The Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine signed the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 318 of 2020) on 26 August 2020.
The Regulation establishes a points system which will apply to the Licence Holder of a sea-fishing boat when a serious infringement of the Common Fisheries Policy is detected within the Exclusive Fishery limits of the State or for an Irish vessel, wherever it may be. The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority is the competent authority for the establishment of the system and the assignment of points.
Read: Penalty Points Scheme
The Licensing Authority is the competent authority for the recording of points assigned to the licence of an Irish registered fishing vessel and for the transfer of these points.The accumulation of points for serious infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy will lead to the suspension of a sea fishing boat licence for a period from 2 months to one year. In extreme cases, the licence may be permanently withdrawn.
The system established by the Regulation involves three stages.
The first stage involves a Determination Panel which shall determine whether a serious infringement of the Common Fisheries Policy has occurred. The second stage involves an Appeals Officer and the third stage involves an appeal to the High Court on a point of law. There are strict deadlines for each stage of the process.
Given the impact of points on a sea-fishing boat licence, the complexity of the process and the strict deadlines involved in the process, it is essential that fishermen and licence holders secure expert legal assistance as soon as the points process is commenced.
DP Barry & Co Solicitors have represented fishermen at all stages of the penalty points process. We initiated the first oral hearing under the 2014 Points Regulations, the predecessor of the current scheme, which resulted in a successful High Court appeal.