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Displaying items by tag: SeaFisheries Protection Authority

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has issued a warning to the public not to gather shellfish for personal consumption in the Castlemaine harbour area of Co Kerry, due to the presence of two marine toxin groups.

The toxin groups, Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PST) and Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins (DST), can cause serious illness if contaminated shellfish is consumed either raw or cooked, the SFPA said.

It confirmed the toxins were detected during routine testing as part of Ireland’s shellfish monitoring programme, which is managed by the SFPA with the Marine Institute.

“ As a result of the detection, the Castlemaine production area is now closed for the harvesting of shellfish until further notice,” it said.

“Ireland has a robust and effective shellfish monitoring programme in place to ensure that the highest standards of health and safety are maintained at all times, for the benefit of consumers and to maintain Ireland’s reputation as a world-class producer,” SFPA executive chair Paschal Hayes said.

“This monitoring programme has now detected the presence of two serious toxins in the Castlemaine harbour area, and we are strongly advising members of the public not to gather shellfish for personal consumption in this area,” he said.

“We are also reminding the public to only purchase seafood, whether for personal consumption or for sale, through reputable suppliers,” he said.

“ Food businesses, including restaurants and retail outlets, should always look for the oval approval number on orders which confirms the supplier is approved to sell live bivalve molluscs,” he said.

Bivalve molluscs, such as oysters, mussels, clams, and cockles may occasionally accumulate these naturally occurring toxins which are produced by certain species of phytoplankton, the SFPA explained.

“These naturally occurring toxins do not harm the shellfish but can cause illness in humans when contaminated shellfish are subsequently consumed,” it said.

“Under seafood safety regulations, live bivalve molluscs can only be harvested from production areas which meet the classification requirements for human consumption,” it said, and these are classified by the SFPA according to the quality of the waters.

The SFPA also conducts a monthly shellfish sampling programme of all classified production areas to monitor the levels of microbiological contamination.

Shellfish production areas are sampled on a weekly basis for analysis by the Marine Institute to determine their biotoxin status to ensure any shellfish species which are harvested is safe for human consumption

Mr Hayes said that anyone with concerns regarding fishing activity that might be illegal or contrary to seafood safety regulations should contact the regulator directly via its confidential telephone line at 1800 76 76 76.

All testing results are available on the the Marine Institute’s website here

Published in Fishing

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) says that a Spanish-registered fishing vessel was "operating within the waters of Bantry Bay and therefore within Ireland's 12-nautical mile limit" during what Irish fishermen in the South West claim was an attempted ramming incident.

The incident was filmed by the crew of the Irish trawler.

The Irish skipper can be heard on VHF radio telling the Spanish boat to 'stay away from us.'

The CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick Murphy, called SFPA Chair Susan Steele and asked for immediate action.

Fishermen also called for the Navy to protect Irish fishing boats.

The CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick MurphyThe CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick Murphy

"The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority are aware of a situation that arose when a Spanish registered vessel was encountered by an Irish-registered vessel operating within the waters of Bantry Bay and therefore within the IRL 12-nautical mile limit. The situation continues to be closely monitored by the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre at the Naval Base, Haulbowline," the SFPA said in a statement.

The incident happened on Friday morning, two days after fishermen staged a demonstration in Cork protesting at the dominant quotas held by non-Irish EU vessels in Irish waters.

"This was an attempt to force Irish boats off our own fishing grounds. It is intimidation. Our authorities must take action against this vessel acting extremely dangerously at sea and endangering life," the Chief Executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers' Organisation, Patrick Murphy, said. "It is appalling. This was a threat to life at sea, so action must be taken against the vessel which tried to do the ramming. The Spanish boat should be arrested and stopped from fishing in Irish waters."

Published in SFPA

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) was established on the 1st of January 2007. The remit of the Authority includes promotion, detection and enforcement of sea-fisheries and seafood safety legislation, regulations, notices and statutory instruments, to protect and conserve fisheries resources for sustainable long-term use.

The Members of the Sea Fisheries Authority have full managerial responsibility for the SFPA organisation and for ensuring delivery of its statutory responsibilities. The Members of the Authority also have a key role in the development of the organisation.

The successful candidate will:

  • Have a proven track record as a strategic leader and a senior manager;
  • Have in depth knowledge and/or experience of working in or with an enforcement or regulatory function;
  • Have proven leadership ability together with the knowledge and experience required to provide leadership within the Authority and the capacity and aptitude to contribute actively as a member of the top management team in providing corporate leadership to the organisation.

Closing Date: 3 pm, Thursday 10th of September 2020

For more information and how to apply, visit here

We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and encourage applications under all nine grounds of the Employment Equality Act.

Published in News Update
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has announced that Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain will share resources – patrol vessels and personnel, in a continuing effort to monitor trans-boundary fisheries. This further development of international co-operation on fisheries control for 2011 involves one Member State providing an inspection vessel with inspectors from the various other Member States onboard. This allows the inspection vessel to operate across each Member State's European Economic Zone boundaries.

