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Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced the allocation of €37.3m for capital projects in 2023 in Ireland’s six state-owned Fishery Harbour Centres at Killybegs, Ros an Mhíl, An Daingean, Castletownbere, Dunmore East and Howth through the Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme.

The Minister noted “The six Fishery Harbour Centres are critical infrastructure for our seafood industry. Approximately 90% of all fish landings into Ireland come through these facilities. This demonstrates how successful these Harbours have become as economic hubs for the Seafood industry. The continuous development of the infrastructure in these Harbours has been critical to the fishing fleet and the land-based seafood processing industry. These Harbours are the economic development drivers for the largely peripheral coastal communities and hinterlands where they are located. The Government is committed to continuing to develop these Harbours to underpin our seafood industry and drive on economic development in these areas.”

Senator Sean Kyne, Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, Anne Rabbitte TD and Eamon O'Cuiv TD at Ros an Mhíl where €16m will be invested in the Deep Water Quay project in 2023Senator Sean Kyne, Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, Anne Rabbitte TD and Eamon O'Cuiv TD at Ros an Mhíl where €16m will be invested in the Deep Water Quay project in 2023

The Minister added that “Ireland's 200 miles Exclusive Economic zone provides rich nursery and fishing grounds for our own fleet and for other EU fleets. The Irish Seafood industry and Government, working on the strategy set out by the industry led Seafood Taskforce, are committed to overcoming current challenges and building a strong sustainable Irish seafood industry on a bedrock of sustainably managed fish stocks. A critical element for the future of our fisheries dependant coastal communities is top class landing infrastructure, where a modern seafood industry can operate effectively and be efficiently serviced. Our geographic position close to the fishing grounds and the likely rising real cost of energy in the coming decades provide a strategic opportunity for our harbours and coastal communities to become growing seafood hubs offering best facilities that attract landings from a greater portion of the fish caught in our 200 mile zone. This will help realise the maximum opportunities for primary and secondary processing of seafood in Ireland and provide for a strong Irish seafood processing industry to service our fishing fleet and others and maintain these coastal communities. These are the reasons why I am announcing this significant Government capital investment programme in our Fishery Harbour Centres today.”

In addition to the Fisheries and Seafood Production industries, the Fishery Harbour Centres are accommodating an ever-increasing amount of diverse marine commercial business, including commercial cargo traffic, cruise liners, restaurants and other leisure, tourism and social activities. All of these activities complement the critical economic activity generated by our fishing industry and help to maintain the vitality of these coastal communities.

€7.5m will be invested in the Smooth Point Pier Extension, Killybegs flagship project in 2023€7.5m will be invested in the Smooth Point Pier Extension, Killybegs flagship project in 2023

In 2021, approximately 88% of the sea fish landed in the state was into the six Fishery Harbour Centres. For 2021, Bord Iascaigh Mhara reported that the Irish seafood industry contributed €1.26 billion to the Irish economy.

Two flagship projects are already contracted under the 2023 Programme. These include the Deep Water Quay at Ros an Mhíl (€16m in 2023) for which the Minister announced a contractor had been appointed in December 2022 and the ongoing Smooth Point pier extension at Killybegs (€7.5m in 2023) which should be substantially completed this year. The funding announcement will also enable completion of the major Castletownbere development project which the Department has been undertaking for the last four years.

The Programme also supports maintenance at Cape Clear and a small number of piers, lights and beacons around the coast in accordance with the 1902 ex-congested Districts Board Piers, Lights and Beacons Act. Additionally, the Department’s commitment to supporting the Government’s environmental and sustainability objectives is demonstrated with a number of pertinent projects planned under this year’s programme including changeovers to energy efficient lighting and power and water metering to monitor resource consumption.

The Minister concluded by saying that “Fishing has always been of significant social and economic importance to Ireland with over 16,000 direct and indirect jobs across fisheries, aquaculture, processing and ancillary sectors and the seafood industry plays a vital role in the sustainable economic viability of many coastal communities across Ireland. With this €37.3m announcement and my recent announcement of €55.3m investment this year in 164 public marine infrastructure projects in Local Authority piers, under the Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-23, I believe this unprecedented investment in state-of the-art facilities around the coast reinforces this Government’s strong commitment to support the seafood industry, other marine related industries and coastal communities”

The funding provided under the Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme is in addition to the funding of €55.3m for the Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-23 gov.ie - McConalogue announces increased Brexit Investment in Public Marine Infrastructure - total now €55.3 million (www.gov.ie) which the Minister announced in December 2022. That scheme provides funding to local authorities to revitalise Ireland’s public marine infrastructure.

Table (.pdf attached) provides the details of the overall Fishery Harbour & Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2023. Funding for the Programme comes from the Department’s Vote and the Fishery Harbour Centre Fund.The table above provides the details of the overall Fishery Harbour & Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2023. Funding for the Programme comes from the Department’s Vote and the Fishery Harbour Centre Fund.

The Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme delivers on Action 174 of the Balanced Regional Development Section in the Programme for Government to “Invest strategically in harbour infrastructure to attract increased landings into Ireland of sustainably caught fish in our waters, driving the development of the seafood processing sector and the blue economy in coastal communities.”

The Programme also delivers on Action MA/23/10 of The Marine Environment section of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023 to “Reduce fossil fuel dependency/consumption across Fishery Harbour Centre infrastructure”

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The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) is seeking “well-informed” and “sustainably minded” organisations to join its members.

In “an unpredictable political landscape and with the effects of climate change underway, the range and complexity of marine and fisheries management issues are only set to intensify”, it says.

