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Displaying items by tag: inland waterways

#INLAND WATERS - The European eel population is highly endangered and conservation of this species is a priority for Minister Fergus O’Dowd, who recently visited one of the ESB Trap and Transport sites in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

The minister saw first-hand the silver eel operation that involves the capture of the fish at strategic locations upstream in the Shannon catchment and their subsequent release downstream of Parteen Weir in order to aid their passage and bypass the hydropower generating facility.

Minister O’Dowd assisted the fishermen, Brian and Brendan Connell, in the weighing of the silver eels and loading them into an oxygenated tank for transportation by the ESB to Parteen.

“Eels are protected under EU directive,” said the minister. “I am satisfied that Ireland is addressing its obligations under the directive by ensuring the safe passage of eels past Parteen Weir as they travel onward to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.  

"I value highly the work done by ESB on the Trap and Transport initiative and the co-operation with IFI (Inland Fisheries Ireland). I saw at first hand how ESB, as a major commercial State company, continues to take very seriously its responsibilities in this area.”

The National and River Basin District Eel Management Plans specify actions that include closure of eel fisheries and markets, mitigation of adverse effects of hydropower generation facilities, improvement of water quality and bio-security issues.

The overall objective is to increase the biomass of spawning eel leaving Irish waters as the stock has depleted to a dangerous level.

Inland Fisheries Ireland monitors this ESB-sponsored operation throughout its duration, checking weigh and condition of the fish.

Published in Inland Waterways

#ATLANTIC SALMON - About 39% of salmon mortalities were attributable to the impact of sea lice on wild salmon fisheries, according to a new international study.

The research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, involved experts from Inland Fisheries Ireland collaborating with the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews, the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada and the Institute of Marine Research in Norway.

In a statement on the report, IFI says: "In previously published studies, groups of salmon smolts were treated to protect them against sea lice infestation and other groups were untreated and both groups released to sea into 10 areas of Ireland and Norway. A proportion of these released fish were recaptured as adult salmon one or more years later.

"Analysis of the results of all previously published studies together provide experimental evidence from a large marine ecosystem that sea lice can have large impacts on salmon recruitment, fisheries, and conservation. The sea lice were likely acquired during early marine migration in areas with salmon farming, which elevate local abundances of sea lice."


IFI says the results "indicate that parasite-associated mortality may cause the closure of some fisheries when conservation targets of return adult abundances are not being met. However, the implications of these results may be most serious for small populations in small river systems."

The inland fisheries body explains that the high natural mortality rate of both treated and untreated salmon groups was accounted for, which revealed "a large effect of parasites".

"Precisely because natural mortality rates are high, even a proportionally small additive mortality from parasites can amount to a large loss in adult salmon recruitment," it adds.

Minister of State for Natural Resources Fergus O'Dowd welcomed the report, stating:  “From the results of this detailed study, it is crucial that sea lice levels are maintained below [designated] protocol levels, particularly in spring when wild salmon smolts are migrating to sea to avoid increased marine mortality.

Minister O'Dowd added that the results of this study "augment our knowledge in the context of proposals for aquaculture development".

The news comes in the wake of IFI's dispute with Bord Iascaigh Mhara over the exclusion of a report critical of the proposed new deep sea wild salmon farm in Galway Bay from the statutory consultation.

The scheme has faced opposition from local salmon anglers who fear the new facility would pose a threat to wild salmon stocks in Irish rivers by increasing the risk of sea lice infection.

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Anyone with boats afloat on Ireland's inland waterways have been advised to check with their insurers before mooring their vessels for the winter.

Stuart McNamara of Powerboat.ie comments on the website's forum regarding his own cautionary tale while searching for a winter mooring spot for his Freeman 27, which is normally used as a training boat by Hodson Bay Watersports Athlone.

"Luckily, I checked with my insurers before I moved across the lake," he writes. "It appears that they no longer insure winter moorings unless they are at supervised marinas or floating jetties at public harbours.

"The reasoning behind this was explained to me as being the greatly increased risk from unattended mooring lines in rising water levels. I have seen many boats sinking alongside Hodson Bay Pier in recent years because of this, so the insurer's position does make sense and is understandable."

