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#Jackpot - Galway Bay FM reports that a fisherman from the Aran Islands is celebrating a €350,000 windfall from the National Lottery.

The lucky islander collected his winnings incognito from the Lotto offices in Dublin yesterday 2 December after winning the Lotto Plus 1 draw on 9 November with a ticket bought in Limerick.

Published in Island News
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#IslandNews - Residents of the Aran Islands are currently in China accompanied by the mayor of Co Galway for a worldwide competition that's doubling as an opportunity to market the West of Ireland as a tourism destination.

The delegation from Inis Oírr are in the southeast coastal city of Xiamen representing Ireland in the 'sustainable communities' category of the Pride of Place competition, according to Galway Bay FM.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#RNLI - Galway Bay FM reports that the Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat was tasked to assist a yacht that ran aground off Inis Mór in the Galway Bay island chain yesterday afternoon (23 August).

The yacht apparently got into difficulty in Killeany Bay while approaching Kilronan harbour, but the lifeboat crew soon helped it get on its way again, and all four people on board were safe and well.

Elsewhere, Portaferry RNLI was called out in the early hours of Thursday morning (22 August) to rescue two people stranded on an island at the north end of Strangford Lough.

The two adults, a man and a woman, had become stranded on Island Hill, a small island which lies just offshore in Strangford Lough between Newtownards and Comber in Co Down.



The island is accessible on foot at low tide via a concrete causeway connecting the mainland to the small island, but the couple had been cut off when the causeway became submerged due to the incoming tide.



Both were taken on board the lifeboat and taken to a nearby car park where they were they were passed into the care of the local coastguard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#FishFarm - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has responded to concerns from environmental groups that an ingredient in treatments for sea lice in salmon farms poses a threat to wild marine life.

As Galway Bay FM reports, campaigners Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages - one of the groups opposed to the planned Galway Bay fish farm - say that cypermethrin, an active ingredient in veterinary medicine used to treat sea lice, is toxic to aquatic organisms.

BIM aquaculture manager Donal Maguire attempted to play down fears over the use of the pesticide, saying it has been fully tested for toxicology in the marine environment.

However, another campaign group claims BIM's position is contrary to the manufacturer's own warnings on the use of the drug.

According to FishNews.eu, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) cited the Irish Medicines Board's product description for cypermethrin, which states that it is "dangerous to fish and other aquatic life" and demands that the chemical "should not be allowed to contaminate water".

FIE went on to describe cypermethrin as "a biocide which kills life, not a medicine that saves lives" and as "a highly active neurotoxin" with "known effects on fish and, most sensitive of all, crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. Bathers and watersports [enthusiasts] may also be at risk."

Earlier this month, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) expressed "serious concerns" over the findings of a study on wild salmon in Ireland that claimed fish farm schemes were less harmful to wild fish than pollution and possibly even beneficial to wild catchments.

IFI is among the significant opposition to BIM's proposed organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands, a 500-hectare project that would be the largest of its kind in Europe and create hundreds of jobs in the locality.

Published in Fishing

#aranislands – A record fleet descended on the recently extended harbour at Kilronan in the Aran Islands last weekend (July 5-7) in an initiative co-ordinated by Pierce Purcell of Purcell Marine in Clarenbridge, with John O'Malley rounding up the North Shore fleet. With the all-embracing title of the Galway Afloat West Coast Gathering Cruise-in-Company, just about every option was covered, and the west coast fleets responded with enthusiasm.

In all, boat numbers topped the 50 mark, with the main group sailing from within Galway Bay to bring 37 boats west to the Inishmore and the hospitality of Kilronan. As well, there were others from Ballyvaughan and Connemara, but more impressively the event attracted cruisers from the Shannon Estuary, Fenit and Dingle, while a cruiser from Barcelona on Spain's Mediterranean coast found herself involved as she'd sailed into Kilronan from the Azores to find a right come-all-ye getting under way.

On the Saturday, 15 young sailors from the new Sailing Club in Kilronan (where the Commodore is Michael Gill) joined with members of Galway Bay SC for a taste of inshore racing, and an impromptu prize-giving in Ti Joe Watty's rounded out the sport.

The hospitality was the high point of the weekend, with the welcome led by Kilronan Harbour Master Patrick McDonagh, who had been liaising with Galway Harbour Master Brian Sheridan. On the island, the celebrations at Ti Joe Watty's were well matched by the fine food provided by P J and Grace Flaherty, and through Sunday, it was a very contented fleet which dispersed towards their many home ports. It had been an impressive turnout, but Pierce Purcell isn't one to rest on his laurels. He notes that his Galway Afloat database lists 220 boats in the region, so he'll be rattling some cages to get more of them into action and availing of the wonderful sailing waters of the west with more events like this.

Published in Cruising

#Fishing - The Irish Times reports that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has expressed "serious concerns" over the findings of a new study on wild salmon in Ireland.