It is inviting more participation to “improve its contribution in addressing these issues and reaching the objective of the EU Common Fisheries Policy”.

The NWWAC facilitates a forum for fishing sector stakeholders and other interest stakeholders to achieve unanimous advice for EU policy-makers and managers.

It says prospective members “will have the opportunity to sharpen the impact of NWWAC advice, connect with the current NGO and fishing sector membership, and engage in internationally important scientific projects with access to exclusive resources”.

“Having stakeholder groups coming together and finding common ground on key issues is essential to develop fair, effective, and environmentally sensitive contributions to northwestern waters fisheries policy and management,” its chair, Emiel Brouckaert, said.

“In this regard, the NWWAC has a great opportunity to work towards consensus advice and sharpen the impact of such advice. We hope to welcome new members soon to share the exciting work ahead in 2023 and beyond.”

The council is one of 11 fisheries advisory councils across Europe, “generating multi-stakeholder advice to feed into the European Commission and member states on key fisheries policy developments affecting their area of competence”.

NWWAC advice focuses on matters related to EU fisheries management and ecosystem considerations in the Irish Sea, the Celtic Seas and the Channel.

NWWAC website is here

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Fishing industry representatives are seeking a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar amid widespread dismay over the details of offers made under the Government’s fleet decommissioning scheme.

The meeting is being sought by the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) which hosted a forum on the issue in Limerick on Wednesday (Jan 18).

“This scheme is unworkable, and seems to be designed to force skippers off the water and to pit fisherman against fisherman,” IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy said.

He was speaking after a gathering of vessel owners in Limerick’s Radisson Blu hotel, which was closed to the press.

A total of 57 offers have been made by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), which is administering the scrappage scheme on behalf of the EU and the government

Over half of these applicants attended, Mr Murphy said. The meeting was open to both producer organisation members and non-members who had received letters of offer.

“We had people from Donegal right down to Castletownbere and from the south-east coast, and many are very angry and upset,” he said.

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue

Initiated in response to loss of quota due to Brexit, the EU-funded scheme aims to take 60 vessels out of the whitefish fleet to ensure the remainder could continue to fish.

BIM said it “will ensure that over 9,000 tonnes of quota fish valued at €35 million annually will be available for remaining whitefish vessels to catch, ensuring the remaining fleet's economic viability into the future”.

McConalogue announced an increase in funding for the scheme from 60 million euro to 75 million euro in early January, but the IS&WFPO said that this increase was still not sufficient to make it worthwhile for many owners.

There were 19 applicants in Castletownbere, west Cork – almost half the fleet of 40 boats- but disappointment over offers means many are reluctant to accept, he said.

Applicants expected to be approved for a maximum of €12,000 per gross registered tonnage of the vessel's recorded catch, but reported offers have been €10,000 per gross tonne and lower.

Patrick Murphy of the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO)Patrick Murphy of the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO)

“This is less than the market value of many vessels, and those who were catching less, for various reasons, have also been penalised,” Murphy said.

“Our organisation did not like this scheme when proposed by the Government’s’ seafood task force, and we can see the criteria make it unworkable,” he said.

“The funding for this is from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve – as in European funding to compensate for the impact of Brexit – and not from the Exchequer, so we cannot understand this approach,” he said.

The organisation is seeking further clarification over how evaluations were calculated, and the tax implications, Murphy said.

“Some people did get large offers, but not sufficient to meet market value,” he said.

He said his organisation had presented detailed evidence to McConalogue’s department to illustrate how applicants had received offers which did not cover the value of vessels both before and after Brexit.

“The Irish government calls this scheme voluntary, but how can it be when vessels that continue to fish may find themselves being arrested due to the lack of quota – which the government should be seeking to redress,”he said.

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The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) has chartered three new patrol vessels and an aircraft for monitoring and control in European waters.

All three vessels will fly the Portuguese flag, and will be deployed primarily for fisheries patrols but will have coast guard functions, the EFCA says.

It says that “following the mandate from the EU institutions to strengthen EFCA ́s operational capacity for assisting member states and the European Commission in the monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries, as required by the Common Fisheries Policy, EFCA has reinforced its fleet”.

It says that these are the “only patrol vessels whose operations are managed by an EU agency”. They have been named as Ocean Guardian, Ocean Protector and Ocean Sentinel.

EFCA executive director Dr Susan Steele EFCA executive director Dr Susan Steele

They will support operations as part of different EFCA joint deployment plans from the Mediterranean and Black Sea to western waters off Ireland, the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

They will be able to provide support during search and rescue situations, maritime surveillance and pollution response, the EFCA says.

EFCA executive director Dr Susan Steele said it was an “important milestone in the history of the agency”.

“The chartering of three inspection platforms marks a turning point, and materialises our strong commitment to support member states’ authorities and the European Commission promoting compliance with the fisheries rules, as well as contributing to a safe, secure and sustainable sea,” she said.

“The vessels ́ modern facilities and technologies ensure a safe and comfortable stay onboard. Their deployment could be seen as a specific oceans safeguarding measure which enhances the EU capacity to improve the effectiveness of fisheries control operations in the EU and beyond,” she said.

A consortium led by Sentinel Marine Netherlands secured the control for the vessels, with a contract for an initial year which may be renewed for up to six years. DEA Aviation secured the contract for aerial surveillance.

The aircraft, which is a DA62 fit for mid-range maritime multirole surveillance missions, will be deployed until the end of May 2023.

