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#ANGLING - Northern Ireland's taxpayers could be left with a bill for millions in EU fines if action isn't taken to reverse the decline of salmon stocks, the News Letter reports.

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann said he believes that voluntary measures to help protect the North's Altantic salmon will not remove the threat of "fines which would likely run into millions which [the people of NI] will end up paying".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, NI's Fisheries Minister Carál Ní Chuilín called on offshore anglers and commercial fishermen to forego applying for 2012 salmon licences.

Annual monitoring of the North's salmon rivers has shown a failure to reach targets most years since 2002, with the survival rate of salmon in the marine phases in some cases dropping to as little as 5%.

Coastal drift nets and bag nets off the north Antrim coast - which contravene EU directives - have been blamed for intercepting salmon stocks before they reach the rivers, and anglers and conservation groups have already called for a ban.

But Swann says that Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) does not yet have the legislative power to stop them.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
Howth RNLI voluntary lifeboat crew were tasked twice last Friday, to aid three vessels in difficulty off the Howth coast.

The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was just returning to the safety of the harbour with two motorboats in tow, when the larger All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) was requested to the aid of a fishing trawler that had also experienced technical failure.

The second motorboat under tow by the voluntary ILB crew suffered engine failure whilst attempting to assist the first stricken craft. They had just reached the harbour mouth when the alarm was raised by a fishing trawler in similar circumstances.

The voluntary crew then transferred to the ALB and went to the rescue of the fishermen. All vessels were towed safely back to Howth harbour.

Patrick Brown, voluntary crewmember for Howth RNLI said:

"Luckily weather conditions were fair this evening, allowing for a speedy recovery of the boats that were in difficulty. However the light was fading at the time of the incidents, highlighting the importance of having safety flares for both commercial and pleasure craft alike. Charitable donations from the public make it possible for the RNLI to continue rescuing those in danger at sea"

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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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