THE government must respond quickly to the decision by the Court of Appeal that said a directive prohibiting vessels over 18 metres from trawling within six nautical miles of the coast is invalid, said Deputy Holly Cairns.
The ban was originally introduced in January 2020, but a High Court judgment that October found the policy had no legal effect, which has now been upheld by a Court of Appeal judgment.
‘I am often contacted by concerned locals and fishermen horrified by large scale trawling inside Bantry and Kenmare Bay and as close to the shoreline as possible, all around the coast of West Cork. We know this type of fishing is highly inappropriate, not only damaging the marine environment, but directly impacting on inshore fishers’ livelihoods and tourism activities,’ the Social Democrat party leader added.
She said she has continually called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to start the process to establish another policy directive, which at this stage would have taken less time than the legal route.
‘The Minister now has to begin all over again after the Court of Appeal’s ruling. The programme for Government commits to prohibiting pair trawling inside the six-mile limit, but at this stage it is unlikely that will be achieved by this government. The Minister must move on this issue immediately.’