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Displaying items by tag: legislation

Draft legislation to designate almost a third of Ireland’s waters as marine protected areas (MPAs) is “almost completed”, the Heritage Minister has said.

Minister Malcolm Noonan told the Irish Examiner last week that his department would meet “shortly” with Fair Seas, a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental NGOs and networks which recommends that MPAs here must increase from the current 2.1% of coastal and offshore areas to 36%.

The minister added that first drafts of the bill to legislate for further protections for marine wildlife and biodiversity “will set an ambition for Ireland to reach 30% MPAs”.

“We know that through our public consultation that there has been overwhelming support for this initiative,” Minister Noonan said. “We’re also saying MPAs don’t exist in isolation — they can exist with fishing communities and with other marine interests.”

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Upon the commencement of the Sea-Fisheries (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 on Tuesday 3 May, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine will establish and maintain a register of masters, ie the Irish Fishing Master Register (IFMR).

This is to bring Irish legislation in line with EU Council Regulation 1224/2009, which established a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and establishing a level playing field across the EU on fisheries control.

Under the act, it will be an offence for anyone to lawfully take charge of a sea fishing boat unless registered on the IFMR. This applies whether you are the owner of the sea fishing boat or not.

Once this act has been commenced, it will also be an offence for a registered sea fishing boat licence holder to knowingly employ someone as a master who is not registered as such on the IFMR.

The act defines a ‘master’ as the master, skipper or other person for the time being in charge of the boat.

All masters must be registered on the IFMR upon the commencement of the act on 3 May 2022. The application form and further details for mariners are available on Gov.ie HERE.

Published in Fishing

A new bill with amendments to the law that established the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) will support its independence, the Transport Minister has said.

Minister Eamon Ryan last week introduced to the Seanad the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) (Amendment) Bill 2021, following its publication last November.

“This bill is a necessary intermediary step to amend the existing legislative framework for the MCIB in order to ensure and support the continued functioning of the investigative body in the immediate term,” he said.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, changes in the bill will facilitate the appointment of new members to the MCIB and are aimed at supporting its independent functioning as the State’s marine casualty investigative body.

The move follows a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in July 2020 concerning the independence of the MCIB, which saw the resignation of two board members whose positions within the Department of Transport risked conflict of interest.

“This bill is a first step in a reform process,” Minister Ryan reiterated to senators. “I propose further legislative change in the area of marine casualty investigation arising from the completion of a separate review of the legislative and structural framework that applies in Ireland.”

He said the finding of this report “have been given consideration” and a policy proposal will be brought to Cabinet “in the coming weeks”.

Minister Ryan’s statement to the Seanad, which outlines the bill and its provisions in full, can be found on KildareStreet.

The bill was expected at Committee Stage earlier today, Tuesday 15 March.

Published in MCIB
Tagged under

A new bill proposes establishing a dedicated statutory authority for the conservation of Dublin Bay, as the Dublin People reports.

The bill has been introduced to the Dáil by Dublin Bay South TD Ivana Bacik, who said: “We need to act now to ensure that the environmental protection of Dublin Bay is a priority, not an afterthought.”

It’s intended that the Dublin Bay Authority would draw its membership “from elected members of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly and others with a special expertise or interest in the future protection of Dublin Bay”.

It will also “have a mandate to improve access and facilities around Dublin Bay”, with the Labour TD noting the “crumbling dereliction of the old Sandymount and Blackrock baths”.

“These are the type of public uses that we need to see back at Dublin Bay,” Bacik said. “They are projects, not just for one local authority, but for the whole of Dublin.”

The Dublin People has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has today (Thursday 11 November) announced the publication of the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) (Amendment) Bill 2021, which provides for a number of amendments to the legislation that underpins the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Changes will facilitate the appointment of new members to the board and are aimed at supporting its independent functioning as the State’s marine casualty investigative body.

The move follows a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in July 2020 concerning the independence of the MCIB, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

“The bill is being progressed to ensure the continued independent functioning of the MCIB in the immediate term as the marine investigative body in the State and to meet international and EU requirements to have an independent marine casualty investigative body in place,” Minister Ryan said.

Separate to the bill, the Department of Transport said it is reviewing organisational structures for marine casualty investigation in Ireland which may lead to further legislative change.

However, as the minister noted: “There is an immediate need for the current bill to fill board vacancies and in particular to ensure that the quorum requirements for board meetings are met.”

The text of the bill is available on the Oireachtas website and a Regulatory Impact Analysis on the bill is available from Gov.ie.

Published in MCIB
Tagged under

Dun Laoghaire-based Senator Victor Boyhan has welcomed the Government’s decision to publish the full text of the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum today.

As previously reported today (Monday 16 August), the Bill seeks to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire maritime area.

Senator Boyhan, a former director of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, notes that the Bill provide for planning permissions to be administered by An Bord Pleanála and the Coastal Local Authorities.

“I will be seeking clarity and assurances on fees to make valid planning observations and submission to the planning process and the right to third-party appeals at a reasonable cost,” he said.

