The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has received reports of vessels’ propellers becoming entangled in ropes of Marker Buoys used to indicate the position of pots used for fishing Lobster, Crab, or other fish or shellfish. This can occur because the length of rope used to fix Marker Buoys is too long, resulting in the line floating on or just below the surface.
The use of too long a line of rope can result in a situation where even vessels that have taken a wide berth around Marker Buoys could have their propellers fouled by the rope.
In addition, concerns have been raised that unsuitable ‘floats’ (e.g. empty drink cans, plastic bottles, dark-coloured floats, etc.) are being used that offer poor visibility or could be mistaken for floating debris.
Fishers who carry out pot fishing (whether commercially or non-commercially) are reminded of their obligation to other users of the sea.
Furthermore, non-commercial pot fishers are reminded of the regulations recently made by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine covering such activity (S.I. No. 31 of 2016 Non-Commercial Pot Fishing (Lobster and Crab) Regulations 2016) which inter alia limits the numbers of pots permitted per boat to a maximum of six, and such pot fishing to the months of May to September.
Any mariners who spot any Marker Buoys/Ropes (or any other object) in the water which is deemed to represent a danger to navigation should communicate information on same to other vessels in the area and to the Irish Coast Guard, or to the local competent authority so that a hazard warning can be issued if appropriate, and any required follow-up action can be taken.