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SFPA inshore patrols target illegal fishing

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Over 100 inshore inspections have been completed since the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) recommenced their seasonal inshore patrols last month across the south, west and north west coasts with the support of the Naval Service and Air Corps as well Inland Fisheries Ireland. The patrols are part of a range of conservation measures to help protect the long term sustainability of Ireland’s valuable crab, lobster and whelk fisheries. 

The infringements identified by Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers of the SFPA to date have included the discovery of undersize lobster and crab.  Regulations are in place regarding the minimum size that can be harvested to ensure these species can reach maturity.  Since 1 January 2015 new national regulations¹ on lobster sizes have included a maximum and minimum size, recognising the important role that very large lobster play in the reproductive potential of stocks.

Susan Steele, Chair, SFPA said: “The sustainable management of these valuable inshore fisheries is critical to safeguard their future and, importantly, the economy of many coastal communities.  Illegal fishing by a small number of fishermen is unfair to those thousands who fish legally and jeopardizes the inshore industry.  The SFPA along with the support of the Naval Service and Air Corps is committed to creating a level playing field and we are delighted that the excellent inter-agency co-operation between the SFPA, Naval Service and the Air Corps is resulting in enhanced compliance levels being encountered in these patrols,” she said.

In addition to the SFPA’s ongoing RIB patrols, the Naval Services’ LE Orla and the LE Ciara have been involved in joint inspections with the SFPA while Air Corps are flying frequently on all coasts. The patrols will continue through the autumn. 


Further information:

Eleanor Buckley, Communications Manager, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority

Tel: 023 885 93 46/ 087 920 3658 or email

Ger McCarthy, Weber Shandwick,

Tel: 01 679 8600/ 086 233 3590 or email:

Editors’ Notes

¹ The sale of lobsters with carapaces greater than 127mm¹ in size is now prohibited. The carapace is the largest segment of a lobster. 

About the SFPA

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is the independent statutory body, legally charged with the State’s sea-fisheries law enforcement functions. The Authority enforces the EU Common Fisheries Policy and sea-fisheries law generally and food safety law relating to fish and fishery products.