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Farmed Fish, Harbour Master Retires & Shipping Revival

3rd February 2013
Farmed Fish, Harbour Master Retires & Shipping Revival

#islandnation – On THIS ISLAND NATION this week – farmed fish overtake the wild kind ... Cork Harbour Master retires ...Shipping revival predicted ... EU attempt to licence leisure boating stopped ... And much more marine news .....


This year more farmed fish will be eaten by humans globally than they eat wild fish, according to one of the leading figures in the fish farming industry, Aquaculture Executive of the Irish Farmers' Association, Richie Flynn. If this forecast turns out to be correct it will happen at a time when two State bodies involved in the Irish fisheries sector are contradicting each other.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the State commercial fisheries board; and Inland Fisheries Ireland, which has responsibility for angling development, rivers and estuaries; are at loggerheads over BIM's intention to develop salmon farming in pens in Galway Bay. Fish farming, aquaculture, particularly salmon farming has been opposed by angling interests for many years and is detested by salmon anglers. Scientific and environmental arguments have been used by both sides to justify their positions, with accusations by the angling side that lice problems are caused to wild fish stocks by the farming. Claims have been made that a massive disaster will face the Irish tourist industry because of the Galway development. This is rejected by BIM, promoting the development of aquaculture to counterbalance the drop in stocks of wild fish because of stock issues, quotas and other regulatory restrictions on the fishing industry and the economic value which, they say, fish farming could bring to coastal areas.

As always when 'positions' are taken, the 'middle ground' is ignored and agreement that would require compromise, is difficult to achieve.

There are realities to be faced on both sides -
• Fish farming is not going to go away and its development will be necessary for the food industry and production is likely to overtake the provision of wild-caught fish for human consumption.
• Angling is an important tourist and economic resource but salmon angling has over many years been the preserve of those who owned rivers, wealthy interests and individuals, or controlled by angling clubs and memberships, strictly licenced, with catches restricted for stock protection.

Anglers are a powerful lobbying group which brought an end to drift-net fishing and has tried to do the same for the more limited aspect of traditional draft-netting. Preserving wild salmon stocks is essential. However, so is the future of the aquaculture industry, the provision of food stocks for human consumption and employment in the fishing industry as an economic necessity in coastal areas as well as the tourist industry. This is reality.


After 33 years' service Captain Pat Farnan has retired as Cork Port's Harbour Master and Deputy Chief Executive.

He joined the port company in 1980 as Assistant Harbour Master and was President of the European Harbour Masters Association from 1996 to 1998.Prior to 'coming ashore,' Captain Farnan served with Irish Shipping Ltd., which he joined as a Cadet, then serving in all ranks on a wide variety of vessels trading worldwide. He left Irish Shipping having been Ship's Master for two years. In his Cork post he had also been Harbour Master of Bantry Bay since 2002.

"Amongst the highlights during my time at the Port of Cork was the return of cruise liners to Cork with the berthing of the QE2 at Ringaskiddy in 1990 and the development of t cruise liner facilities in Cobh," he said. The Tall Ships Race visit in 1991, the first time the event was ever hosted in Ireland, was also a personal highlight of my career."

Deputy Harbour Master, Captain Paul O'Regan, will take up responsibility as Acting Harbour Master and Captain Pat Murphy will be the Acting Deputy Harbour Master for the immediate future.


The shipping industry will recover from what has been described as the present "glut" which has caused sharp falls in operating profits and the laying-up of vessels.
That is according to shipping magnate and billionaire John Fredriksen who controls an international fleet of oil, bulk and gas carriers through publicly-listed companies such as Frontline Ltd. (FRO), Golden Ocean Group Ltd. (GOGL) and Golar LNG Ltd. (GLNG). Speaking in Norway he said the market for oil and fuel tankers will be the first to recover, reviving over the next 15 to 20 months, when he predicted that international trade will pick up, with oil product carriers recovering business before the biggest crude carriers, for which demand would "take more time to rebuild."

Predictions in the trade are that daily earnings for product tankers could rise 11 per cent this year, with a 4.6 per cent rise for refined fuels. Shipping predictions are that demand for use of product tankers will increase but, in contrast, there will be too much capacity available in crude tankers and dry-bulk carriers.


The container shipping industry may face a wave of mergers, it has been predicted, as companies try to lower costs. Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd AG, the world's sixth-largest container line, is in merger talks with Hamburg Sued, the No. 12, to create the world's fourth-largest carrier. The two lines together would have capacity less than only A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, CMA CGM SA and Mediterranean Shipping Co. While Hamburg Sued focuses on North-South trade, Hapag-Lloyd mainly operates on East-West lanes such as Asia to Europe. Carriers have struggled to make profits in the past two years because of an overcapacity of vessels, slumping demand and low freight rates.


