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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officials will be questioned on the agency’s 2021 accounts at the Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) on Thursday (July 6).

Members of the Oireachtas committee will be joined by officials from the Comptroller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy, and representatives from IFI led by chief executive Francis O’Donnell.

Officials from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications will also be in attendance.

PAC Cathaoirleach Brian Stanley said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland is the state agency responsible for fisheries management of freshwater fish and coastal fish within 12 nautical miles of the shore”.

“The Board of IFI consists of 10 members – the chairperson, seven non-executive members, an elected employee, and the CEO, as an ex-officio member. There were three resignations from the board in 2022 and two in January 2023,” Stanley said.

“Under the Inland Fisheries Act 2010, the Minister for the Environment, Climate & Communications removed the remaining members of the Board on a “no fault” basis in February 2023 and appointed two persons to perform the functions of IFI Board for a period of up to six months, pending the reconstitution of the board,” he said.

“IFI made an overall deficit for 2021 of over €5m compared to a surplus of €3.4m in 2020. In 2021 its income amounted to nearly €32m, a decrease of nearly €5.1m, which was predominately due to the reduction of €5.8m in funding it received from the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communication when compared to 2020,” Stanley noted.

“The majority of IFI’s grant funding (€24.4m) is derived from the Inland Fisheries of Vote 29 – Environment, Climate & Communications. Its other source of income amounted to €4.3m in 2021, generated from various strands of its business, such as contract work, licence and permit income, and Salmon Conservation Funding,” he said.

“Its expenditure for the same period increased to €36.8m in 2021. The main element of this €2.9m increase is related to ‘staff costs’ for both its administrative and operations functions,” he continued.

“Areas of interest for the Committee raised in the 2021 IFI financial statements include internal issues between the board and executive, the governance of dormant accounts funding and the refund by IFI of €30,000, the management of Aasleagh Lodge and Cottages in Co Galway, the ongoing investigation by An Garda Síochána into matters uncovered at IFI, the Senior Counsel review of IFI Board, issues around uninsured vehicles and fleet management, the use of agency staff and legal cost,” Stanley said.

“The committee looks forward to examining these and related matters with Mr O’Donnell and his colleagues,” he said.

The PAC is a standing committee of Dáil Éireann which focuses on ensuring public services are run efficiently and achieve value for money.

The meeting in Committee Room 3 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

A primary school in Sligo has reeled in the winning prize in Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) Something Fishy competition for 2023.

Something Fishy is an educational programme aimed at primary school pupils aged between 10-13 years old. It informs and educates students on fish, water, angling and the Irish environment.

Sixth class learners at Scoil Mhuire agus Iosaf in Collooney, Co Sligo created the winning project in this year’s competition, and received a €500 prize voucher to be used for educational purposes at the school.

On completion of the programme, primary school students were challenged by IFI to create a project to demonstrate their learnings based on the theme of ‘life along the river’.

Scoil Mhuire agus Iosaf pupils’ project was based on a visit to the Unshin River in Riverstown, and the life cycle of Atlantic salmon for whom the river and its tributaries are an important area for spawning.

Their project took the form of a large 3D papier mâché sculpture showing the river in two contrasting states — healthy and unhealthy — with clay salmon to illustrate the different stages of their life cycle and how it interacts with the environment.

Announcing the winners, Suzanne Campion, head of finance and corporate services at IFI said: “This winning project showcased a great level of awareness from these young Sligo students of biodiversity in and around our rivers. A big thanks to Sligo Education Centre for their assistance with schools in the Sligo area.

“It is reassuring to see the knowledge that these children have on issues around the conservation and protection of our fisheries resource. Such interest and engagement on the sustainability of our fish and habitats bodes well for future generations — who will, after all, be the custodians of our inland fisheries in the years to come.”

This year 45 schools participated in the Something Fishy initiative, which is organised by IFI in conjunction with Blackrock Education Centre.

Published in Environment

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched an open call for youth clubs, community groups and schools in the greater Dublin area to take part in its local fishing programme, the Dublin Angling Initiative.

The project aims to promote, develop and improve angling among children and young people. In 2023 IFI is once again looking for interested parties for the summer, autumn and winter months to learn how to fish.

Speaking about the call, Brian Beckett, director of the Eastern River Basin District at IFI said: “In 2022 we took over 600 young people from the Dublin area out fishing. We are asking youth clubs, community groups as well as national and secondary schools to get in touch if they would like to try out a new hobby and learn skills for life.

“As well as learning a new skill, there are the additional health and wellbeing benefits of taking part in an outdoor activity and disconnecting from the online world.