This year Ireland will provide the Naval Vessel LE Aoife which will act as a platform for inspectors from Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain to engage in fisheries control. This patrol will take place in May and will operate in the European Economic Zone's of Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain.

Historically the control of trans-boundary fishing was a problem as fishing vessels could cross from one jurisdiction to another to avoid inspection. The problem was initially very prevalent in the North Sea and the first proposals for trans-boundary co-operation within the EU were developed there.

The European Commission has formalised the protocols through the introduction of legislation. Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain have worked very closely on this protocol. Ireland has shared boundaries for fisheries control with these other Member States.

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA said: "The SFPA's authorisation of this latest fisheries patrol is aligned with our goal of promoting a level playing field across EU waters. I welcome this initiative which I believe will benefit all fishermen who operate in compliance with the law. As fisheries are a common resource it is vital that all operators from all EU fleets respect the rules. We must rebuild our fish stocks by implementing conservation measures and tackling illegal fishing by fleets in our waters which is a major cause of the decline in our fish stocks and quotas. This initiative will provide an opportunity to stop the cycle of decline which in turn will support the development of a sustainable profitable future for our industry. We will continue to work with the Competent Authorities of other Member States to promote a uniform standard of fisheries control."

Published in Fishing
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has today (Friday, 11th February 2011) announced the official launch of a partnership with National Learning Network (NLN) at an event in the Radisson Hotel, Dublin. The partnership will see six National Learning Network students accessing work placement programmes at SFPA offices nationwide over the next 12 months.

National Learning Network is the training and employment division of the Rehab Group and many of those participating in the programme would have previously found it difficult to access employment due to accident, illness or disability.The partnership programme, which is already in operation in a number of SFPA offices throughout the country, has enabled National Learning Network students to gain valuable work experience and to avail of a wide range of external training opportunities with the SFPA.
Welcoming the official launch of the partnership, Marie Kelly, Director of Training and Employment Services, Rehab Group, says: "At a time when the economy is in recession, it's very exciting that an organisation such as the SFPA places such an importance on providing opportunities for people who may otherwise find it difficult to secure experience in the workplace.

National Learning Network provides ongoing support to all our students on employer-based training programmes. However, what sets the SFPA apart from many other employers is its commitment to providing structured training in a supportive working environment. Staff members within the organisation take time to mentor the students and to assess their needs, providing training opportunities for the students in areas where their skills could be further developed.
"The partnership between SFPA and National Learning Network is a wonderful model for the provision of training opportunities and work placements for those at a disadvantage in the labour market. It is our hope that other organisations, particularly state-sponsored bodies, will see the success of this partnership and introduce similar work placement programmes."

Sandra Ní Artaigh, Human Resources Director at the SFPA stated that: "From a Human Resources perspective, we have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to not only develop our own personnel through the mentorship aspect of the partnership, but also to make a valuable contribution to our local communities. Our partnership with NLN is significant from a number of perspectives. The programme affords all candidates training placements in mainstream integrated settings. Each individual placement is then subsequently strengthened with high level support that is provided over a period of time. This, in turn, facilitates individual development from a personal, professional and occupational level. It is because of this level of support and the long-term nature of the placement, that each person is developed even further and supported to re-enter the workplace. It is our pleasure to be associated with NLN and to be part of this innovative programme."

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA, welcomed the partnership stating: "Our hope into the future is to develop a solid and mutually beneficial partnership between the SFPA and National Learning Network. The initiative has been received exceptionally well with a number of staff volunteering to be advocates and mentors for both the programme and people working with us on the NLN placements."

Published in Fishing

With a view to enhancing existing fisheries control and monitoring arrangements between Ireland and Norway, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries have signed a bi-lateral agreement on the 11th of August 2010. The fisheries control authorities of Ireland and Norway agree there are significant benefits for both sides in sharing relevant information and in enhancing co-operation in areas of mutual interest. The agreement signed makes provision for the routine exchange of information on landings by Norwegian fishing vessels into Ireland and by Irish fishing vessels into Norway. In addition, there is provision for the exchange of fisheries information on inspections and of information on cases where the fishing vessel of one party is found to be in breach of the regulations of the inspection services of the other party.

The Irish and Norwegian authorities share the view that the practice of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) represents a major problem not only for the control authorities but also for the majority of fishermen making their living fishing legitimately. The enhanced co-operation between Ireland and Norway can go some way to addressing the illegal fishing and trade in fish and fishery products. IUU fishing is an extensive international business - many IUU fishing vessels operate in international waters. All the illegally caught fish and fish products are ultimately landed into ports and in this context the parties recognise that every effort must be made to enhance the existing framework for monitoring, control and surveillance to prevent and eliminate IUU fishing and associated activities.

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA said: "Annually, about 50,000 tonnes of fish are landed by Norwegian fishing vessels into Ireland. Trends observed in landings show a decrease in the number and volume of landings into Norway by Irish fishing vessels and an increase in the number and volume of landings by Norwegian fishing vessels into Ireland. This reflects the recent development of added-value for human consumption blue whiting products by Irish fish processors."

Published in Fishing

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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