A union representing fishermen has said it is to initiate High Court proceedings blocking the issuing of permits under the 'Atypical Working Scheme'.

The scheme was set up by the Government to address concerns over the mistreatment of migrants working in the fishing industry.

The International Transport Federation said it has been writing to the minister for justice since March raising concerns about the scheme, but it has not received any response from the minister.

The group claims that fishermen working on permits issued under the scheme have been subjected to severe labour exploitation.

The ITF also claims that 12 fishermen who had been working under the scheme have been positively identified as suspected trafficking victims by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

In a letter seen by RTÉ News, sent to the minister for justice, the group appeals for a moratorium on new applicants to the scheme.

The letter states that without substantial reform there is a proven and substantial risk to the human rights of fishermen operating under the scheme.

The letter adds that, if a moratorium on new applicants is not put in place by the minister within 21 days, the group will initiate High Court proceedings restraining the granting or renewal of further permits under the scheme.