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.
#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.
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.
#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.
#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) details the proper hi-line protocols when receiving assistance from a search and rescue helicopter.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was determined that the crew of the trawler lacked knowhow regarding the use of hi-line, which meant they were unable to release an emergency pump dropped to the vessel on a standard clasp from a UK coastguard helicopter.
The volunteer crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat last Saturday (27 January) at 3.55pm to reports of a vessel in need of assistance.
The lifeboat proceeded to the location of the 21ft fishing boat a half-mile east of Black Ball Buoy.
The weather on the day was fine with a slight south westerly breeze.
The lifeboat, helmed by Patsy O’Mahony and with crew members Liam Keogh, Jason Clossey and Jack Nolan onboard, returned the boat under tow safely to his moorings in Youghal Harbour.
Speaking following the callout, Youghal RNLI deputy launching authority Brendan O'Driscoll said: “We were happy to come to the assistance of the fishing crew and bring them to safety.
“We would also like to congratulate Jack Nolan on a job well done on his first callout since he moved from shore crew to full crew in January.”
Opening the dialogue, Minister Creed highlighted the importance of ensuring that the Irish seafood sector is protected during Brexit negotiations.
“The key challenge for this Government,” he said, “will be to ensure that fisheries concerns and those of the wider seafood sector are high on the EU agenda and that our sector is not separated from the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”
Minister Creed went on to say that for the Irish seafood sector, Brexit “poses a very particular set of serious threats over and above the trade implications common to most sectors.
“That is not to underplay the importance of a good trade outcome for the seafood sector but rather to emphasise the reality that this sector faces challenges that are unique.”
The minister explained that those threats were potential loss of access to fishing grounds in the UK zone and possible attempts by the UK to increase its current quota share at the expense of Ireland and others.
He added that “any changes to existing rights for the Irish and EU catching sector must be resisted strenuously.”
Speaking following the event, which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel at Dublin Airport, Minister Creed commended the high turnout from the Irish seafood sector.
“Today’s turnout and active engagement by stakeholders from across the sector demonstrates the desire of all to pull together in the effort to protect Irish interests as we enter Brexit negotiations.
“I want to thank all concerned for their very positive contribution to what was a very engaging afternoon, and to assure them once again that their concerns and ideas will be taken on board.”
The sectoral dialogue saw a number of presentations by key sector stakeholders, followed by detailed discussions covering access rights, management of shared stocks, trade and aquaculture issues.
“Today was another important step in the ongoing journey we have all been engaged in since the June referendum in the UK. namely understanding and preparing for all of the possible implications arising from Brexit,” said Minister Creed.
“We still don’t know what exactly the UK will seek but the deeper our understanding of the issues, the better prepared we all will be for the challenges ahead.”
The potential impact of fishing vessels from elsewhere in the EU that might be expelled from British waters would put significant pressure on Ireland’s marine resource, the industry fears.
But there are also worries over the status of a post-Brexit Britain as a key market for Irish seafood, not to mention the concentration of quotas for certain species in specific regions – such as mackerel in the North West.
The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.
Five crew members have been rescued from a fishing vessel that got into difficulties off Balbriggan shortly after 5.15 this morning. The Dublin based Coast Guard helicopter, RNLI units from Skerries, Howth and Clogherhead and Skerries Coast Guard unit all participated in an operation coordinated by the Coast Guard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Dublin.
The crew despite the ordeal are reported to be in good spirits.
RNLI Adds: (11.40am)
The RNLI was alerted at 5.15am that a vessel with five people onboard a 12m fishing trawler had run aground south of Balbriggan.
Skerries inshore lifeboat helmed by Eoin Grimes launched along with Howth RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Fred Connolly and Clogherhead RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Noel Sharkey. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin was also tasked to the scene. Skerries coast guard unit.
Weather conditions at the time were described as overcast with a south easterly Force 3-4 wind blowing.
First on scene, Skerries RNLI set up a tow line but attempts to take the vessel off failed. The lifeboat crew proceeded to take the fishermen off their vessel and transferred them onto the lifeboat. On arrival of the all-weather lifeboat from Howth, the fishermen were then safely transferred by the crew on to it.
In a bid to salvage the fishing vessel, two pumps from Clogherhead and Howth lifeboats were put onboard along with a third from the helicopter. However, despite the crews’ efforts, the pumps couldn’t overcome the water ingress and the boat sank shortly after 8am.
The fishermen were brought safely to shore in Skerries by Howth’s lifeboat where they arrived at 8.25am.
Speaking following the call out, Colm Newport, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of all crews involved this morning, the vessel did sink but thankfully all five fishermen have been returned safely to shore and we would like to wish them well following their ordeal. They did the right thing this morning and raised the alarm once they began to encounter difficulties and we were happy to be able to help.
‘This call out involved lifeboat crews from three RNLI stations and our colleagues from the Irish Coast Guard, all of whom using their skills and training worked well together to bring the fishermen to safety.’
In the first incident, Waterford-based Rescue 117 airlifted a fisherman who had suffered an injury on board his vessel to University Hospital Waterford.
On the same morning, Rescue 115 from Shannon was tasked to retrieve a casualty from a fishing vessel some 120 miles west of Kerry Head and transport him to University Hospital Limerick.
Locals in Ardmore discovered four seals and a porpoise washed up on their beach this past Wednesday (11 January).
At least one of the seals was photographed with what appeared to be fishing net entangled around its snout.
Seals and cetaceans including humpback whales have been spotted off the South Coast in big numbers this month, likely following shoals of herring — also a popular fish for pair trawling, a fishing practice criticised by environmentalists for its threat to inshore marine wildlife.
Pair trawling was the subject of a debate on RTÉ Radio 1’s Countrywide last month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.