Under new legislation¹ any member of the public, fishing for lobster and crab can only fish from 1st May to 30th September and are limited in the number of pots they can fish. The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), the independent statutory body responsible for enforcing the State’s sea-fisheries and seafood safety laws, is prioritising the implementation of the new regulations during its seasonal programme of in-shore patrols, which began this month. The new regulations were introduced to protect the licensed fishing industry which has faced increasing competition in recent years from unlicensed or unregistered vessels that were operating on a commercial or semi-commercial basis.
Under the new regulations, recreational or private fishers can fish up to six pots, and can retain five crabs and one lobster daily. Furthermore they may not store crabs or lobsters at sea or sell or offer for sale any of their catches. Previously there was no limit on the number of pots recreational or private fishers could fish or the times of the year when lobster or crab fishing could take place.
Commenting on the new regulations, Susan Steele, Chair, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority said: “Fishing for lobster and crab is especially popular in the summer months. Members of the public can continue to enjoy their own catch as the regulations provide a daily allowance that is sufficient for personal consumption. The new regulations are designed to restrict commercial fishing to licensed operators. This will help to ensure the viability of the industry and also guarantee the traceability of the product, which is vitally important from a food safety and public health perspective.
She added: “Working in conjunction with the Naval Service, our seasonal inshore patrols will cover all inshore coastal areas including small local piers and harbours to detect and deter illegal fishing and illegal operators. We are committed to supporting the safe and sustainable management of these fisheries to help safeguard their future for the coastal communities who rely on them for their livelihood.”
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority’s inshore patrols will continue until November. They are being undertaken with the support of the Naval Service, Air Corps and Inland Fisheries Ireland. In addition to targeting unregistered or unlicensed vessels fishing on a commercial basis, they will also monitor and inspect licensed operators to ensure their compliance with gear and catch size regulations and their management and handling of v-notched lobsters.
Eleanor Buckley, Communications Manager, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority
Tel: 023 885 93 46/ 087 920 3658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ger McCarthy, Weber Shandwick,
Tel: 01 679 8600/ 086 233 3590 or email: email@example.com