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#Fishing - Migrant fishermen’s allegations of continued exploitation within the Irish fishing industry have been supported new figures that claim more than a fifth of the fleet employed undocumented workers last year.

That’s according to Fora, which cites figures from the latest annual report of the Workplace Relations Commission — indicating 28 cases out of 126 inspections where its officials found non-EEA employees without valid work permits.

The same report also notes a further 59 employments rights breaches on Irish trawlers in 2016.

This latest news comes just weeks after Labour Senator Ged Nash told the Seanad that new rules introduced to regularise migrant workers in the Irish fishing industry are not working – with many fishermen allegedly putting in more than double the hours for which they are guaranteed the minimum wage.

The scheme was introduced in the wake of the Guardian investigation into alleged widespread exploitation of migrant labour — but just 182 of the available 500 permits had been issued as of mid February this year, with five more issued by the end of March.

Meanwhile, two prosecutions have gone forward since the scheme was introduced in February 2016, but in both cases the defendants were cleared of wrongdoing.

Fora has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - The Marine Institute will begin the annual Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey (IAMS 2017) off the North and North West Coasts from tomorrow (Saturday 8 June).

The 10-day operation, in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) obligations, is a demersal trawl survey consisting of approximately 49 otter trawls (60 minutes) in ICES area 6a off Donegal – following on from a similar operation off the South Coast last month.

Fishing will take place within a three nautical mile radius of the positions indicated in Marine Notice 18 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

The RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB) will be used throughout the duration of the survey. The vessel will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl during fishing operations, will display appropriate lights and signals, and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout.

Commercial fishing and other marine operators are requested to keep a 3nm area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period.

Full co-ordinates of the survey area, as well as details for fishing operators with static gear within the survey zone, are included in the aforementioned Marine Notice.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Local eel fishermen were celebrated recently at an information day hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland in Athlone.

The fishermen, who are involved in IFI’s Scientific Eel Fisheries in different parts of the country, attended the event which aimed to provide an update on the progress made through these fisheries and to recognise the contribution of the fishermen to date.

In total, there are 11 fishermen involved in the initiative, with many experienced in fishing for eels over several years.

Since last year, they have provided support to IFI by fishing for eel in a conservation-focused manner with a view to gathering necessary data which will help protect the species into the future.

Their local expertise and historical knowledge around eels in their areaa has given invaluable support to IFI during the set up and delivery of the Scientific Eel Fishery.

IFI commenced the process of setting up a network of scientific fisheries for eel around Ireland in 2016. These scientific fisheries cover the different life stages — glass eel, elver, yellow and silver eel — and are distributed in key catchments around Ireland.

The purpose of the fisheries is to increase the knowledge around eels in Ireland ahead of the next EU review of this endangered species, and to inform the management of eel populations which are currently in decline.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of R&D at IFI, said: “This important partnership between eel fishermen and research has one shared objective: to improve our knowledge of the state of the eel populations and to ensure their conservation for future generations.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland appreciates the benefit of citizen science programmes such as this one which will preserve the heritage of eel fishing and at the same time deliver on the research requirements needed to report to the EU. I would like to recognise and thank all the fishermen involved for their support.”

Citizen science is growing in popularity and encompasses many different ways in which citizens who are non-scientists are involved in scientific research projects.

The involvement of fishermen in the Scientific Eel Fisheries plays an important role in respecting the tradition and heritage of eel fishing in Ireland. Many of the fishermen come from families where eel fishing has been practised across several generations with local expertise and knowledge passed down through the years.

Published in Fishing

#Brexit - Marine Minister Michael Creed will take his St Patrick's Day duties as an opportunity to extend his engagement with key EU member states on Brexit over the coming days.

Following recent formal meetings with his Spanish, Estonian and Maltese counterparts, Minister Creed scheduled meetings with his colleagues from Germany, Netherlands and Denmark to discuss common concerns about the likely impact of Brexit on the agri-food and fisheries sectors.

Speaking yesterday (Wednesday 15 March) ahead of a bilateral with German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, Minister Creed said he intends to “emphasise the very real and serious concerns that we in Ireland have about the potential impact of Brexit on our agri-food and fisheries sectors, and to explore other member states’ assessment of the implications from their perspective.”

Noting that Brexit poses the threat of “a very negative impact on trade”, the minister highlighted in particular the many common concerns in the fisheries area.

“We are confronted with potentially very grave challenges on fisheries, primarily in relation to continued access to UK waters, where much of our fishing effort is undertaken,” he said. “I hope to discuss them in some detail, with a view to building a common platform as we seek to protect the interests of our fishing industries and communities.”

