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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to become or continue to be members of Fishery District Committees.

The Fishery Districts where commercial fisheries exist comprise Lismore, Cork, Kerry (SWRBD), Ballinakill (WRBD Galway), Bangor (WRBD Ballina) and Letterkenny (NWRBD).

The individuals shall be representative of one of the following groups/sectors:

  • Commercial salmon fishermen (draft net or snap net where appropriate)
  • Rated occupiers of fisheries
  • Salmon rod representatives

The primary purpose of a Fishery District Committee is to recommend the allocation of the available salmon surplus as identified by the Technical Expert Group on Salmon between the commercial and recreational sectors for those fisheries which have a surplus.

There will be one meeting per year (March/April). Expenses will not be paid.

Applicants will be assessed for suitability based on the application received and may or may not be selected to serve on the committee.

It is anticipated that this call for expressions of interest will be for the five-year period from 2024 to 2028.

Applications may be made until 5pm on Friday 8 March and further details, including how to apply, can be found on the IFI website.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) chief executive Francis O’Donnell addressed the Oireachtas on Tuesday (13 February) on the State body’s programme to mitigate barriers to fish passage on Irish rivers.

“Migratory species such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout, sea lamprey, river lamprey, twaite and allis shad and European eel all make long migratory journeys to reproduce,” O’Donnell said. “However, a range of other fish, such as pike, brown trout and bream, live entirely in fresh water but make extended movements along the river system for feeding or to access spawning and nursery areas.

“Any restrictions to fish migrations may have negative consequences for their habitat use, reproductive or feeding capacity and could lead to long-term declines in their population.”

O’Donnell noted that barriers to fish passage run from “small structures such as bridge floors, culverts, sluices to larger structures such as weirs and dams”. These can impact on natural river processes, affecting temperature, flow rate and sediment transport.

IFI is mapping the extent of barriers nationwide, with more than 73,000 potential barriers identified and nearly half of these assessed.

“Of those assessed as a problem, 233 have had follow-up surveys…[which] are required before any mitigation work can be carried out,” O’Donnell said.

IFI’s National Barriers Programme (NBP), developed with the support of two Government departments, runs until 2027 with the aim of addressing water-quality pressures with mitigation works.

“The NBP has estimated that there are potentially 8,500 culverts/bridges, 1,500 weirs and 160 other structures in Irish rivers that represent a barrier to fish passage,” O’Donnell said. “Over the life of the NBP…it is expected that 257 barriers will be mitigated.”

IFI is currently working on improving fish passage at Bretts Weir on the River Nore in Co Kilkenny; Bakery Weir on the River Suir in Cahir, Co Tipperary; Pallas Weir on the River Bann; and the Dalligan Weir on the River Dalligan in Co Waterford.

Those pilot schemes are along with works at Annacotty Weir and Askeaton Weir in Co Limerick, Templederry Bridge in Co Tipperary, Castlecor Weir fish passage in Co Meath, and Bishops Stream in Co Roscommon.

In addition, O’Donnell said IFI is working with the likes of the ESB to understand the impacts of hydroelectricity on migrating salmon and eels, noting that “large barriers on the Erne, Liffey and Shannon systems have brought those populations to near extinction”.

O’Donnell concluded: “Unfortunately, the European eel numbers across Europe have been decimated and Atlantic salmon numbers returning to Ireland compared to the 1970s have been reduced by 80 per cent. The trend is getting worse and there is now a need to really deal with barriers and find solutions if we are going to save two wonders of nature that undertake what is a most amazing migratory journey in the natural world.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking submissions in relation to a proposal to restrict the commercial salmon draft net season on the Loughros Estuary (Owenea/Owentocker) in Co Donegal in 2024 to fishing between 1 and 21 July.

The proposed changes, along the lines of previous consultations, are to reflect the limited overall salmon quota available for 2024 and the number of commercial draft nets available.

An overall surplus of 304 salmon has been advised for 2024 to be divided between the commercial draft net and recreational angling sectors.

The commercial draft net season for the fishery normally opens on 12 May and closes on 31 July.

A copy of the draft proposed bye-law is available for public inspection at the IFI offices in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. It can also be downloaded from the IFI website.

