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SFPA welcomes court ruling on fisheries offences

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The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) welcomed the verdict on the 18th June 2015, by a jury at Cork Circuit Court in relation to a case involving a single fisheries offence.  Mr Klas Meijvogel, a Dutch National and Master of the Wiron 5, a UK registered pelagic freezer vessel, was found guilty of having automatic grading  equipment on board which was fitted in a way that did not ensure the immediate freezing of graded fish and did not prevent the return of marine organisms to the sea¹. The sentencing of the Master will take place on 27th July. The penalty for this offence is a fine of up to €80,000 and the forfeiture of the catch and gear of the vessel.

The case arose following a routine joint inspection of the Wiron 5 by a Sea-Fisheries Protection Officer from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and Naval Officers from the LÉ Samuel Beckett on the 11th February last. The vessel was one of two detained by the Naval Service for alleged breaches of EU fishery regulations approximately 30 miles west of the Blasket Islands and escorted to the port of Cobh

Commenting on the verdict, Susan Steele, Chair of the SFPA said: “The SFPA welcomes the ruling. The SFPA will continue to work hard to detect illegal fishing and with the support of the Naval Service, has prioritized the implementation of the new Landing Obligation during 2015. Illegal fishing has many serious consequences for the people and communities who depend on fisheries for food and employment.  The work of the SFPA supports the livelihoods of some 11,000 Irish fishing industry workers, the vast majority of whom operate within the requirements of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.




Editors Notes

¹ The fitting of grading equipment is permissible. However, it is essential to the conservation of fisheries resources that grading is not a means for selecting the most profitable fish to retain.


For further press information, please contact:

Eleanor Buckley, Communications Manager, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority

023 885 93 46/ 087 920 3658 or email


Ger McCarthy, Weber Shandwick

01 679 8600/ 086 233 3590 or email: