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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 210-222
 Header Item Aquaculture Development
 Header Item Animal Disease Controls
 Header Item Parking Charges
 Header Item Fish Discards
 Header Item Fish Discards
 Header Item Fish Imports
 Header Item Harbour Fees
 Header Item Harbour Services
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Sea Lice Controls
 Header Item Fish Quotas
 Header Item Fish Quotas
 Header Item Fish Quotas

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 814 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 58 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 210-222

Aquaculture Development

 210. Deputy John Halligan Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the guidelines and parameters that have been set down by his Department to govern the oyster and mussel collection by a company (details supplied) at Woodstown Beach, County Waterford; if any restrictions have been placed on this company in relation to bringing heavy machinery onto the beach; the regulatory checks carried by his Department in relation to the irrevocable damage and destruction being caused on the beach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40166/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The company referred to by the Deputy is in receipt of a consent to operate under Section 19A (4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 in respect of oyster cultivation at specific sites in Woodstown Bay.

Aquaculture operators subject to this Section may continue to operate, subject to the terms and conditions of their aquaculture licence, pending a determination by the Minister on their renewal application. The terms and conditions of the licence set down the specific conditions under which the relevant aquaculture may take place.

It should be noted that licences issued under the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act are also subject to all other lawful regulations governing activities in the area in question, including bye-laws, where applicable.

Animal Disease Controls

 211. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if DEFRA UK has informed his Department of its intention to enforce pet passport regulations for animals being transported to the UK, including the enforcement of rabies vaccinations, micro-chipping of animals, and issuing of passports; if his attention has been drawn to the possible impact this will have on the resources of Irish Rescue centres for costs of vaccinations, costs for animals for 21 days before transportation after vaccination, if he will call for an exemption to the rabies vaccination taking into account that Ireland and the UK are rabies free; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40175/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney EU law relating to the protection of citizens from rabies provides that dogs, cats and ferrets moving between EU Member States must be accompanied by EU Pet Passports certifying microchip identification and rabies vaccination. Given that Ireland and UK have traditionally operated a rabies free zone, both States agreed, on a risk analysis basis, that border compliance checks would not be undertaken.

However, an increased focus by authorities within the UK on illegal puppy imports from elsewhere in the EU has lead to two recent incidents of dogs from Ireland being seized/detained in Britain, and the risk of further such incidents is likely to increase. In view of this, any person travelling with dogs to Britain is being advised by my Department to ensure that their exports are compliant with EU law as soon as possible.

While Ireland and the UK have been rabies free for many decades, Western Europe is now also free of rabies. The harmonised EU system under which passports and rabies vaccinations are required allows dog owners to bring their pets into and out of Ireland without a compulsory and lengthy quarantine. While both Ireland and the UK sought and achieved a legal provision providing the possibility of a derogation from rabies vaccination for non commercial pets movements from 2015, this was not extended to commercial traffic which includes any change of ownership. I understand that one charity is undertaking significant capital investment which should to some extent relieve the concerns expressed by some small charities about the cost of complying with EU rules.

Parking Charges

 212. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will confirm that the proposal to introduce paid parking in Howth Harbour has now been withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40195/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The position is that a proposal to introduce pay-parking within the Fishery Harbour Centre at Howth has been under consideration for some time.

  A broad and complex range of factors must be considered in coming to a decision and I am examining all aspects of the matter at present.

Fish Discards

 213. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he would allow fishermen to keep cray fish measuring 100 mm instead of the current 110 mm limit as the rest of Europe allows catches of over 90 mm; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40240/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Council Regulation (EC) No. 850/98 presently imposes an EU minimum landing size (MLS) for crawfish of 95mm, but was originally enacted as a MLS of 110mm. The EU Regulation was changed with effect from May 2001 to specify the present EU MLS of 95mm. The EU Regulation permits Member States to enact national measures supplementing or going beyond the minimum requirements specified in the EU Regulation, provided they are restricted to the Member State’s own fishing vessels or to persons established in that Member State.

Ireland’s Crawfish (Conservation of Stocks) Regulations 2006 (S.I. 232 of 2006) prohibit the landing, transhipment, retention on board, or sale of crawfish below a national minimum landing size of 110mm. Ireland enacted this higher national MLS in 2001 as it was considered that the lower EU MLS introduced in 2001 offered no conservation protection for the species which was suffering from severe over-fishing.