Any person wishing to make observations on the proposed regulation may make submissions before 5pm on Thursday 29 February, either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the address below:

Loughros Estuary Commercial Salmon Draft Net Fishing Season 2024 Public Consultation,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Station Road,
Ballyshannon,
Co Donegal F94 WV76

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened the first draw for anglers wishing to catch and keep salmon from Kerry’s Roughty River.

‘Brown tag’ regulations come into force on the river from 15 March and will remain in place until the last day of September, when the salmon fishing season ends.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long, South-Western River Basin District director at IFI said: “The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining. The risk of over-fishing puts stocks in further jeopardy.

“Brown tag measures for salmon and sea trout are required on the Roughty River to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting.

“Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.”

A total of 96 brown tags will be available. They will be distributed to anglers with a rod licence via four draws through the 2024 angling season.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time. Therefore, 24 brown tags will be selected through the first online lottery on Tuesday 27 February.

The measures are part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023, recently signed into law by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

Interested anglers can apply for the first draw until Sunday 25 February.

Successful anglers who receive the tags via the lottery system must place them on the fish along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

Anglers not allocated a brown tag are permitted to fish for salmon on a catch-and-release basis on the Roughty River, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody, using single or double barbless hooks only. Use of worms as bait is not permitted.

Published in Angling

The new chair of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to meet members of the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action in Leinster House, Dublin, today (Tues Feb 6).

Prof Tom Collins is heading a new IFI board. He was appointed by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, in December 2023.

The Oireachtas joint committee Cathaoirleach, Green Party TD Brian Leddin, said that “IFI is the environmental agency responsible for protecting, managing and conserving Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources”.

“The committee welcomes this early engagement with Professor Collins and looks forward to discussing the role of the chairperson, his strategic vision for the agency, and the future contributions of IFI and the board,” he said.

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

The meeting opened at 11 am in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House. and can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in News Update

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a new national recruitment drive to hire 52 temporary staff.

IFI’s seasonal fisheries officers and seasonal fisheries assistants are to be deployed across 15 counties from April to September.

Starting salaries of €29,053 per annum pro rata are on offer, and fisheries officers can also earn up to €3,639 extra via an unsocial hours allowance.

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI, commented: “As a key State environmental agency, enforcement of the law regarding illegal fishing, pollution and habitat destruction are a key focus for Inland Fisheries Ireland.

“We require additional temporary contract staff to support our busy annual programme of work on Ireland’s rivers, lakes and coastlines.

Research is among the duties of IFI’s seasonal fisheries assistants | Credit: IFIResearch is among the duties of IFI’s seasonal fisheries assistants | Credit: IFI

“We are seeking male and female seasonal fisheries officers from diverse backgrounds for a six-month period.

“People who enjoy nature and working outdoors, in all types of weather, are likely to find these jobs very appealing and rewarding.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, added: “Our seasonal fisheries assistants will conduct applied research of fish stocks, and explore environmental issues that impact on fish and their habitats.

“They will work with an experienced team of scientists and researchers in the collection, ordering and analysis of relevant biological and physical data in the aquatic environment. The roles will be mainly based at IFI’s headquarters in Citywest, Dublin.”

Those interested in IFI’s seasonal vacancies can see more information and application details on the IFI website HERE, or email [email protected] for more details.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) investigated a serious fish kill incident that occurred on 3 September 2021 at the Glore River in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

IFI’s investigation led to the instigation of legal proceedings against Uisce Éireann and court procedures concluded on Thursday 4 January.

Uisce Éireann, formerly Irish Water, has accepted liability for the fish kill, resulting from a chemical spill at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

A senior fisheries environmental Officer has inspected the treatment plant on several occasions since the fish kill.

Following an onsite meeting on 8 October 2022, a number of recommendations were made to Uisce Éireann to reduce the risk of future spills at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

Uisce Éireann were fully supportive and these measures have now been implemented.

IFI, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, says it will continue to inspect the plant to ensure that all recommendations have been followed.

Further to these preventative measures, Uisce Éireann has paid costs and a financial contribution of €15,000 to go towards research for habitat enhancement.

