Under new regulations, private and recreational fishers are only permitted to retain five crabs and one lobster daily.
The new limits have been constructed to help conserve healthy fish populations, in particular those of crab, lobster, and whelk, and promote the legality of registered fishermen in coastal areas.
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has also been inspecting inshore vessels around the west and south coasts, as part of its annual inshore fisheries patrol programme, and has so far examined more than 140 boats.
“Illegal fishing by a small number of fishermen is unfair to the majority of inshore fishermen who fish legally, and it jeopardizes the future of this valuable industry,” said Susan Steele, chair of the SFPA.
“The SFPA, along with our control partners the Naval Service and the Air Corps, is committed to creating a level playing field.
The SFPA is currently targeting unlicensed and unregistered fishing, as well as monitoring compliance with new limits for lobster and crab fishing by members of the public.
This year’s programme also includes vehicle patrols to small local ports and landing places, in order to monitor unlicensed and unregistered vessels, which will be targeted for inspection at sea, during subsequent patrols in their area.
The inshore patrols will continue until the autumn with the support of the Naval Service, Air Corps, and Inland Fisheries Ireland, and to date, patrols have taken place in Galway, Cork, Kerry, and Wexford.
Sea-Fisheries protection officers of the SFPA have found levels of compliance with sea-fisheries regulations to be generally good.
However, they have identified some infringements, including the discovery of undersize shellfish, such as lobster and crab.