Crackdown at sea as patrols get underway

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has launched its annual inshore fisheries patrol programme

A major crackdown to ensure compliance with Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority regulations is being enforced off the Kerry and south west coast following the launch of a new inshore fisheries patrol programme.

The move is part of conservation measures to help protect Ireland’s valuable shellfish and crustacean fisheries including crab, lobster, crayfish and whelk.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) campaign will focus on unlicensed and unregistered fishing vessels with members of the public being monitored to ensure their fishing activities are within limits for lobster and crab fishing.

The SFPA is advising that anyone found to be non-compliant with sea-fisheries or seafood safety regulations can expect to face prosecution. Regulations are in place for all commercial and casual operators regarding the minimum size that can be caught to ensure shellfish and crustacean species can reach maturity and reproduce to safeguard the future of stocks.

Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority officers Sean Murray, Virginia Valls and Adrian Hickey.
Pictures: Daragh McSweeney

The authority’s inshore patrols will operate throughout the summer into autumn with the support of the Irish Naval Service, Air Corps and Inland Fisheries Ireland.

In 2022, following a similar patrol programme, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority’s rigid inflatable boats inspected 150 registered fishing vessels and numerous storage boxes were inspected resulting in:

  • Non-compliances detected included the retention of undersize and v-notched lobster in storage boxes, which the SFPA seized and released
  • Several vessels fishing with expired licences were also observed and instructed to cease fishing and investigations continued into the activity of these vessel.
  • Inspections were also undertaken on recreational vessels to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation
  • Further administrative checks were undertaken on commercial vessels inspected to check that accurate sales records were maintained to ensure traceability of product

This year, the SPFA has deployed two 7.5 metre ribs with the capacity to winch lift and inspect lobster pots and keeps to facilitate detailed inspections.

The inshore monitoring programme also includes vehicle patrols to small local ports and landing places so officals can identify and monitor unlicensed and unregistered vessels which may be deployed during the summer months. These vessels will be targeted for inspection at sea during the subsequent patrols in that area. Be wise and advertise where it’s seen. Email: or Call 087-2229761