#FISHING - A Wexford fisherman has defended the free giving away of monkfish to the public yesterday morning after exceeding an EU quota.
RTÉ News reports that Seamus O'Flaherty, owner of the trawler Saltees Quest, handed out the fish to hundreds of passers-by at Kilmore Quay rather than have the surplus catch thrown back into the water.
The vessel's skipper Jimmy Byrne defended the move as a protest against an EU rule that requires over-quota fish to be discarded at sea.
According to The Irish Times, officers with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, who observed the monkfish giveaway yesterday, have prepared a file for submission to the Director of Public Prosecution.
The authority said it found a large quantity of monkfish retained on the vessel which had been logged as having been discarded - and emphasised that catches landed that are not declared as discards are still counted against the national quota.
Byrne, meanwhile, described the practice of discards of dead fish as "crazy" especially when many people in Ireland are "going hungry".
He commented: “I have a certain quota of fish to catch and the monkfish end up getting caught. There’s more monkfish in Ireland than ever before. I can’t tell the monkfish not to go into the net."
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.