers use the same size nets, with the same size mesh openings, as Irish trawlers;
Super-trawlers don't fish the sea floor and are not wrecking the Irish sea bed.
Let's get some bigger facts right:
Biggest single fact of all – Ireland gave away its fishing rights in 1974.
Second-biggest fact – in this instance, the Irish Department of the Marine is not doing its most basic job right – super-trawlers fishing in Ireland's so called Exclusive Zone are not being monitored. They fish 24/7, could be exceeding their quota by multiples – this is surely a problem.
The department of the Marine must do one or (preferably) all of three things:
Put observers on board the super-trawlers. Currently it is up to the 'flag' nation (the nation where the super-trawler is registered) to supply observers; this needs to change, install observers from Ireland;
Require the super-trawlers to dock at an Irish port for inspection before they leave for their landing port;
Send inspectors to the super-trawler’s landing port to inspect the catch as it’s landed.
We know from experience the trawler operators break the rules, and the Irish courts have already handed out large fines in two cases. We know also they can evade the Navy and that in any case boarding in the high seas is a dangerous task. Monitoring, then, is where it’s at, but monitoring is NOT where our Department of the Marine is at.
Bottom Line – Minister Coveney and his staff in the Department of the Marine need to get on top of this. Immediately, as in right now, he must introduce proper monitoring; in the meantime he can – he MUST – take the case and make the case, very strongly, for national observers to the EU fisheries meeting in December.
Luke 'Ming' Flanagan MEP