This will be used to identify the potential for a habitat restoration project in the upper Glore River and some of its tributaries.

This project will include a detailed survey of the Glore and possibly some adjacent sub-catchments, which will provide an analysis of current river and riparian habitat quality.

Where deficiencies are identified, appropriate amelioration works will be proposed to aid in the recovery of salmon stocks in the Glore River area.

Published in Angling

A survey of Lough Sheelin anglers has found that 94 per cent are now releasing more of the trout they catch back into Lough Sheelin than they did when they started fishing.

The Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) research involved 132 participants, and more than half of these had over 25 years’ experience fishing for wild brown trout in the lake, which borders counties Cavan, Meath and Westmeath and attracts anglers nationwide and internationally.

Catch-and-release methods ensure that trout stock have a greater chance of survival within the freshwater lake.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, said: “The trends, over the four decades studied in the research, were mostly positive regarding the abundance and size of trout in the lake and its ecosystem.

“Respondents commented they now believe the lake is currently fishing well.

“However, some expressed concerns about threats to Lough Sheelin’s trout stocks, including pollution, pressure from angling activity, poor water quality and protection of fish.

Shore angling at Lough Sheelin | Credit: IFIShore angling at Lough Sheelin | Credit: IFI

This research highlights the growth in awareness of fish conservation among anglers.

“Seasoned fishers on Lough Sheelin have a deep understanding of the lake’s surrounding ecology that’s been developed through long-term interactions with the natural environment.”

The research used a method developed by IFI called Fishers’ Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators (FLEKSI).

It is designed to track environmental impacts and changes in fish stocks through local information sources by asking anglers about different aspects of the fishery now, compared to when they started fishing on the lake.

Engaging Ireland’s anglers as citizen scientists is now an important element of research programmes at IFI, Dr Gallagher said.

“Their very important contribution can help us to fill gaps in knowledge about the history of fisheries, and to develop sound, evidence-based management strategies,” he added.

Researchers at IFI have expressed their thanks to all local anglers who participated, and to the Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association.

The survey findings are available to download HERE.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against two men for illegal salmon angling on the River Slaney in Co Carlow.

The men were each charged with using an illegal method for salmon fishing and failing to produce a licence over the incident in the townland of Kildavin on 15 May 2023.

Dylan Byrne from Hacketstown, Co Carlow, was instructed to pay €700 in fines, and €500 in legal costs. He was also charged with obstruction or impediment of a fisheries officer.

Conor Kavanagh from Carnew, Co Wicklow was fined €350, and directed to pay €500 in legal costs.

The case was heard at Carlow District Court on 7 December 2023.

Commenting after the court verdict, Lynda Connor, South Eastern River Basin District director at IFI said: “The protection of the River Slaney is extremely important to sustain a viable population of wild salmon.

“Illegal angling puts further pressure on this exceptionally vulnerable fish. I commend our fisheries protection officers for their unwavering commitment in protecting this wonderful species.”

IFI encourages members of the public to report illegal fishing incidents, and those of water pollution, fish kills and habitat destruction, to its 24/7 phone number at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened the first draw for anglers wishing to catch and keep salmon from Cork’s Lower River Lee.

‘Brown tag’ regulations come into force on the river from 1 Thursday 1 February and will remain in place until 30 September 2024 when the salmon fishing season ends.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long, South-Western River Basin District director at IFI said: “The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining. The risk of overfishing puts stocks in further jeopardy.

“Brown tag regulations for salmon and sea trout are required on the Lower River Lee to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting.

“Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over-exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.”

Successful anglers who receive the tags, via a lottery system, place them on the fish, along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

A total of 218 brown tags will be available. They will be distributed to anglers with a 2024 rod licence via four draws through the 2024 angling season.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time. Therefore, 55 brown tags will be selected through the first online lottery on Friday 26 January. Interested anglers can apply for the first draw between now and Wednesday 24 January only.

The measures are part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023, recently signed into law by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

Anglers not allocated a brown tag are permitted to fish for salmon on a catch-and-release basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody. 

Anglers must use catch-and-release methods only, involving single or double barbless hooks. Use of worms as bait is not permitted.

Published in Angling
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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