The EFCA says the intention is to have an aircraft deployed for fisheries patrol purposes on a more permanent basis and in tandem with EFCA chartered offshore patrol vessels “as appropriate”.

The three EU ships are multi-role emergency response and rescue Vessels (ERRV) with an overall length of 62 meters each.

Two ships were built in 2018 with the third one in 2020, and all three have dynamic positioning equipment “to better maintain their position and balance the environmental forces such as wind, waves and currents during the duty while reducing fuel consumption to a minimum”, the EFCA says.

 It says the offshore fisheries patrol vessels are “fully equipped with ergonomic and modern onboard facilities to ensure a comfortable stay and an enjoyable working environment during the patrols, including space for physical exercise and after work relax [sic]”.

“On each of the ships, seven ensuite cabins for single or double use will be available to the agency, as well as a meeting room with digital projection capacity and high broadband internet connection for live video conferencing as well as access to various fisheries control systems/databases,” it says.“

The vessels were also required to prove ecological responsibility and have been certified with the ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management,” the EFCA says.

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The Irish South and West Fish Producer’s Organisation will hold a meeting about the fishing industry Decommissioning Scheme At the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Ennis Road, Limerick, on Wednesday, January 18.

It says this is “in response to requests and to allow people voice their opinions on the Scheme and on the offers that apply to them.”

As Afloat reported on January 11th, BIM issued letters of offer to 57 Irish fishing vessels under the fishing vessel Voluntary Permanent Cessation Scheme, funded under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, with total funding of up to €75 million.

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Irish fishing industry representatives have held what they described as a ‘positive’ meeting with the EU Fisheries Commission in Brussels. In a joint statement issued after the meeting yesterday afternoon, the Irish delegation said they feel there has been “a significant shift, and there is now a better understanding of the Irish position”.

The two-hour meeting was held with senior members of the EU Fisheries Commission negotiating team. It took place as a fourth round of talks between Norway and the EU Fisheries Commission is due to open in Brussels today.

The Irish industry representatives say they had a very clear message for the EU negotiating team. They emphasised that “access for Norway to Irish blue whiting grounds east of the 12 degrees west line, must be paid for by a reciprocal transfer of Norway’s blue whiting quota to Ireland.”

L to R, Sean O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO); Anna O’Sullivan, Dept of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) negotiator; Colm Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Fisheries Attaché; Brendan Byrne, chief executive of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA); Aodh O Donnell, chief executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO); and Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO).L to R, Sean O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO); Anna O’Sullivan, Dept of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) negotiator; Colm Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Fisheries Attaché; Brendan Byrne, chief executive of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA); Aodh O Donnell, chief executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO); and Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO)

The representatives said they felt satisfied that there had been a positive engagement process with the EU today. They included: Aodh O Donnell, chief executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), Brendan Byrne, chief executive of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA), Sean O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) and Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO).

The Irish delegation said their purpose in travelling to Brussels was to deliver the right outcome from the EU-Norway talks for their members in the fishing industry. Earlier yesterday, they also met the Irish Fisheries Attaché, Colm Ó Súilleabháin and Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine negotiator, Anna O’Sullivan.

The delegation says a range of further meetings are expected to take place in Brussels over the coming weeks.

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Irish fishing representatives have called for a wider debate on the potential growth of seafood exports. 

Three organisations have questioned why Ireland is not benefiting more from its own resource, and have appealed for “growth” in seafood to be “put on the agenda”.

The Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) and Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) noted that Irish seafood exports delivered less than 1 % growth over the last five years, whereas Norway, a non-EU member with a similar population, delivered seafood export growth of 25 % in the last year alone.

“In 2022, their seafood exports were worth €14bn, compared to just €0.674bn for Irish exports,”IFPO chief executive Aodh O’Donnell said.

“ They have succeeded where we have faltered, as they now export 20 times the value of Irish exports annually, with EU markets accounting for 43% of this,” he said.

“Our economy and coastal communities should benefit from the resource our waters represent. Instead, other EU and non-EU fleets are increasingly permitted to catch more fish in our waters than the Irish fleet,” he said.

“Yet the EU re-opens talks this week to consider Norway’s request to catch 450,000 tonnes of blue whiting. This is over nine times the size of Ireland’s quota. Furthermore, Norway is seeking to catch most of their blue whiting quota from our stocks in Irish waters,” O’Donnell said.

EU-Norway talks resumed this week after breaking down in December over a number of issues, including greater access to Irish waters for blue whiting.

“The EU must ensure fairness is central to any proposal to grant Norway greater access to Irish waters. Ireland cannot be expected to acquiesce to these new and additional requests for access unless we are offered a reciprocal arrangement,” O’Donnell said.

While other EU states seek access to Norway’s waters for cod stocks, it is “unthinkable, unjust and inequitable that everyone else should gain at Ireland’s expense,” he said.

“It’s time the EU acted positively to support the growth of Ireland’s seafood sector instead of constantly allocating us an unfair share of fishing quotas. Our quotas were decimated in 2021, dropping 15 % after the disastrous Brexit agreement,” he said.

“ Under this agreement, 40% of the EU quota transferred to the UK came from Ireland, far more than was taken from any other EU State. The national response to this has been to shrink the whitefish fleet by 30 % through a permanent decommissioning instead of seeking a fairer quota,” he said.

“Most of our stocks are in a healthy state. We need fair treatment and to steer a new course if our seafood sector is to survive and grow, like Norway’s,” he said.

IFPEA chief executive Brendan Byrne said the Government “must maintain the position that any new access for Norway to our fishing grounds must be treated separately from the existing EU-Norway historical agreement”.

