Fishermen fail in court attempt to lift shrimp fishing ban

The legal battle between two fishermen over a decision that led to a ban on shrimp fishing off part of the west coast ended with the Supreme Court dismissing their lawsuit.

t followed a finding by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) against Pat Fitzpatrick, who fishes from Ros a Mhíl in Galway, and Michael J. Flannery, from Dingle, Co. Kerry, in relation to their challenge.

The Supreme Court, in a just-released judgment closing the case, said the fisherman’s challenge must fail following the ECJ’s ruling on certain key issues in the case.

Central to the case was the decision by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) in 2017 to recalculate catches submitted by fishermen, as SFPA believed shrimp catches from the Porcupine Bank off the west coast were increasing significantly were reported low in the ships’ electronic fishing logs.

Ultimately, the recalculated numbers, using a range of other data sources, led to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Navy issuing a decommissioning order for the Porcupine, which lies about 200 km off the west coast, in November 2017.

It effectively banned fishing for the species of Norway lobster known as Dublin Bay prawns, Norway lobster, scampi or simply prawns.

As a result, the fishermen filed suit against the minister and the SFPA, claiming the decision could put them out of business. They said they pay mortgages on their ships and employ 12-14 fishermen along with more people on shore.

Respondents resisted the challenge.

In 2018, the High Court dismissed her claim.

The men appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing, among other things, that the new method of calculating catches was incompatible with a 2009 EU regulation system to ensure compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy and therefore breached Ireland’s obligations under EU Right.

They also requested that the matter be referred to the ECJ.

In July 2020, the Supreme Court decided to ask the ECJ for a ruling on whether the SFPA could use other data such as fishing licences, landings, fishing authorizations and vessel surveillance data to obtain more accurate numbers if it believed that vessel logs were grossly unreliable .

Last February, the ECJ ruled that the SFPA was entitled to do so, and the matter returned to the Supreme Court for final decisions.

In its ruling, the three-judge court said the ECJ ruling clearly points to the conclusion that the High Court was correct in finding that the method used by the SFPA was valid.

Costs were imposed on the fishermen in favor of the SPFA and the minister did not ask for any costs.

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/fishermen-fail-in-legal-bid-to-overturn-prawn-fishing-ban-41843753.html Fishermen fail in court attempt to lift shrimp fishing ban

Fry Electronics Team

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