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This Island Nation Podcast (June) – Irish Maritime Interests Are Wide & Varied

6th June 2014
This Island Nation Podcast (June) – Irish Maritime Interests Are Wide & Varied

#thisilandnation – There are 11 different storylines in this month's THIS ISLAND NATION programme here on the Afloat website, underlining the wide variety of maritime topics to be reported. They range from an exclusive interview with the head of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the regulatory body for the fishing industry, to a reminder about Rosslare's involvement with the first use of Morse Code on a lifeboat in Ireland.

As well as those items Stephen Newton, Senior Conservation Officer for Seabirds with Birdwatch Ireland, discusses the importance of the observation of the rare Bermuda Petrel species off the Irish coast for the first time; an artist from a fishing family at Roche's Point in Cork Harbour describes how the sea inspires her painting; a former Coast Guard describes how he will be Ireland's only representative at the World Town Crier Competition; there is a reminder of how tough life was for dockers in Dublin Port; the €4m. export value of an Irish sea worm is reported and a man from the Waterford Estuary calls on maritime communities to follow his example in preserving traditional maritime artefacts.


Dunmore East fishery

The RNLI provides a regular monthly report, as do the Commissioners of Irish Lights who describe changes at Inisheer Lighthouse on the Aran Islands and the Chief Executive of Irish Water Safety emphasises the importance of teaching children how to swim. The national media does not give enough coverage to the marine sphere, but and THIS ISLAND NATION do.




Susan Steele, IFPA

The Head of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority wants to see "a thriving fishing industry and thriving fishing communities," but says that those who "lose the run of themselves" and engage in illegal fishing will be prosecuted. Susan Steele is Chair of the SFPA, effectively the senior executive and in an exclusive interview with THIS ISLAND NATION says she wants the fishing industry to understand that that the SFPA will always act fairly and with transparency. "The Authority's task is to do a good job for Ireland's marine communities to help ensure that they survive and thrive. As well as working closely with the industry with which we have a fantastic relationship, there are times when the SFPA has to carry out "enforcement actions to ensure that "those who lose the run of themselves are dealt with," she says.



Bermuda Petrel – back off Ireland in search of food

The arrival of a Bermuda Petrel, a very rare species the future of which is under threat, off the Irish coast has caused considerable interest. Stephen Newton of Birdwatch Ireland indicates that this could be because of following fish for food. He also has an interesting insight as to why the Bermuda Petrel might be migrating the wrong way around.



Valentia Island Lifeboat Station in County Kerry has been presented with a 100th anniversary Vellum. Last year the lifeboat there launched 33 times and saved 33 people. Niamh Stephenson from the RNLI has this and more lifeboat news on THIS ISLAND NATION.


The Commissioners of Irish Lights have made changes to the light displayed from Inisheer Lighthouse in the Aran Islands, introducing a LED (light emitting diode) which will be more energy efficient. Rory McGee, Engineering Operations Manager at CIL, reports the change on THIS ISLAND NATION.



I referred in my last blog to the 'Songs of the North Lotts' about the communities living around the Dublin Port area and the collection of forty evocative songs by Paul O'Brien. There was considerable interest, so this month on THIS ISLAND NATION I am playing another of Paul's songs. This time he sings about the dockers who unloaded the ships and how they had to line up and hope to be chosen for a day's tough work.


A sea worm that is worth €4m. is the description of the whelk which Sea Fisheries Protection Officer Liam Kennedy tells me about on the programme. They rarely make an appearance on Irish menus, but this large sea snail is highly prized in the Far East including: South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, China and Singapore. The whelk fishery is important to smaller inshore vessels. Because whelks are susceptible to over-fishing, he is asking fishermen to "be responsible and not land undersized whelks."


The Costa Concordia is to be scrapped at Genoa in Italy to where it will be towed on July 20, according to latest information about the dismantling of this ill-fated cruise ship on which 32 people died when it hit rocks off Tuscany in 2012. An Italian consortium has been chosen for the demolition work over other bids which were made from France, UK, Norway, Turkey and China. Italian Government approval has yet to be given for the scrapping.


I'm pleased with the number of people contacting me with opinions, news and views, since this programme and blog was launched. Your comments are always welcome.
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The national association of community broadcasting stations, CRAOL, at its annual conference presented the award for scheduled programmes to THIS ISLAND NATION maritime programme, produced at and presented from Community Radio Youghal, Co. Cork. Photo shows l. to r. Justin Maher, Station Development Officer, cry104fm Community Radio Youghal; Tom MacSweeney, Presenter; Declan Gibbons, Station Manager.

Twitter: @TomMacSweeney @Afloatmagazine

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