Court of Appeal decide to temporarily extend the exclusion of large fishing vessels trawling in inshore waters within 6 miles of the coast
Following a full hearing by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 22nd June, the Court has decided to temporarily extend the Policy Directive excluding large vessels from trawling in inshore waters within 6 miles of the coast, save for a restricted sprat fishery. This decision applies until at least the 4th of October (the first day of the Court of Appeal’s Michaelmas term) and/or until a determination in relation to the stay is delivered by the Court of Appeal.
Minister McConalogue commented today “I am grateful that the Court of Appeal has allowed the extension of this important Policy Directive. This decision will mean that vessels over 18 metres in length remain prohibited from trawling inside our 6 miles zone over the coming period, except for a restricted sprat fishery, which would usually not occur during Summer/ early Autumn.”
The decision of the Court of Appeal follows a decision by the same Court to reinstate the Ministerial Policy Directive on 19th March last, when the Court was persuaded that the balance of justice leaned in favour of the State and granted a stay on the order of the High Court up until the hearing of the substantive appeal this week.
The Policy Directive excluding large vessels from trawling in inshore waters within 6 miles of the coast was introduced in March 2019, following the decision of the then Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine that from 1 January 2020 all trawling by large vessels, over 18 metres in length overall, in coastal waters inside Ireland’s 6 mile zone was to cease, other than for a sprat fishery which was to be phased out during 2020 and 2021.
A Judicial Review was taken by two applicant fishermen who successfully challenged the validity of the Policy Directive. On 6th October 2020, the High Court made an order in favour of the applicants and the Policy Directive was declared void/or of no legal effect. The substantive hearing before the Court of Appeal was completed on Tuesday and judgment is reserved.