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Donegal vessel stopped from fishing around Rockall by Scottish patrol boat

The boat’s skipper was told he can’t fish within 12 nautical miles of the disputed islet.

A DONEGAL FISHING vessel has been prevented from fishing in the waters around Rockall in the North Atlantic by a Marine Scotland patrol boat.

The Northern Celt vessel was boarded by officials from the agency responsible for Scotland’s fisheries yesterday and skipper Adrian McClenaghan was told that he can no longer fish within 12 nautical miles of the disputed outcrop. 

“We were fishing in Rockall and members of the crew from the Jura boarded us. They informed us that we could no longer fish inside the 12-mile limit of Rockall,” McClenaghan told RTÉ News.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told TheJournal.ie this evening that is in contact with Scottish and UK authorities about the matter.

“We are aware of contact between an Irish fishing vessel and a Marine Scotland patrol vessel yesterday, 4 January. We are in contact with the Scottish and the UK authorities on this,” the spokesperson said.

Rockall is a small uninhabitable rock that sits approximately 160 nautical miles west of the Scottish islands of St Kilda and 230 nautical miles to the north-west of Donegal.

It has been a source of legal and political controversy in both Ireland and the UK for several decades.

The UK claimed sovereignty over the tiny islet in 1955 and purported to annex it under its 1972 Island of Rockall Act.

Ireland has never recognised British sovereignty over the outcrop.

Last year, Scotland threatened action if Irish vessels continue to operate in the zone around Rockall.

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On that occasion the Scottish government said it was defending the interests of its fisheries against “illegal activity”.

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Ceimin Burke

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