“The initiative introduces young people to the pursuit, giving access to fishing equipment, guidance around how and where to fish and builds awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving our fisheries resource and its wonderful biodiversity.”

The project offers children and young people of all abilities an opportunity to take fishing lessons, participate in fishing trips and enjoy family fishing days.

Interested clubs, schools or groups can contact IFI’s DAI co-ordinator Rory Keatinge by email at [email protected] or by phone at 087 614 2906.

Published in Angling

A new public consultation on the long-term management of the Great Western Lakes is now under way.

It follows last year’s consultation on the first draft of the plan by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The plan covers the seven lakes that comprise the Great Western Lakes: Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and Lough Carra in Co Galway, Lough Conn and Lough Cullin in Co Mayo, Lough Arrow in counties Sligo and Roscommon, and Lough Sheelin in Cavan, Meath and Westmeath.

IFI says it has developed a long-term management plan for these lakes to address many of the factors currently impacting on the ecological wellbeing of native fish stocks and their habitats.

A series of open evenings were held at six locations in Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Cavan last autumn to allow stakeholders to meet local staff to find out more about the plan. An online webinar was also hosted by senior management in IFI to allow any stakeholders to put questions or queries to help inform them to make a submission.

Also in 2022, IFI screened the plan for appropriate assessment and carried out strategic environmental assessment scoping.

Following the completion of the initial public consultation process, IFI reviewed the feedback provided by statutory consultees, the public and other stakeholders.

The plan was then revised to take account of the feedback where appropriate. Environmental assessments of the revised plan were then carried out; these comprised a full Natura Impact Statement and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report.

In accordance with environmental regulations, IFI is now holding public consultations on the Natura Impact Statement and Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report for the Long Term Management Plan for the Great Western Lakes. The consultation will be open until 4pm on Monday 31 July.

IFI says feedback received will help inform its decision on whether or not to adopt the plan.

All relevant documents are available on the IFI website and physical copies can be viewed (and purchased for €50 per document) at its Galway, Limerick and Ballina offices during office hours. Copies can also be viewed at IFI’s Lough Sheelin office by appointment with the Shannon River Basin District Office in Limerick.

Members of the public can make submissions on the plan, the Natura Impact Statement and/or the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report by email to [email protected] or by post to:

WLMP Consultation
Inland Fisheries Ireland
3044 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Campus
Dublin D24 CK66

The submission should clearly state whether it refers to the plan, the Natura Impact Statement and/or the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report. Submissions received after the closing date of 4pm on Monday 31 July will not be considered.

Published in Angling

A Sligo angler has been convicted of a breach of fisheries legislation for illegal salmon angling.

Mark Cawley, with an address in Sligo town, was observed in possession of an untagged salmon at Rockwood Parade on the Garavogue River in Sligo town.

The offence took place on 4 July 2022 and an Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officer gave evidence in court.

Cawley was convicted at Sligo District Court on Tuesday 6 June. He was fined €250 for breach of Section 182 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 1959 — possession of salmon unlawfully captured.

He was ordered to pay costs to IFI of €675 and €106.66 in expenses.

Mary Walsh, director of the Western River Basin District said: “The Garavogue River is open to catch-and-release fishing only. Atlantic salmon stocks are in decline and they need to be protected.

“It is critical for all stakeholders to strictly abide by tagging regulations to safeguard the future of these valuable salmon fisheries.

“IFI actively pursue those who fish illegally. I commend the ongoing surveillance operations carried out by our fisheries protection officers in the district, which led to this conviction.”

Published in Angling

A Co Meath angler has been found guilty of two breaches of fisheries legislation for illegal fishing in an area around the Blasket Islands.

Joseph Foley from Trim, Co Meath was observed trolling for protected bluefin tuna off the Kerry coastline using specialist gear including spreader bars, squid lures and game fishing reels.

Fisheries officers boarded his vessel, the Evie Rose, at the mouth of Valentia Harbour on 27 August 2022 and located the equipment stored throughout the boat.

Foley pleaded guilty to two charges: surface trolling from a vessel used for sea angling targeting or catching any species fish under Bye-Law No 981 of 2020 (Control of Sea Angling Method for Certain Species of Fish); and using a boat as an aid to the commission of an offence, contrary to the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 as amended.

He was convicted at Caherciveen District Court on Thursday 8 June and fined €400 for the breach of Bye-Law No 981/2020. The second charge was marked “taken into consideration”.

An order of forfeiture was made of the fishing gear seized and Foley was ordered to pay €200 costs.

The court was informed of the seriousness of the offences and that recreational fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is prohibited unless licensed as part of a limited and tightly controlled ongoing research project.

The court heard that Foley had no previous convictions and had cooperated with fisheries officers.