“To cede any part of Ireland’s traditional fishing grounds requires a separate arrangement by the EU which compensates us for any displacement,” he said.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy said that if Norway is seeking access to any part, however small or large, of Ireland’s fishing grounds south of 56 degrees or east of 12 degrees, then “this is a new request”.

“Ireland must not allow pieces of these fishing grounds to be ceded away in a piecemeal fashion,” he said.

“ A firm position must be taken until a clear arrangement is reached which benefits Ireland as much as Norway. Ireland must no longer attend the table as a perpetual loser; we must be prepared to walk away and refuse to countenance any additional unfair deal with a non-EU member,” Murphy said.

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Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue has said he is increasing the budget for scrapping whitefish fishing vessels from 60 million to 75 million euros.

As Afloat reported earlier, offers will be made to 57 owners, he said, and tax reliefs will increase proportionately as part of the budget increase.

He also pledged to continue conveying “Ireland’s concerns” at EU level over Norway’s bid to gain greater access to fishing grounds off the west coast.

McConalogue made the commitment at a meeting on Tuesday with fishing industry representatives in the Marine Institute in Galway, on the eve of resumed negotiations between the EU and Norway on a fisheries agreement.

“Our interests relate to blue whiting and the level of the transfer of blue whiting quota to Norway to pay for other fishing opportunities that the EU is seeking and the level of access to EU waters which, in practice, involves fishing in Ireland’s 200 miles zone,” he said.

“These negotiations will re-commence on Wednesday. The discussions with Irish industry representatives today were very useful and enabled a full consideration of the issues and the negotiating options,” he said.

He said he was pleased that a number of industry representatives would attend and “assist my team as the negotiations progress”.

“I advised that I am continuing to engage directly with EU Fisheries and Environment Commissioner Sinkevicious to ensure that he understands Irelands’ concerns and its priorities in these negotiations,” he said.

The marine minister said he also used the opportunity to provide an update on the voluntary scheme to decommission fishing vessels as recommended by the Seafood Taskforce.

Updating the industry on voluntary decommissioning, which aims to voluntarily remove 8,000 GT and 21,000 KW to “rebalance” the whitefish fleet and improve the viability of the remaining fleet, he said that an increase in budget was required.

He said this was due to the level of interest from vessel owners and the calculations from BIM on the levels of direct payments required to meet the objective of the scheme.

McConalogue said he has successfully sought additional funds from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and secured an updated EU State Aid approval to increase the budget from 60 million euro to 75 million euro, with “tax reliefs increasing proportionately”.

“Offers for voluntary decommissioning will now be made to 57 vessel owners, and the decommissioning of those vessels will make available an extra €34m in quota for the remainder of the whitefish fleet, improving their profitability and securing the future of the fleet,” he said.

“I am satisfied that I have now enabled all those who have chosen to apply for this scheme to receive the full value of the scheme payment as guided by the Seafood Taskforce recommendation,” he said.

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A new permit scheme giving non-EEA migrant fishers the same rights as EU crew members has been welcomed by the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO).

The Department of Justice confirmed the new arrangements this week, which provide for a “more streamlined process”, the IFPO says.

Under the new scheme, all holders of a current valid permission to work as a non-EEA crew member under the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) in the Irish Fishing Fleet expiring on or after January 1st 2023 will be granted a Stamp 4 immigration permission.

IFPO chief executive Aodh O Donnell said the award of Stamp 4 permission” is a critical and much embraced change to the status of crew employed in the Irish fishing fleet under the auspices of the problematic Atypical Working Scheme”.

“Our members have worked hard with us, as a representative body, to support the right of all non-EEA migrant fishers to fair treatment and for fit for purpose permitting. This is positive news with the introduction of measures to protect migrant fishers and to grant them the full rights and entitlements under employment legislation,” O’Donnell said.

“This legislative change gives qualifying non-EEA crew the same full entitlements as EU crew and the option to avail of the share-based remuneration. Furthermore, the process of permitting is streamlined for both crew and vessel owners. Costs of administration are also radically reduced to the benefit of all stakeholders,”he said.

The IFPO paid tribute to Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State with responsibility for Employment Affairs Damien English for “spearheading this much needed legislative initiative”.

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Irish fishing industry organisations have welcomed the “breakdown” of attempts by Norway to seek unrestricted access to blue whiting grounds off the Irish coast.

“Now is the time for the Irish Government and the EU to address the massive disparity in Ireland’s share of EU fishing quotas,” three organisations have said in a joint statement.

The statement by the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation (IFPO), Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) and the Irish Fish Processors’ and Exporters’ Association (IFPEA) said Ireland's fishing industry has “suffered massive negative impacts from EU membership, compared to other sectors of our economy”.

“We welcome the breakdown of Norway’s recent attempts to secure unfettered access to our blue whiting grounds from the EU,” IFPO chief executive Aodh O’Donnell said.

“We also welcome the Minister for the Marine’s commitment to resist the Norwegian overtures. We note that Norway has now secured a deal for blue whiting with Russia,” he said.

“But the whole blue whiting row has underlined an appalling attitude at EU level towards Ireland’s fishing industry. The EU has never delivered an equitable share of fishing rights to Ireland. This has been compounded over the decades by our Government’s failure to secure a fair deal for our fishing industry,” he added.

IFPEA chief executive Brendan Byrne said Ireland is at “a critical point in our fishing industry”.

“Brexit and the disastrous TCA deal for Irish fishing has left an industry that is struggling to survive,”he said.