He adds: "The lesson to be learnt is to check your marine insurance if just tied alongside somewhere unattended for the winter!"

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Waterways Ireland is advising all masters and users of the Erne navigation that a fireworks display will take place at Castle Island in Enniskillen on Hallowe'en night around 8pm.

Masters of vessels are advised that in there interest of public safety, there will be no mooring permitted at the Waterways Ireland head office mooring nor at the Henry Street public jetties on the day of the event.

Navigation in the vicinity of Castle Island is also prohibited for the duration of the event.

Alternative mooring is available at the Forum and Regal Pass jetties with easy access to event vantage points. Instructions from safety vessels must be adhered to at all times.

Further information may be had from the Lough Erne manager/warden at the Waterways Ireland head office at +44 48 66 322 836.

Meanwhile, Waterways Ireland also reminds masters and users of the Lower Bann and Shannon waterways that the winter schedule for lock and bridge opening times will take effect from this coming Thursday 1 November, running till Sunday 31 March 2013.

Full details of opening times are available on PDF format for both the Lower Bann Navigation and the Shannon Navigation.

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - RTÉ News reports that An Bord Pleanála and NI Environment Minister Alex Attwood have granted planning permission for a new cross-border bridge spanning the River Newry near Carlingford Lough.

The single carriageway cable bridge will be 660 metres in length, with most of the funds required being sought from the EU`s €30 million fund for development in border regions. It is hoped to be completed and open to traffic by 2015.

The bridge will cross the river at Narrow Water, an area once notorious for an IRA ambush in 1979 that saw 18 British soldiers killed in a series of explosions.

It will also be able to open to allow tall ships and other vessels to access Victoria Lock and Albert Basin in nearby Newry.

Quoted in the Irish Independent is Pamela Arthurs, who helped lead the project on behalf of both Louth and Down county councils, who said the bridge was first mooted as far back as 1976.

"This has been a major project but it is not just about the fact that we will have a bridge, it is what it symbolises in how far we have come as a country," she said.

Minister Attwood also hailed the project as improving accessibility in a region of substantial natural beauty.

"It will be a great economic boost for the area, creating construction jobs in the short term, enhance tourism and promote greater community interaction across the border," he added.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MARITIME ON TV - Be sure to tune in to RTÉ One tomorrow night (Tuesday 16 October) for a special one-off TV documentary following three very different artists on a voyage of inspiration along the Grand Canal.

A Grand Experience, produced by Mixed Bag Media, joins writer Eugene O'Brien, photographer Veronica Nicholson and musician Wayne Brennan on board a historic 68m canal boat from Shannon Harbour to Edenderry in the Midlands.

Offaly County Council arts officer Sinead O'Reilly told the Offaly Express: “Our intention with commissioning this film, was to demonstrate how beautiful the canal in Offaly is and what an inspiration it can be."

The hour-long film is one of a number of projects from A Very Grand Canal, the scheme commissioned under the Per Cent for Art programme by Offaly County Council earlier this year that collects a variety of artistic responses to the Grand Canal. Some of these projects were exhibited during the recent Tall Ships Races Festival in Dublin.

A Grand Experience will be broadcast Tuesday 16 October at 10.15pm on RTÉ One, and will hopefully be available to view online later via the RTÉ Player.

Published in Maritime TV

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Ballygarrett National School in Co Wexford fended off competition from 125 other primaries nationwide to win the 'Something Fishy' education programme for 2012.

The school claimed the award and a cheque for €500 for their project ‘Fishylympics’, a quirky blend of the Olympics, The X Factor and well known public figures,

and today receive their award and cheque for €500 from Minister Fergus O Dowd at Wexford Education Centre, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.

Presented on DVD, 'Fishylympics' is a dramatisation of the obstacles our native fish have to overcome to survive and win in the Fishylympics.

"I am convinced that wonderful learning experiences have been achieved and solid work produced on the basis of what I have seen, you have demonstrated imagination and an extensive level of understanding," said Minister Fergus O'Dowd, who presented the pupils with their prize at the Wexford Education Centre in Enniscorthy last Friday.

Four-time All-Ireland winner and Wexford camogie all-star Catherine O'Loughlin was also on hand to present each child with a goody bag.