Commenting after the case, Sean Long, director of the South-Western River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said: “Recreational fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna in all Irish waters is strictly prohibited.

“This was an intelligence-led operation. It enabled officers to detect and intercept the Evie Rose and ensure that these important species are protected from illegal fishing.

A tightly controlled licensed research project, studying the movements and abundance of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Tuna CHART) has been underway between July and November annually since 2019. Such illegal angling jeopardises the potential for a viable recreational fishery in the future.

“I wish to acknowledge the vigilance and perseverance of IFI local fisheries officers in this instance.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to encourage members of the public and anglers to report illegal fishing, water pollution, fish kills, or fish in distress, to its confidential 24/7 phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is reopening the Moy Fishery in Co Mayo and the Galway Fishery in Galway city this week.

Both fisheries were closed to angling 10 days ago due to elevated water temperatures, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI said: “We are lifting our cessation of angling protocols at the Moy and Galway Weir fisheries.

“Water temperatures have reduced to appropriate levels, and when taking weather forecasts into account, it is now considered appropriate to reopen both fisheries.

“Water temperatures and weather forecasts will continue to be monitored on both fisheries over the coming weeks.”

Freshwater fish species such as salmon and trout can suffer ‘thermal stress’ arising from the impact of adverse warm weather on them.

The Galway Fishery opened to angling at 2pm on Monday 19 June, and the Moy Fishery will open for angling from Tuesday morning 20 June.

Management at both fisheries will be contacting all anglers who have confirmed bookings over the coming days. Those anglers who have had fishing cancelled due to the elevated temperatures will be refunded in due course.

The Moy Fishery can be contacted at 096 21332 or [email protected]. The Galway Fishery can be contacted at 091 562388 or [email protected].

IFI reminds anglers that may be required to close both fisheries and other State-owned fisheries if water temperatures rise to levels considered unsafe over the summer months.

Published in Angling

A distressed sturgeon was discovered in shallow water near Sir Thomas’s Bridge in the River Suir, near Clonmel in Co Tipperary on Thursday 1 June.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it was a likely escapee reared sturgeon of unknown origin. It weighed 22kg and was 147.5cm long.

Huge, but unsuccessful, efforts were made to revive the fish when discovered by a concerned and vigilant angler, who had immediately contacted IFI staff.

IFI authorised removal of the fish from the river. The sturgeon specimen is to be forensically examined by IFI research staff.

Wild sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) are a protected species under the EU Habitats Directive. Such fish are extremely rare visitors to Irish waters in modern times.

Anglers are being asked to notify IFI if any unusual fish species are observed.

NGOs have called for the restoration of wild sturgeon in Irish waters, as recently reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and waterways users on the Shannon Navigation that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) will be conducting fish stock surveys on Lough Derg from Monday 12 to Friday 30 June.

There will be around 100-110 net locations. All nets will be marked with bright orange buoys marked ‘IFI Survey’.

The majority of the nets will be set on the bottom, so depending on the depth only the marker buoys and rope will be potential hazards.

Some floating and mid-water nets in the deeper mid lake sections, and again these will be clearly marked, normally with two buoys.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the survey locations, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is suspending salmon angling at the Moy fishery in Ballina, Co Mayo and the Galway fishery in Galway city, due to prolonged warm and dry weather conditions.

Recent dry and hot weather has caused water temperatures to exceed the 20C threshold in both locations over a number of days.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, freshwater fish species such as salmon and trout can suffer ‘thermal stress’ arising from the impact of adverse warm weather.

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI said: “Salmon need cold and clean water to survive and thrive. Low water volumes and high water temperatures can lead to fish kills, as there is less oxygen in the water to allow them to breathe.

“We must now implement our cessation of angling protocols at the Moy and Galway fisheries to protect salmon. It will take some time before water conditions at both locations will revert to normal for the month of June. We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis before reopening the facilities.”

Both the Moy and Galway fisheries are owned by the State and operated by IFI.

Other State-owned fisheries are being monitored currently. These will be closed if and when they meet an appropriate threshold where cessation of angling must be enforced.

IFI is mandated, as a national conservation agency, to protect the welfare of fish.

Anyone who encounters distressed fish, fish kills, illegal fishing or pollution can contact our confidential 24/7 number on 0818 34 74 24 or email us at [email protected].

Anglers with bookings on the Moy Fishery in the coming days can contact 096 21332 or [email protected] for more information. Those with bookings on the Galway Fishery can contact 091 562388, or email [email protected].

Details of the reopening of both fisheries will be published via IFI’s website fisheriesireland.ie and on its social media channels.

Published in Angling
Page 5 of 45

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.

©Afloat 2020