Published in Fishing

#Rescue - The Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter completed an early-morning medevac of a crewman from a Russian fishing vessel off the Mayo coast yesterday (Wednesday 8 March).

Owing to the distance involved in the rescue effort, communication support — known as ‘top cover’ — was provided for Rescue 118 by a second coastguard helicopter, the Dublin-based Rescue 116.

Both helicopters refuelled at Blacksod prior to transiting to the scene, some 180 miles north west of Erris Head.

The Russian crewman, who required urgent medical attention, was airlifted at 4.30am and transferred to Sligo University Hospital, where he was admitted shortly before 6am.

The operation was co-ordinated by the Marine Rescue Sub Centre in Malin Head.

Published in Rescue

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed’s meeting with his Spanish counterpart in Brussels yesterday (Monday 6 March) was “a very useful opportunity to identify common concerns” regarding the impact of Brexit on Europe’s fisheries.

Commenting on his discussion with Spain’s Isabel García Tejerina at the latest Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, Minister Creed said: “We agreed that we will work towards building a common platform involving the main member states operating within the UK 200-mile fishery limits.

“The EU fishing industry is taking a similar approach, and our combined efforts will strengthen our delivery of the EU fishing priorities in the Brexit negotiations.”

Minister Creed had bilateral meetings on both the fisheries and agri-food aspects of Brexit with his counterparts from Scotland and Estonia, among others, as well as with Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Ireland’s stocks of Atlantic wild salmon are in a “serious position” due to the failure of the driftnet fishing ban to stem their decline.

That was the grave message from the annual Salmon Watch Ireland conference in Galway this past weekend, as The Irish Times reports.

Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne added that conservation measures put in place a decade ago “don’t seem to have worked” as survival rates of salmon returning to Ireland’s rivers have fallen from 20% in 1980 to just 5% today.

Among the factors contributing to this decline, says Dr Byrne, are the impact of fish farming, by-catch from fishing trawlers, and climate change.

Research into the latter by Dr Ken Whelan suggests it has caused an “alarming” rise in salmon dying at sea, prompting stocks to move further north away from Ireland – and ultimately threatening the extinction of Irish salmon.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Rules introduced to regularise migrant workers in the Irish fishing industry are not working, according to a Labour senator.

Addressing the Seanad last Wednesday (8 February), Senator Ged Nash called on the Government to replace the scheme launched in February 2016, following revelations in the Guardian newspaper of alleged widespread exploitation of migrant workers across the Irish fishing fleet.

The Guardian reports that just 182 of 500 one-year permits have been issued, according to Department of Justice figures.

Meanwhile, Senator Nash said migrant fishermen from Africa and Asia continue to allege “alarming” abuses over pay and working hours — claims supported by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and Nasc Ireland.

Last October, a number of fishing harbours were raided by gardaí and State agencies in a sting operation focused on undocumented workers — though no evidence of exploitation was found.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that the Marine Institute is carrying out its annual Irish anglerfish and megrim survey (IAMS 2017) in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations from this Tuesday 14 February to Friday 17 March.

The IAMS is a demersal trawl and beam trawl survey consisting of around 85 otter trawls (60 minutes) and 25 beam trawls (30 minutes) in International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) area 7b, 7c, 7g, 7h, 7j and 7k off the West, South West and South Coasts.

Fishing in 2017 will take place within a three-nautical-mile radius of the positions indicated in Marine Notice No 5 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB), which will display all appropriate lights and signals during the survey and will also be listening on VHF Channel 16.

The vessel will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl or two 4m beam trawls during operations. The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators to keep a 3nm area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period outlined above.

While there is no statutory provision for the loss of gear at sea, the Marine Institute will make every effort to avoid gear adequately marked according to legislation that may be encountered in the notified areas.

In the event that an operator has static gear or other obstructions within 3nm of the points listed, it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the survey managers or vessel directly.

This should be communicated by identifying specifically which ‘station’ is of concern using the appendix and contact details provided in the Marine Notice. It is not required to provide positional details of commercial operations beyond 4nm of the survey points provided.

Specifics of any fishing gear or other obstructions that are known and cannot be kept clear of these survey haul locations can be notified using the contact details provided.

Published in Fishing

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 4 of 2017 advises of the continued drilling and blasting of bedrock, construction of breakwater and resentment, installation of piles and pontoons and other associated works at Rossaveal Fishery Harbour Centre.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the works commenced on Monday 22 August last with a view to completion in January, but will now continue till July.

All previously notified dumping activities have finished. Drilling and blasting of bedrock, installation of piles, and installation of pontoons is ongoing. These works are
being carried out from causeways, a jack-up barge and work boats.

All vessels will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Published in Irish Harbours
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