She noted Wexford's two-in-a-row victory in the ‘Something Fishy’ competition – Donard National School took top place last year for their ecosystem-themed musical - and urged other schools in Wexford to take up the challenge set by Minister O'Dowd to go for a third.

Something Fishy is an educational resource originally designed and promoted by Inland Fisheries Ireland, in conjunction with the Blackrock Educational Centre, and is aimed at at fifth and sixth class pupils.

Originally based on the life cycle of salmon, it allows students to explore water, fish, fish stocks, angling, invasive species, conservation of rivers and lakes, and fish as part of the food chain.

Something Fishy now covers all fish species and invasive species. As well as class-based work, fisheries officers take students into the field to get hands-on experience of their work.

The competition has been run over the last seven years nationwide, and this year more than 120 schools took part, reaching over 5,000 individual students.

Published in Inland Waterways

#SALMON THREAT - Just three out of every 100 wild salmon returned to Northern Ireland's rivers last year - prompting concerns that the species has declined past the point of no return, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Following a recent meeting of the Stormont culture, arts and leisure committee where the issue was discussed, South Belfast MLA Michael McGimpsey shared his belief "that the public do not appreciate just how precarious the situation is.

"It is estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 salmon return to Northern Ireland each year to spawn. Of these, half are wild salmon and the other half locally hatched salmon.”

McGimpsey said it is "beyond question that there has been a serious collapse in local wild salmon numbers and this is a situation which has implications, not just for local anglers but for our tourist industry."

Claiming that NI's wild salmon stocks are now "around dodo levels", he demanded "totally drastic action in and around salmon" to ensure the species' future.

Earlier this year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has called for a voluntary ban on offshore salmon fishing.

The move to stop issuing licences for commercial salmon nets that may "contravene European law" off Antrim's north coast was welcomed by river angling campaigners NoSalmonNets, who have been using social media to promote their cause.

Meanwhile, DCAL insists that any court action from salmon netters who may challenge the ban "should not prove an obstacle" to extending the salmon stock preserving measures. Proposals will be put to the minister by the end of this month with a view to enacting legislation next year.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#SHANNON FLOODING - Galway Bay FM reports that Galway county councillors have postponed making any decision on an Oireachtas report into flooding in areas adjacent to the River Shannon.

The move was taken on the suggestion of Cllr Dermot Connolly in the wake of a joint Dáil and Seanad committee report that highlights eight proposals for dealing with flooding issues along the longest of Ireland's inland waterways.

Cllr Michael Connolly has suggested that Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan and Minister for the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan should meet to discuss the report's findings from both a flooding and environmental stance.

Meanwhile, the Irish Independent reports that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has agreed to carry out tests at Meelick weir on the Shannon in Co Offaly after thousands of acres of farmland were flooded over the summer, ruining silage crops and summer grazing land.

Waterways Ireland has denied allegations that a failure to open sluices and lift boards at the weird contributed to the flooding.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#inland – Waterways Ireland 2013 Sponsorship Programme for recreational waterway and waterside activity opens on 1 October 2012 for events taking place along the Lower Bann Navigation, the Erne System, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, the Shannon Navigation, the Barrow Navigation, the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal.

Taking place annually for the past seven years the Waterways Ireland Sponsorship Programme has supported angling, canoeing, rowing, sailing and power-sports; competitions, learning experiences, historical and educational activities.

Éanna Rowe, Head of Marketing and Communications with Waterways Ireland stated that "Communities, clubs and associations in towns and villages, along rural waterways and in waterside urban centres, have participated in small and large events. Huge numbers of people have been encouraged to experience something new about the waterways." Mr Rowe added " "the myriad of events supported by Waterways Ireland play a significant role from both an economic and social standpoint in underpinning and supporting the waterway communities and recreational activity along Ireland's Inland Waterways'.

Applications are open to anyone wishing to run recreational waterway and waterside events. For an application pack please contact Damien McWeeney by email at [email protected], by telephone at +353 71 96 50787. Terms and conditions do apply. The closing date the receipt of completed applications is 9 November 2012 at 3pm.

Waterways Ireland, the North/South Implementation Body is responsible for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of the inland navigable waterway systems throughout the island, principally for recreational purposes.

Published in Inland Waterways
Page 15 of 28

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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