“ That EU deal created a 40% loss in the value of our permitted catch, compared to just 6% for Spain – who are allowed to catch more fish in our waters then we are,” Byrne said.

“When you consider this context, it is profoundly shocking that the EU would even consider granting Norway unfettered access to Irish waters, without a comparable dividend to Ireland,”he said.

“The Government urgently need to make it abundantly clear, that the historical arrangements between the EU and Norway will be honoured. However, they must also make clear that any new or additional access south of the 56 degree line or east of the 12 degree line must be dealt with separately and with consideration for the Irish,”he said.

“For too long Ireland’s fishing industry has suffered or paid a price to accommodate others, while all the time our own fishing industry declines. This is where we say no more and no further – the very life blood has been long drawn from the Irish fishing industry we need to take a stand here,” Byrne said.

“Ireland will play the part of good Europeans but that is a two-way process. We also need to be respected and treated fairly by our EU colleagues as equal members of this union of states,”he said.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy said Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue had “shown determination at EU level to reduce the EU transfer of blue whiting quotas to Norway”.

‘’It is vital that the Minister maintains this position and secures a meaningful transfer of quota to Ireland from this third country, and as a compensatory measure, in lieu of access to our waters,”he said.

“ Blue whiting in Irish waters is valued at an estimated €100-€120m for 2023. Ireland currently has just 3% of the EU allowable quota for blue whiting, while Norway already has 18% and was seeking more from our waters,”he said.

O’Donnell said Irish fishing bodies had “pulled together to fight the Norway blue whiting plans”.

““The EU clearly expected Ireland to just roll over and accept this appalling proposal, and did not expect our vociferous and effective opposition. We must continue to pull together to benefit our members and the nation’s fishing industry,”he said.

“We want to work closely with the Minister for the Marine and the EU in 2023 to secure a better deal for Ireland. There are serious issues involved here. There is the survival of the Irish fishing fleet and the coastal communities who depend on them. There is the issue of food security and Ireland’s supply of fresh fish,” he said.

He said that the “hits” which Ireland’s seafood sector had taken over the past few decades has “reduced its value to the Irish economy”.

“It’s time now to work collaboratively to turn this around so Ireland can more equitably and sustainably benefit from the ocean resource that surrounds our island,” he said.

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General Information on using Waterways Ireland inland navigations

Safety on the Water

All users of the navigations are strongly recommended to make themselves aware of safety on the water for whatever activity they are involved in and to read the advice offered by the various governing bodies and by:

The Dept. of Transport, Ireland: www.gov.ie/transport and The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, UK, The RNLI – Water Safety Ireland for information in terms of drowning prevention and water safety.

Registration of Vessels

All vessels using the Shannon Navigation, which includes the Shannon-Erne Waterways and the Erne System must be registered with Waterways Ireland. Only open undecked boats with an engine of 15 horsepower or less on the Shannon Navigation, and vessels of 10 horsepower or less on the Erne System, are exempt. Registration is free of charge.

Craft registration should be completed online at: https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/craft-registration

Permits for use of the Grand and Royal Canals and the Barrow Navigation

All vessels using the Grand and Royal Canals and the Barrow Navigation must display appropriate valid Permit(s) i.e A Combined Mooring and Passage Permit (€126) and if not intending to move every five days, an Extended Mooring Permit (€152).

Permit applications should be completed online at: https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/canal-permits

Passage on the Royal and Grand Canals – Dublin Area

For boat passage through the locks east of Lock 12 into / out of Dublin on either the Royal or Grand Canals, Masters are requested to contact the Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office (M-F 9.30am-4.30pm) on tel: +353(0)1 868 0148 or email [email protected] prior to making passage in order to plan the necessary lock-keeping assistance arrangements.

On the Grand Canal a minimum of two days notice prior to the planned passage should be given, masters should note that with the exception of pre-arranged events, a maximum of 2 boats per day will be taken through the locks, travelling either east or west.

Movements in or out of the city will be organised by prior arrangement to take place as a single movement in one day. Boaters will be facilitated to travel the system if their passage is considered to be safe by Waterways Ireland and they have the valid permit(s) for mooring and passage.

Newcomen Lifting Bridge

On the Royal Canal two weeks’ notice of bridge passage (Newcomen Lifting Bridge) is required for the pre-set lift date, and lock assistance will then also be arranged. A minimum of 2 boats is required for a bridge lift to go ahead.

Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office (Tel: +353(0)1 868 0148 or [email protected] ) is the point of contact for the bridge lift.

A maximum number of boats passing will be implemented to keep to the times given above for the planned lifts (16 for the Sat / Sun lifts & 8 for the weekday lifts). Priority will be given on a first come first served basis.

On day of lift, boaters and passengers must follow guidance from Waterways Ireland staff about sequence of passage under bridge & through Lock 1, and must remain within signed and designated areas.

Events Held on the Waterways

All organised events taking place on the waterways must have the prior approval of Waterways Ireland. This is a twelve week process and application forms must be accompanied with the appropriate insurance, signed indemnity and risk assessment. The application should be completed on the Waterways Ireland events page at :

https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/event-approval

Time Limits on Mooring in Public Harbours

On the Shannon Navigation and the Shannon-Erne Waterway craft may berth in public harbours for five consecutive days or a total of seven days in any one month.

On the Erne System, revised Bye Laws state that: No master or owner shall permit a vessel, boat or any floating or sunken object to remain moored at or in the vicinity of any public mooring, including mooring at any other public mooring within 3 kilometres of that location, for more than 3 consecutive days and shall not moor at that same mooring or any other public mooring within 3 kilometres of that location within the following 3 consecutive days without prior permission by an authorised official.