In 2011, I asked BIM and the Marine Institute to conduct a review of Ireland’s technical conservation measures for crawfish. The Review was conducted in consultation with crawfish fishermen, shellfish buyers and other stakeholders. That Review concluded that a reduction in the national MLS to 95mm would lead to a circa 42% reduction in the reproductive potential of the crawfish stock. A sustainable crawfish fishery could not be maintained in those circumstances.

It is worth noting that the Review found that 110mm is in fact the most commonly adopted MLS in Northern Europe.

Fish Discards

 214. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will retain the current lobster size restriction of 87 mm and not impose an upper limit of 127 mm; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40241/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney On 20 August 2013 my Department initiated a consultation process on proposals to change the current lobster stock management rules. A parallel consultation is underway on shrimp stock management. The deadline for submissions has been extended to 25 October 2013 which I hope will facilitate the participation of all interested parties.

  Currently there are two legal restrictions which provide protection to the lobster stock, namely a minimum landing size of 87mm and a prohibition on fishing v-notched lobsters, all of which are over 87mm. The minimum landing size protects juvenile lobster and allows some spawning to occur before lobsters enter the fishery. The v-notch regulation prohibits the landing of v-notched lobsters until the notch is repaired by growth (usually occurs over 2-4 years) thus allowing such lobsters to contribute to spawning and thereby promote sustainability of the lobster stock.

Recent stock assessments, and evaluation of the existing conservation measures, indicate that spawning stock is not adequately protected and recruitment to lobster stocks may be impaired. Having examined the issue with scientific experts from the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara, I am now seeking stakeholder input on two alternative proposals; either to introduce a maximum landing size of 127mm or to increase the minimum   landing size from 87mm to 90mm. The published consultation documents are available online on my Department’s website and copies have been made available at the coastal offices of BIM, the Marine Institute and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. In addition copies have been circulated to v-notching co-operatives, fisheries producer organisations and the Environmental Pillar.

  I would encourage all stakeholders, particularly those currently engaged in lobster fishing, to participate in the assessment of these proposals. On conclusion of the consultation stage, I will review the submissions received with scientific experts before determining the most appropriate measure to ensure the sustainability of the lobster stock.

Fish Imports

 215. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his Department is testing imported fish for artificial whitening additives; if so, if any of these samples have tested positive; if his Department is monitoring scallops for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40242/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Fish or fishery products coming from a non EU country, excluding Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, must go through an approved Border Inspection Post. Health checks at the posts are carried out by official veterinarians of my Department. The identity and documentation of all products are checked at the first point of entry into the EU and some products are checked physically. Commission Regulation No 136/2004 lays down procedures for veterinary checks at Community border inspection posts on products imported from third countries. Seafood imports from other EU countries do not need to undergo these checks.

In order to import fish or fishery products into Ireland from a non EU country the person who wishes to import fish/fishery products is required to register with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA). The SFPA and the Border Inspection Posts operate an agreed sampling plan, which is reviewed annually, to ensure that they meet the EU criteria with respect to potential contaminants, and for the presence of any medical residues or where there is concern that the product may not be fit for human consumption. In accordance with the Commission Regulation, the plan is based upon the nature of the products and the risk they represent, taking into account all relevant monitoring parameters such as frequency and number of incoming consignments and results of previous monitoring.

The SFPA was set up by the Oireachtas under the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 as the independent Authority for the implementation of sea-fisheries and seafood law from boat up to but excluding retail level (on fishing vessels, in shellfish production areas, in establishments handling preparing and processing seafood). The outcomes of the monitoring procedures are an operational matter for the SFPA in which I have no direct role. If the Deputy has concerns about specific substances or further information with regard to his concerns about scallops he should bring them to the attention of the SFPA.

Harbour Fees

 216. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to review harbour dues; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties being faced by fishermen trying to pay these dues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40243/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department is responsible for the operation and management of the six Fishery Harbour Centres. Harbour Dues at each of the Fishery Harbour Centres are levied in accordance with the prevailing Rates & Charges Order.