“No one should be locked out of the opportunity to appeal a planning decision — citizen engagement is an important part of any planning process and one I would greatly encourage.”

Published in Marine Planning

The Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum have been published today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The publication was approved at Cabinet on 29th June 2021 and confirmed by An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD on 1st July 2021, alongside Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD, Eamon Ryan TD and Peter Burke TD when they launched previously at the Commissioners for Irish Lights Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire Harbour.

This legislation intends to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire Maritime Area. The constituent elements of this system are:

• A forward planning regime for the maritime area;

• A new streamlined development management system for the maritime area incorporating consenting for the occupation of the maritime area (Maritime Area Consents and licencing) and a new planning consenting regime (to be implemented by coastal local authorities and An Bord Pleanála);

• The establishment of a new agency, the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) to manage the occupation of the maritime area and to enforce the provisions of the new regime.

Commenting on the Maritime Area Planning Bill, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said: “My Department is leading an extensive marine management reform programme, the likes of which the State has never seen. The Maritime Area Planning Bill, which Cabinet has approved, is further evidence of this Government’s intent to modernise the State’s approach to marine management. It will represent a giant leap forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals and targets.”

Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said: “Ireland’s ocean area is home to an amazing array of marine life. Our offshore wind resources represent a real opportunity for us to break free from fossil fuels and reach our ambitious climate goals. My department has been closely involved in the development of this legislation, which will create a streamlined planning and consent regime. We are determined that as we develop our resources, we do so in a way that protects and restores our marine environment and its biodiversity.”

Published in Coastal Notes

A Wicklow TD with a background in fisheries science and environmental law has introduced a bill that would afford stronger protections to basking sharks in Irish waters, as TheJournal.ie reports.

The Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2021 tabled by Dáil deputy Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally or recklessly injure, disturb or harass the second-largest fish in the world’s oceans.

Experts estimate that as much as one-fifth of the global population of basking sharks may be found in Irish waters, though remarkably little is known about their lives — something researchers from Trinity have set out to discover by tagging a number of them off West Cork.

“We have a deep cultural connection to this animal and it is often a symbol of our indigenous maritime life,” Whitmore told the Dáil on Thursday (13 May).

However, the endangered marine wildlife giants are not a protected species in Ireland like cetaceans (dolphins, porpoise and whales) and seals.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sharks

#Registration - Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has surprised Ireland's sailing and boating community by announcing the passing of a Vessels Registration Bill as a priority for 2013.

The proposed legislation is among five transport bills included in the minister's priorities for the year ahead, as published by his department yesterday.

Stakeholders are currently awaiting confirmation from the minister as to the contents and scope of the bill, which would be put forward for public consultation before being published at some point this year.

Legislation for the registration of vessels as been in drafting stages for a number of years, and submissions have been received by previous Governments relating to areas the bill would likely cover such as insurance, VAT avoidance and identification of vessels for search and rescue purposes.

According to a source close to Afloat.ie, among the proposals for the bill is that any vessel entering UK and Ireland waters must inform the coastguard of the names of their passengers and the port of arrival.

"Without boat registration, that is a near impossible task to manage," said the source.

Almost all other EU countries have boat registration legislation except for the UK and Ireland – and pressure is being applied in Britain to bring such registration into law through the UK Border Agency.

Among the stakeholders broadly in favour of vessel registration is the Irish Marine Federation (IMF), which has long called for a mandatory State scheme for identifying recreational vessels in Ireland.

At present all registration of vessels of all sizes, from small sailing boats to container ships, is conducted under the Register of Shipping Act 1955.

Published in News Update

#ANGLING - Minister for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd has confirmed that there is no proposal for the extension of the salmon draft netting season.

In response to concerns expressed by the angling community and highlighted by Derek Evans in The Irish Times last week, Minister O’Dowd emphasised that conservation and management of salmon and sea trout is key to protecting our valuable natural resources.

“Recent reports that the commercial season will be extended in certain rivers are untrue and I can confirm that for the 2012 season, the commercial fishing season remains as it was in all areas, with the River Suir still on a reduced season for snap fishing," said the minister.

"I am aware that confusion can arise due to the necessary extent of regulations in place. However, I am not considering any proposal for the extension of the commercial season."

The minister reminded that Inland Fisheries Ireland is the body that enforces Ireland's "extensive" fisheries legislation.

"IFI has offices throughout the country where advice can be sought. There is also a comprehensive and regularly updated website and information is also disseminated on Facebook and Twitter," he said.

Meanwhile, IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said that the legislative code is regularly updated to ensure that Ireland's fisheries continue to be protected on the basis of information from IFI’s Standing Scientific Committee and IFI management advice.

“Only rivers with exploitable surpluses are open during the spring season and no fishery is open for commercial exploitation during this time," said Dr Byrne. "Fisheries that are classified catch-and-release or closed for salmon are now protected under bye-law 897 which prohibits the use of worms and the use of any fish hooks other than single barbless hooks.

"IFI’s priorities are maximising the return to Ireland, protecting sustainable jobs in isolated rural communities and promoting our wonderful angling resources," he added.

Published in Angling
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