Winter Mooring on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterway

Winter mooring may be availed of by owners during the period 1 Nov to 31 Mar by prior arrangement and payment of a charge of €63.50 per craft. Craft not availing of Winter Mooring must continue to comply with the “5 Day Rule”. Winter Mooring applications should be completed online at : https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/winter-moorings-booking

Owners should be aware that electricity supply and water supply to public moorings is disconnected for the winter months. This is to protect against frost damage, to reduce running costs and to minimise maintenance requirements during the winter months.

Vessel owners are advised that advance purchasing of electricity on the power bollards leading up to the disconnection date should be minimal. Electricity credit existing on the bollards will not be recoverable after the winter decommissioning date. Both services will be reinstated prior to the commencement of the next boating season.

Smart Cards

Waterways Ireland smart cards are used to operate locks on the Shannon Erne Waterway, to access the service blocks, to use the pump-outs along the navigations, to avail of electrical power at Waterways Ireland jetties.

Berthing in Public Harbours

Masters are reminded of the following:

  • Equip their vessel with mooring lines of appropriate length and strength and only secure their craft to mooring bollards and cleats provided for this purpose.
  • Ensure the available berth is suitable to the length of your vessel, do not overhang the mooring especially on finger moorings on floating pontoon moorings.
  • Ensure mooring lines, electric cables and fresh water hoses do not create a trip hazard on public jetties for others users.
  • Carry sufficient fenders to prevent damage to your own vessel, other vessels and WI property.
  • Allow sufficient space between your vessel and the vessel ahead /astern (c.1m) for fire safety purposes and /or to recover somebody from the water.
  • Do not berth more than two vessels side by side and ensure there is safe access/egress at all times between vessels and onto the harbour itself.
  • Do not berth in such a way to prevent use of harbour safety ladders, slipways or pump-outs.
  • Do not allow the bow of your vessel to overhang the walkway of a floating mooring thus creating a hazard for others with an overhanging anchor or bow fendering.
  • Animals are not allowed to be loose or stray at any time.
  • Harbour and jetty infrastructure such as railings, power pedestals, fresh water taps, electric light poles, safety bollards, ladders etc are not designed for the purpose of mooring craft , they will not bear the strain of a vessel and will be damaged.
  • At Carrybridge on the Erne System, Masters of vessels are not permitted to use stern on mooring. Masters of vessels must use the mooring fingers for mooring of vessels and for embarkation / disembarkation from vessels.

Passenger Vessel Berths

Masters of vessels should not berth on passenger vessel berths where it is indicated that an arrival is imminent. Passenger vessels plying the navigations generally only occupy the berths to embark and disembark passengers and rarely remain on the berths for extended periods or overnight.

Lock Lead-in Jetties

Lead-in jetties adjacent to the upstream and downstream gates at lock chambers are solely for the purpose of craft waiting to use the lock and should not be used for long term berthing.

Vessel Wake

Vessel wake, that is, the wave generated by the passage of the boat through the water, can sometimes be large, powerful and destructive depending on the hull shape and engine power of the vessel. This wake can be detrimental to other users of the navigation when it strikes their craft or inundates the shoreline or riverbank. Masters are requested to frequently look behind and check the effect of their wake / wash particularly when passing moored vessels, on entering harbours and approaching jetties and to be aware of people pursuing other activities such as fishing on the riverbank.

Speed Restriction

A vessel or boat shall not be navigated on the Shannon Navigation at a speed in excess of 5 kph when within 200 metres of a bridge, quay, jetty or wharf, when in a harbour or canal or when passing within 100 metres of a moored vessel or boat.

Vessels navigating the Shannon-Erne Waterway should observe the general 5 kph speed limit which applies along the waterway. This is necessary in order to prevent damage to the banks caused by excessive wash from vessels.

Vessels navigating the Erne System should observe the statutory 5kt / 6mph / 10kph speed limit areas.

A craft on the Royal and Grand canals shall not be navigated at a speed in excess of 6km per hour.

A craft on the Barrow Navigation shall not be navigated at a speed in excess of 11km per hour except as necessary for safe navigation in conditions of fast flow.

Bank Erosion

Narrow sections of all the navigations are particularly prone to bank erosion due to the large wash generated by some craft. Masters are requested to be vigilant and to slow down to a speed sufficient to maintain steerage when they observe the wash of their craft inundating the river banks.

Unusual Waterborne Activity

Unusual waterborne vessels may be encountered from time to time, such as, hovercraft or amphibious aircraft / seaplanes. Masters of such craft are reminded to apply the normal “Rule of the Road” when they meet conventional craft on the water and to allow extra room to manoeuvre in the interest of safety.

Sailing Activity

Mariners will encounter large numbers of sailing dinghies from late June to August in the vicinity of Lough Derg, Lough Ree and Lower Lough Erne. Sailing courses are marked by yellow buoys to suit weather conditions on the day. Vessels should proceed at slow speed and with due caution and observe the rules of navigation when passing these fleets, as many of the participants are junior sailors under training.

Rowing

Mariners should expect to meet canoes and vessels under oars on any part of the navigations, but more so in the vicinity of Athlone, Carrick-on-Shannon, Coleraine, Enniskillen and Limerick. Masters are reminded to proceed at slow speed and especially to reduce their wash to a minimum when passing these craft as they can be easily upset and swamped due to their very low freeboard and always be prepared to give way in any given traffic situation.

