Controversy over new fishing regulations

Kerry submissions made to public consultation on trawling ban

Sinead Kelleher

The announcement that fishing vessels over 18 metres long are to be banned from fishing within six nautical miles has been welcomed by marine protection groups and some local fisherman.

The announcement by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed TD last Friday comes following a review of trawling activity inside the six-nautical mile zone. Over 900 submissions - containing a diverse range of views - were made, including from a number of Kerry fisherman and local groups.

Those in favour of the ban said this was needed to protect marine life around Kerry and to support local fishermen.

In a submission from Jill Crosher in Baile and Fheirtéaraigh (Ballyferriter), she stated that the move was welcome to "allow for the recovery of marine life".

This move was also supported by Cahersiveen Angling club who, in their submission, said that angling was being affected due to lack of fish stocks and, thus, a restriction is needed.

However, Fenit Fisherman Liam O'Sullivan, who owns a 20-metre trawler, said in his submission that there are other issues to be dealt with such as the "pillaging" of fish stocks by foreign vessels and that bad weather conditions would mean that boats have to come further in for fishing.

A transition period for fisherman has been outlined by Minister Creed, who said he believed the this will "provide ecosystem and nursery stock benefits for all fishermen".

Eighteen-metre vessels will be banned from 2020, and vessels fishing for sprat will be allowed until 2022.