Regulations to beat the Band

In September of 2010 Minister Sean Connick signed into law a Statutory Instrument that gave effect to a new regime in relation to the weighing of Pelagic Fish. This Statutory Instrument made it an offence to use a weighing system which has not been approved by the Legal Metrology Service of the National Standards Authority of Ireland.

The Statutory instrument give effect to European Union Regulation 607/2010.

Article 1.2 of that Regulation requires the party weighing the fish keep a bound paginated weighing log book. It must be completed at the latest by 23:59 each day (similar to a Skippers obligation). The information to be recorded is as follows:

1. Names and registration of the vessel the fish came from
2. identity number of the tankers in cases where fish has been transported from the port of landing before weighing.
3. Each tanker load is to be weighed separately and recorded separately where there is more than one unless they are weighed consecutively and without interruption.
4. Species of the fish
5. Weight of each landing
6. The date and time of the beginning and end of the weighing.

The Statutory instrument goes on to create a series of offence such as for someone to buy, handle weigh, transport, process, store or sell herring, mackerel or horse mackerel that has been landed or transhipped in Duncannon, or where the fish has not been landed at a designated port (Dingle, Castletown, Duncannon, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs, Rathmullen, Ringaskiddy and Rossaveal).

The Statutory Instrument goes on to create an offence where someone interferes with a weighing system in a way that may give a false result.

Perhaps what is most peculiar about this Instrument is that it allows the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority a weighing system or revoke an approval. It would seem that the SFPA is able to unilaterally trump the Legal Metrology Service of the National Standards Authority of Ireland. One would have to wonder what a Court would think of that should the SFPA have approved a system which gives an unfavourable result to a Skipper?

Dermot Conway
contact Dermot at 0214901000 or