Irish fisherman have hit out at foreign fishing vessels which they say are not using dedicated landing areas required because of coronavirus restrictions. 

Earlier this year, protests in Dingle and Castletownbere saw anger at claims that foreign crews were breaching the regulations, and working in areas designated for local fishermen.

Now, the Fishing Daily says that “whilst most foreign vessels are using the dedicated landing areas over the past two days, two foreign boats have been photographed outside the zones and allegedly working unsupervised by the Harbour Authority.”

The platform says it has written to the Castletownbere Harbour Master outlining concerns and asking what procedures are in place to ensure foreign fishing vessels and their crews are following the protocols necessitated by COVID-19.

The fishermen’s advocate says that a “foreign registered fishing vessel was photographed using an non-designated area” this week.

It also raised the case of a Spanish ship which had landed in Castletownbere in April, whose crew was found to have had Covid-19.

“Last week it was revealed that the skipper of a French-flagged Spanish-owned fishing vessel, along with eight of his fourteen men crew were found to have had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a fishing trip. The ‘Notre Dame Cedeira’ had landed in Castletownbere on 21 April and it was on his return to sea that the skipper reported that he was feeling unwell. When he described his symptoms to the boat’s owner he was immediately ordered back to Celeiro in Spain,” they reported.

The skipper and all the crew, along with the vessel owner are now all in quarantine in Spain.

Fishermen have said that foreign crews have been entering the town of Castletownbere to go shopping, causing anger and distress to local communities.

The representative group Seafood News Ireland said the problem was ongoing.