The State agency for Ireland's fisheries argues that the study - which concluded not only that pollution has a greater impact on wild salmon numbers than fish farming, but also that salmon catchments in close proximity to aquaculture schemes were some of the best performing - is based on flawed methodology.

IFI is among the chorus of voices opposed to the planned organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands in Galway Bay - a 500-hectare project by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) that would be the largest of its kind in Europe if given the go-ahead.

Marine Minister Simon Coveney recently attempted to alleviate concerns over the controversial scheme, claiming there would be no damage to the environment or fish stocks.

However, the controversy doesn't end there, as last month celebrity chef and 'Slow Food' champion Darina Allen wrote to the minister over erroneous claims in BIM's environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.

As reported by the Galway Independent, Allen contacted Minister Coveney to clarify that the Slow Food movement does not support fish farming projects, after references to the initiative in the EIS "seemed to create a lot of confusion".

Allen told the paper: “Many people contacted me under the perception that Slow Food endorsed the whole salmon farm thing and actually Slow Food has made no statement whatsoever on it.”

Later, Michèle Mesmain of Slow Food International confirmed that “salmon farming does not fit in any pillar of Slow Food”.

The Galway Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Surfing - A trio of Galway windsurfers completed the 95km round trip to and from the Aran Islands last weekend - setting a new Irish record for stand-up paddle boarding in the process.

The Irish Times reports on the successful adventure by Dan Gardner, Daniel King and Joe Gallagher, who embarked on the challenge to raise funds for the Galway RNLI lifeboat service.

Setting out before 5.30am on the morning of Saturday 8 June, they returned to the Galway Docks before 11pm that night - stopping at the halfway mark for lunch on Inis Mór.

The trio are each believed to have covered some 4,000 strokes an hour to make their record time of 17 hours 33 minutes. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

In other surfing news, the Sunday Independent reports on a website that's seeking to connect surfers of all levels with the right waves for them.

Waterford-based Liam Sinnott set up Swellseekers.ie with business partner James Hassey two years ago, filling a gap in the market for booking surfing trips online at a time when Ireland was only just emerging as a world-class surfing destination.

Though the site currently only takes bookings for surfing and other watersports in the Waterford area, Sinnott says he hopes to expand his site's scope nationwide by next year to serve a growing wave-riding community of "50,000 surfing all year round".

Published in Surfing

#FishFarm - The Galway Bay fish farm debate rolls on as Ireland's Marine Minister says there will be no damage to the environment or wild fish stocks.

Simon Coveney was speaking to Galway Bay FM last week on Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) proposals for a deep sea salmon farm off the Aran Islands.

The 500-hectare scheme would be the largest of its kind in Europe and has the potential to create hundreds of jobs in the region. A decision on BIM's licence application for the development is set to be made in the coming months.

But the plans have been opposed by conservationists, local anglers and the even the State fisheries body.

Last Wednesday 22 May, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) published an FAQ on its concerns regarding the Galway Bay fish farm proposal, its own submission regarding the environmental impact statements attached to the licence application, and its reasons for avoiding a public debate on the issue.

"IFI is satisfied that its submission, which is supported by international scientific studies, clearly sets out its concerns and recommended measures for mitigation," it says.

Published in Fishing

#FishFarm - Galway Bay FM reports that Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has pulled out of a public meeting on the proposed Galway Bay deep sea fish farm scheduled for this evening (25 April).

The Sinn Féin-organised meeting at the Westwood Hotel in the city tonight was intended to be a debate hearing arguments from both sides regarding the controversial aquaculture project, according to the Galway Advertiser.

However, a statement issued by BIM - which is proposing the salmon farm scheme - claims that "recent statements from some angling groups" have made it impossible to provide a public platform for its side of the issue.

If the project goes ahead, the 500-hectare facility would be the largest of its kind in Europe. But it has faced strong opposition from local anglers and the State fisheries body Inland Fisheries Ireland over the risk posed by sea lice.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed fish farm off the Aran Islands has even put local TDs at odds over questions of the potential benefits and hazards.

Meanwhile, the Galway Advertiser says that opposition group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages plans to lodge their protest at the constituency office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Castlebar this Saturday 27 April as part of a nationwide campaign.

Published in Galway Harbour

#RNLI - Aran Islands RNLI in Galway Bay assisted six fishermen from a 24m trawler yesterday Thursday 18 April.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 4.20pm following a report that a fishing vessel, the Archangel, with six crew on board had got into difficulty and broken down one mile north west of Inishmore.



There was a six-metre swell at the time with a force seven to eight wind.



The lifeboat crew under coxswain John O’Donnell arrived on scene accompanied in the air by Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 - the subject of its own documentary TV series currently showing on RTÉ One - and established a tow line removing the vessel from any immediate danger.



The trawler was then towed back to Rossaveal in Connemara. 



Speaking following the call-out, Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat operations manager Michael Hernon said: "Thanks to the speed and efficiency of the crew in launching the lifeboat, we were able to arrive on scene in good time to assist the fishermen and successfully tow the trawler safely to shore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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