I wrote in early January about the plans by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar to introduce a 'Vessels' Registration Bill' and expressed the view that caution should be the watchword when politicians want to impose regulations that control previously individual freedoms. At the same time I said there were reasons to introduce a register of boats in Irish waters, to aid safety and counteract criminal activities, such as drug-running for which our coastline has been used.

A Dutch Member of the European Parliament has been attempting to introduce a compulsory boat licence across the European Union to be enforced under the Recreational Craft Licence. This would require regular examinations of boat users for competency and appointment of inspectors to check boats for equipment, systems, etc., requiring owners to pay a State fee for their licences. The Dutch proposal would also have introduced a total ban on the use of red diesel in boats. The UK's Royal Yachting Association has fought a strong battle against the proposal and it seems that this has been successful.


The Swedish city of Gothenburg will be the final stop on the route for the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-15 and will also feature in the 13th edition under a two-race agreement between the city and the race organisers. Gothenburg is Sweden's second largest city and Scandinavia's largest port. 2014-15 will be the third time Gothenburg has hosted the Volvo Ocean Race and the second time it has staged the finale, following the success of 2005-06 when the Swedish yacht, ABN AMRO ONE, sailed into the port as overall race winner, with Ireland's Justin Slattery as Bowman. Gothenburg, on the west coast of Sweden, is the fifth host port to be revealed so far for the 2014-15 Volvo. The race will start from Alicante in Spain and call first at Recife in north/east Brazil. It will also visit Auckland in New Zealand before rounding Cape Horn for a second Brazilian stop in Itajaí. Further port announcements will be made over the coming weeks. Ireland will not be involved after twice hosting the race in Galway.


The new Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK, 56-year-old Justin Welby, is a sailor. Suggestions have been made that he should call his boat, 'The Holy See'!


The first attempt is being made to send an unmanned robotic vessel around the world underwater to collect data about marine environments, such as water currents, temperature and conditions that reveal the effects of storms on fisheries and water quality. It is on its way from South Africa to Brazil at present, controlled by scientists from Rutgers University, a Mid-Atlantic partner of the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System. The journey of what has been named the 'Challenger Glider' could take up to a year. The name recalls 'HMS Challenger,' which in the 1870s was the first vessel to circumnavigate the globe on a marine research expedition. The 'glider' is regarded as a cost-effective, low-risk method of collecting marine data at various depths and could revolutionise ocean observation work.

"Information from it would provide scientists with a more complete picture of what is happening in the ocean and may help detect trends in ocean characteristic," say the scientists. "The results could enable better forecasting and information that helps to improve safety at sea and protect the environment."


You may not have heard of it, but the European Union is funding a project called
'PERSEUS' which stands for 'Policy-oriented marine Environmental Research in the Southern European Seas. Two hundred scientists from 20 countries around the Mediterranean and Black Seas met in Barcelona last week as part of the project to share the results of joint work they carried out over the past year that summarised what they considered to be the main stress factors affecting the health of these two seas. Amongst these "stressors" they identified fisheries; maritime transport; land-based pollutants from industry and agriculture; oil, gas and mineral exploration and exploitation causing oil spills.


Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising 540 feet above sea level.
It is marked by a famous red-and-white striped lighthouse beneath the cliff which is 141 feet high. In 2011 Trinity House, the UK lighthouse authority, announced that it could no longer afford to repaint the distinctive red-and-white stripes and that it would be left to return to its natural granite grey. Trinity House maintained that, because boats have high-tech navigational systems, the coloured day-marker stripes were no longer essential. However, a public campaign to keep the stripes was launched in October 2011 and has raised stg£27,000 to repaint the stripes.

Dangerous Seas – TWENTY DEAD

An indication of how dangerous life at sea can be and how little attention loss of life often gets came in the past week when a Russian fishing vessel capsized in the Sea of Japan and 20 Russian and Indonesian crew members went missing. Ten others were rescued by a passing freighter. Not a line of coverage appeared in the Irish media!

Marine Tourism

Disc-like structures above and even below the water have been proposed by a company called Deep Ocean Technology which apparently wants to build the world's first underwater hotel. Reports suggest this could be in the lavish location of Dubai. One part of the hotel would be t thirty feet under the surface and guests wouldn't need breathing apparatus. But they might need 'deep' pockets to afford the luxury!

Email: [email protected]

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Tom MacSweeney on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

Published in Island Nation Team

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