Illegal fish net State €100,000

FISH seized in west Cork last week as part of an investigation into illegal catches have been sold at auction.

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) confirmed yesterday that the monkfish and cod seized by officials were put up for auction at the fishing port of Union Hall— where the catch had been seized.

The sale took place under the supervision of the SFPA and it’s believed that the catch yielded about €100,000 for the state’s coffers.

Meanwhile, the European Commission yesterday carried started an inspection of the SFPA’s Clonakilty headquarters.

The five-day visit is being made by two fisheries’ inspectors to monitor Ireland’s application of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The monkfish and cod — both protected species under international fisheries laws — were discovered by the SFPA last week as part an intelligence-led investigation into landings and sales of illegal fish.

The high-value fish were found during a search of a premises on Thursday and the find was described as “significant” by SFPA chairman Peter Whelan.

The authority said yesterday the investigation was “ongoing”, with personnel from the fishing industry helping gardaí and SFPA officials with their enquiries.

Speaking about the European Commission inspection, Mr Whelan said yesterday that “significant progress” has been made by the SFPA in improving Ireland’s sea fisheries protection and seafood safety systems.

The SFPA is the statutory body charged with the state’s sea fisheries law enforcement functions.

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