Ireland: Sea Fisheries Protection Authority to be established in January –

Ireland: Sea Fisheries Protection Authority to be established in January Published:  02 November, 2006

John Browne

IRISH Marine Minister John Browne today, while visiting the Department’s decentralised offices in Clonakilty, formally announced that the 1st of January 2007 has been set as the establishment date for the new independent statutory Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

The new Sea Fisheries Protection Authority will be wholly independent from the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources and will be legally charged with the State’s sea fisheries law enforcement functions. The authority will be operated by a board of three independent commissioners (similar to Railway Safety Commission, ComReg, CER etc.). Recruitment of Members of the Authority is currently being handled by the Public Appointments Service. The authority will enforce the EU Common Fisheries Policy and sea-fisheries law generally and food safety law relating to fish and fishery products.

A fully representative (14 person) statutory Consultative Committee will be appointed by the Minister to ensure the sector can formally input to the work of the new authority.

A system for dealing with individual complaints and concerns is also to be set up, through the appointment of individual Complaints Officers. The new authority will be fully accountable to the Joint Oireachtas Committees on Communications, Marine & Natural Resources.

The Headquarters of the Sea Fishery Protection Authority will be permanently located in Clonakilty in conjunction with the new National Marine Headquarters, which should be completed in 2008, and will accommodate 210 civil and public servants. In the intervening period the authority will, like the decentralising department staff, be based in interim accommodation.

Addressing staff of the department at decentralised offices in Clonakilty, Minister Browne praised the progress made to date on decentralisation. “I am delighted to witness first-hand the enormous strides that are being made on decentralisation in Clonakilty. Already there are some 40 staff carrying out important functions of the department here. This figure is increasing steadily and I am pleased to confirm that the entire marine functions of the department are on track for complete decentralisation to Clonakilty by summer 2007.”