Canoeing

Canoeing is an adventure sport and participants are strongly recommended to seek the advice of the sport’s governing bodies i.e Canoeing Ireland and the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland, before venturing onto the navigations.

Persons in charge of canoes are reminded of the inherent danger to these craft associated with operating close to weirs, sluice gates, locks and other infrastructure particularly when rivers are in flood and large volumes of water are moving through the navigations due to general flood conditions or very heavy localised precipitation e.g. turbulent and broken water, stopper waves. Shooting weirs is prohibited without prior permission of Waterways Ireland.

Canoeists should check with lockkeepers prior entering a lock to ensure passage is done in a safe manner. Portage is required at all unmanned locks.

Canoe Trail Network – "Blueways"

Masters of powered craft are reminded that a canoe trail network is being developed across all navigations and to expect more organised canoeing along these trails necessitating slow speed and minimum wash when encountering canoeists, rowing boats etc

Rockingham and Drummans Island Canals – Lough Key

It is expected that work on Rockingham and Drummans Island Canals on Lough Key will be completed in 2021. Access to these canals will be for non-powered craft only, eg canoes, kayaks, rowing boats.

Fast Powerboats and Personal Watercraft (Jet Skis)

Masters of Fast Powerboats (speed greater than 17kts) and Personal Watercraft (i.e.Jet Skis) are reminded of the inherent dangers associated with high speed on the water and especially in the confines of small bays and narrow sections of the navigations. Keeping a proper look-out, making early alterations to course and /or reducing speed will avoid conflict with slower vessels using the navigation. Personal Watercraft are not permitted to be used on the canals.

Towing Waterskiers, Wakeboarders, Doughnuts etc

Masters of vessels engaged in any of these activities are reminded of the manoeuvring constraints imposed upon their vessel by the tow and of the added responsibilities that they have to the person(s) being towed. These activities should be conducted in areas which are clear of conflicting traffic. It is highly recommended that a person additional to the master be carried to act as a “look-out” to keep the tow under observation at all times.

Prohibition on Swimming

Swimming in the navigable channel, particularly at bridges, is dangerous and is prohibited due to the risk of being run over by a vessel underway in the navigation.

Age Restrictions on operating of powered craft

In the Republic of Ireland, Statutory Instrument 921 of 2005 provides the legal requirements regarding the minimum age for operating of powered craft. The Statutory Instrument contains the following requirements:

- The master or owner of a personal watercraft or a fast power craft shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 16 years does not operate or control the craft

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft powered by an engine with a rating of more than 5 horse power or 3.7 kilowatts shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 12 years does not operate or control the craft.

Lifejackets and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Lifejackets and PFD’s are the single most important items of personal protective equipment to be used on a vessel and should be worn especially when the vessel is being manoeuvred such as entering / departing a lock, anchoring, coming alongside or departing a jetty or quayside.

In the Republic of Ireland, Statutory Instrument 921 of 2005 provides the legal requirements regarding the wearing of Personal Flotation Devices. The Statutory Instrument contains the following requirements:

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) shall ensure, that there are, at all times on board the craft, sufficient suitable personal flotation devices for each person on board.

- A person on a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) of less than 7 metres length overall shall wear a suitable personal flotation device while on board an open craft or while on the deck of decked craft, other than when the craft is made fast to the shore or at anchor.

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 16 years complies with paragraph above.

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft), shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 16 years wears a suitable personal flotation device while on board an open craft or while on the deck of a decked craft other than when it is made fast to the shore or at anchor.

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person wears a suitable personal flotation device, at all times while – (a) being towed by the craft, (b) on board a vessel or object of any kind which is being towed by the craft.

Further information is available at: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2005/si/921/made/en/print

Firing Range Danger Area – Lough Ree

The attention of mariners is drawn to the Irish Defence Forces Firing Range situated in the vicinity of buoys No’s 2 and 3, on Lough Ree on the Shannon Navigation. This range is used regularly for live firing exercises, throughout the year, all boats and vessels should stay clear of the area marked with yellow buoys showing a yellow "X" topmark and displaying the word "Danger".

Shannon Navigation, Portumna Swing Bridge Tolls

No attempt should be made by Masters’ of vessels to pay the bridge toll while making way through the bridge opening. Payment will only be taken by the Collector from Masters when they are secured alongside the jetties north and south of the bridge.

Navigating from Killaloe to Limerick on the Shannon Navigation

The navigation from Killaloe to Limerick involves passage through Ardnacrusha locks, the associated headrace and tailrace and the Abbey River into Limerick City. Careful passage planning is required to undertake this voyage. Considerations include: lock passage at Ardnacrusha, water flow in the navigation, airdraft under bridges on Abbey River in Limerick, state of tide in Limerick

Users are advised to contact the ESB Ardnacrusha hydroelectric power station (00353 (0)87 9970131) 48 hours in advance of commencing their journey to book passage through the locks at Ardnacrusha. It is NOT advised to undertake a voyage if more than one turbine is operating (20MW), due to the increased velocity of flow in the navigation channel, which can be dangerous. To ascertain automatically in real time how many turbines are running, users can phone +353 (0)87 6477229.

For safety reasons the ESB has advised that only powered craft with a capacity in excess of 5 knots are allowed to enter Ardnacrusha Headrace and Tailrace Canals.

Passage through Sarsfield Lock should be booked on +353-87-7972998, on the day prior to travel and it should be noted also that transit is not possible two hours either side of low water.