  The Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order 2003 (Statutory Instrument No 439 of 2003) was the subject of a detailed review in 2012. As part of the review my Department engaged in an extensive public consultation process with fishermen and other harbour users. Full consideration was given to all of the submissions received by my Department, and a revised Rates and Charges Order was drafted having due regard to the submissions made.

  The Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order 2012 (Statutory Instrument No 214 of 2012) came into operation on 1 July 2012.

Harbour Services

 217. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if fishermen will be provided with written descriptions of the services provided at harbours in the bills that are sent out instead of the current coded system in the interest of transparency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40244/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney All invoices issued by my Department, including those which issue to fishermen, include a text description of the services being charged for, along with the quantity, unit of measure, unit price, VAT and the amount for each item being charged. If there is any issue with a particular invoice, the fisherman can contact the Fishery Harbour Centre that provided the services.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals

 218. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a decision has been made on a review of a 2011 REP scheme penalty imposed on a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40246/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named commenced REPS 4 in May 2008 and received payments for the five years of their contract. During the course of an on-farm inspection in March 2011 areas of non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the scheme were noted in relation to Measure 3 ‘Protect and Maintain Watercourses and Wells’   which resulted in the application of a 50% penalty. The application of this penalty has been appealed by the person named and a review has been completed. The person named has been notified in writing of the outcome of this review.

Sea Lice Controls

 219. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding the problem of sea lice from sea fisheries; if he has considered this issue in relation to his policy and decisions regarding sea farming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40250/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ireland’s sea lice control protocols are operated by the Marine Institute. These protocols are considered to be more advanced than those operated in other jurisdictions for the following reasons:

- The inspection regime is totally independent of the industry.

- Data obtained as a result of inspections is published and made widely available.

- Treatment trigger levels are set at a low level.

  In 2008, the State introduced a new Pest Management Strategy, supplementing the control regime already in place. This has resulted in a steady decline in average sea lice numbers on farmed salmon since its inception.

  Applications to my Department for licences for the cultivation of marine finfish are considered under the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act. The legislation provides for a period of public consultation. Decisions on licences are only made following the fullest consideration by my Department of all scientific, technical and public policy issues associated with each application, including the control of sea lice.

Fish Quotas

 220. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will redistribute any leftover tonnage for smaller boats under 17 m from this years herring quota among the same sized boats next year instead of giving some of this to larger boats; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40287/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  The position in relation to the management of all fisheries, both pelagic and whitefish, is that the quota is managed on a single year basis and under fishing by any group is not carried forward to the following year for that group. For all stocks, any carry over from 2013, which can be up to 10 % in the case of Celtic Sea Herring, will be added to the national adjusted quota for 2014. Under current policy the Celtic Sea Herring sentinel fishery will receive up to 11% of the adjusted quota, each year.

Fish Quotas

 221. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will allow some of the 2014 herring quota for boats under 17 m to be landed in January as well as November and December; if the November opening would begin in 1 November; if he will allow flexibility for small boats to help them cope with the possibility of bad weather; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [40288/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  The Management arrangements for the 2014 Celtic Sea Herring fishery have not yet been considered. I will decide on the arrangements for the fishery following consultation with the Celtic Sea Herring Management Advisory Committee (CSHMAC). The CSHMAC have not yet made any proposals for the 2014 fishery and I will consider any proposals received from the committee including a request for a spring fishery.

Fish Quotas

 222. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will allow weekly herring quotas for boats under 17m to be landed the following week if they cannot be landed on time for small boats to cope with the possibility of bad weather; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40289/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The current management arrangements in place for this fishery, which were recommended by the Celtic Sea Herring Management Advisory Committee (CSHMAC) do not allow for the carry over of individual vessel allocations from one week to the next. Quota allocations with weekly catch limits will be set following consultation with the CSHMAC for each management period, taking consideration of numbers and size of vessels booked-in. In addition a vessel may choose not to fish in a particular week and this will have no impact on their participation record.

  The fishery is divided into two management periods and any unused quota from the first management period will be redistributed in the second management period. Vessels will only have to fish one week of the first management period to qualify for the redistribution in the second period provided they land 50% of their allocation in that week. These arrangements were put in place having regard to the size of the vessels involved in the fishery and the time of year in which the fishing takes place.


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