A 52-year-old Spanish skipper has appeared in court in East Cork charged with fishing illegally in Irish waters.
Vincente Meitin Sanjuan, the master of a foreign sea fishing vessel, the Punta Candieira, appeared before Midleton District Court today.
He was charged with three offences relating to illegal fishing in Ireland.
Mr Meitin Sanjuan is charged that on May 28th last within the exclusive fisheries limits of the State he was master of the vessel, Punta Candieira, when a person on board unlawfully fished for sea-fish contrary to Section 10 of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006.
He is also charged with two other offences - that he was Master of the vessel when a person on board entered within the exclusive fisheries limit of the State and particularly within the 12-mile limit measured from the baseline and that he unlawfully fished for sea fish.
The court appearance arose following the detention of the Punta Candieira which was found to be fishing within the waters of Bantry Bay last Friday.
It was detained by the Naval Service and escorted to a berth in Cobh Harbour where it remains.
State solicitor John Brosnan said that he had received instructions from the DPP who had directed that the skipper be sent forward for trial to the Cork Circuit Criminal Court on June 8th. A not guilty plea is expected in the case.
A Book of Evidence was handed over to the defendant's solicitor Dermot Conway.
Mr Brosnan said under the Fisheries Act there was a requirement to detain the vessel pending the conclusion of the case.
He told Judge Alex Gabbitt he had no objection to it’s release on condition that a bond of €200,000 was entered into by the owners of the trawler.
He said that this bond was to cover a potential fine of €135,000, costs of €5000 and the value of the catch and gear “which may be subject to confiscation or forfeiture valued at €60,000.”
Mr Brosnan said that sufficient funds needed to be lodged to cover all costs in the event of a conviction being obtained in the case.
Mr Conway said the owners of the vessel would enter into the bond. He made a request to the Judge to reduce the bond as the catch on board was not worth a huge amount.
Judge Gabbitt said he would lower the bond to €170,000. He sent the defendant forward for trial to next Tuesday’s sitting of Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Mr Meitin Sanjuan was remanded on bail until his next court appearance.