A Hydrographic survey in 2020 of the navigation channel revealed that the approach from Shannon Bridge to Sarsfield Lock and the Dock area has silted up. Masters of vessels and water users are advised to navigate to the Lock from Shannon bridge on a rising tide one or two hours before High Tide.

Lower Bann Navigation

The attention of all users is drawn to the “Users Code for the Lower Bann”, in particular to that section covering “Flow in the River” outlining the dangers for users both on the banks and in the navigation, associated with high flow rates when the river is in spate. Canoeists should consult and carry a copy of the “Lower Bann Canoe Trail” guide issued by the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland. Users should also contact the DfI Rivers Coleraine, who is responsible for regulating the flow rates on the river, for advisory information on the flow rates to be expected on any given day.

DfI Rivers Coleraine. Tel: 0044 28 7034 2357 Email: [email protected]

Lower Bann Navigation – Newferry – No wake zone

A No Wake Zone exists on the Lower Bann Navigation at Newferry. Masters of vessels are requested to proceed at a slow speed and create no wake while passing the jetties and slipways at Newferry.

Overhead Power Lines (OHPL) and Air draft

All Masters must be aware of the dangers associated with overhead power lines, in particular sailing vessels and workboats with cranes or large air drafts. Voyage planning is a necessity in order to identify the location of overhead lines crossing the navigation.

Overhead power line heights on the River Shannon are maintained at 12.6metres (40 feet) from Normal Summer level for that section of navigation, masters of vessels with a large air draft should proceed with caution and make additional allowances when water levels are high.

If a vessel or its equipment comes into contact with an OHPL the operator should NOT attempt to move the vessel or equipment. The conductor may still be alive or re-energise automatically. Maintain a safe distance and prevent third parties from approaching due to risk of arcing. Contact the emergency services for assistance.

Anglers are also reminded that a minimum ground distance of 30 metres should be maintained from overhead power lines when using a rod and line.

Submarine Cables and Pipes

Masters of vessels are reminded not to anchor their vessels in the vicinity of submarine cables or pipes in case they foul their anchor or damage the cables or pipes. Look to the river banks for signage indicating their presence.

Water Levels - Precautions

Low Water Levels:

When water levels fall below normal summer levels masters should be aware of:

Navigation

To reduce the risk of grounding masters should navigate on or near the centreline of the channel, avoid short cutting in dog-legged channels and navigating too close to navigation markers.

Proceeding at a slow speed will also reduce “squat” effect i.e. where the vessel tends to sit lower in the water as a consequence of higher speed.

Slipways

Reduced slipway length available under the water surface and the possibility of launching trailers dropping off the end of the concrete apron.

More slipway surface susceptible to weed growth requiring care while engaged in launching boats, from slipping and sliding on the slope. Note also that launching vehicles may not be able to get sufficient traction on the slipway once the craft is launched to get up the incline.

Bank Erosion

Very dry riverbanks are more susceptible to erosion from vessel wash.

Lock Share

Maximising on the number of vessels in a lock will ensure that the total volume of water moving downstream is decreased. Lock cycles should be used for vessels travelling each way.

High Water Levels:

When water levels rise above normal summer level masters should be aware of:

Navigation

Navigation marks will have reduced height above the water level or may disappear underwater altogether making the navigable channel difficult to discern.

In narrow sections of the navigations water levels will tend to rise more quickly than in main streams and air draft at bridges will likewise be reduced.

There will also be increased flow rates particularly in the vicinity of navigation infrastructure such as bridges, weirs, locks etc where extra care in manoeuvring vessels will be required.

Harbours and Jetties

Due care is required in harbours and at slipways when levels are at or near the same level as the harbour walkways' as the edge will be difficult to discern especially in reduced light conditions. It is advised that Personal Flotation Devices be worn if tending to craft in a harbour in these conditions.

Slipways

Slipways should only be used for the purpose of launching and recovering of water craft or other objects from the water. Before using a slipway it should be examined to ensure that the surface has sufficient traction/grip for the intended purpose such as launching a craft from a trailer using a vehicle, that there is sufficient depth of water on the slipway to float the craft off the trailer before the concrete apron ends and that the wheels of the trailer do not drop off the edge of the slipway. That life-saving appliances are available in the vicinity, that the vehicle is roadworthy and capable of coping with the weight of the trailer and boat on the incline. It is recommended that slipway operations are conducted by two persons.

Caution to be Used in Reliance upon Aids to Navigation

The aids to navigation depicted on the navigation guides comprise a system of fixed and floating aids to navigation. Prudent mariners will not rely solely on any single aid to navigation, particularly a floating aid to navigation. With respect to buoys, the buoy symbol is used to indicate the approximate position of the buoy body and the ground tackle which secures it to the lake or river bed. The approximate position is used because of the practical limitations in positioning and maintaining buoys in precise geographical locations. These limitations include, but are not limited to, prevailing atmospheric and lake/river conditions, the slope of and the material making up the lake/river bed, the fact that the buoys are moored to varying lengths of chain, and the fact that the buoy body and/or ground tackle positions are not under continuous surveillance. Due to the forces of nature, the position of the buoy body can be expected to shift inside and outside the charted symbol.

Buoys and perches are also moved out of position or pulled over by those mariners who use them to moor up to instead of anchoring. To this end, mariners should always monitor their passage by relating buoy/perch positions with the published navigation guide. Furthermore, a vessel attempting to pass close by always risks collision with a yawing buoy or with the obstruction that the buoy or beacon/perch marks.

Masters of Vessels are requested to use the most up to date Navigation guides when navigating on the Inland Waterways.

Information taken from Special Marine Notice No 1 of 2023