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The Minister for the Marine will definitely "seek to address the imbalance in the quota transfers under the Trade & Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and United Kingdom."

So says Fianna Fail's MEP, Billy Kelleher, in a statement from Brussels saying he had received this confirmation from Minister Charlie McConalogue.

"It may also be necessary for the Minister to seek a separate mechanism, independent of the CFP review, to deal with the issue of burden-sharing due to opposition from some Member States. A separate, but important point is also the need for the fishing communities in Ireland to receive substantial financial support as part of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. Ireland will receive well over €1 billion; some of this money must be used to support our fishing industry. While Ireland has 22% of EU seas, we only have 3% of total catch. As an island nation, it needs to be reflected by the EU authorities," said MEP Kelleher.

However, the Chief Executive of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation, Sean O'Donoghue, while welcoming a €10m EU aid deal for the Irish fleet, which had been recommended by the Task Force set up by the Minister says the aid has limitations.

He outlined why to Tom MacSweeney on the Maritime Ireland radio show. Listen in below: 

Published in Fishing

New research led by the University of Oxford says that successful conservation policies for marine mammals have increased the potential for conflict with small scale fishing communities.

The study published in the journal Conservation Letters says that management has to strike a balance, and the international community “needs to incorporate the needs and opinions of fishers in the global dialogue”.

This should include “considering if protecting human welfare could involve reducing protection for marine mammals”, the research states.

The paper drew on the experience of fisheries on the west coast of South America to highlight what the researchers describe as a “worldwide issue”.

“Globally, conflict between recovering seal and sea lion populations and fishing communities has been escalating,” the authors state.

They note that in South America, specifically Peru and Chile, marine mammals have been protected since the mid-20th century.

“ Conservation policies have mostly been successful and over the last thirty years marine mammal populations - specifically those of sea lions and seals - have recovered,” they state.

“ However, this recovery means that there’s a much higher likelihood that these animals will come into conflict with local fishers,” they say.

The study found that nearly nine out of ten fishers have a negative impression of sea lions, and they estimate that on average sea lions reduce their catch and income by over 50%.

“Whilst it’s illegal for sea lions and seals to be killed, this is happening regularly with over 70% of fishers admitting that sea lions are being killed to defend catches,”the study says.

It says that “fishers’ overwhelming concern is that sea lion populations are now too large”.

“To manage this conflict, there’s a need to balance the competing objectives of wildlife conservation with protection for local communities,”the researchers state.

“ There’s still concern about sea lion and seal populations because of how recently they’ve recovered, but small-scale fisheries are struggling, and fishers are often earning less than the minimum wage,”they note.

“If the global community is committed to a post-2020 deal for nature and people where improvements to people's wellbeing and nature conservation are both fulfilled - the elusive ‘win-win’ - then governments and scientists must engage with these “messy” local conflicts that repeat across the globe but resist high-level simplification,”lead author Professor Katrina Davis, noted.

The study says that sea lions and seals eat the same fish targeted by fisheries, and it is not uncommon for fishers to catch fish that have already been “nibbled” by the marine mammals.

This is a similar situation in Ireland with competition between seals and inshore vessels.

Marine mammals can also be accidentally caught in fishing nets.

“A tricky balance must be met between ensuring the future viability of marine mammal populations and ensuring that the livelihoods of small-scale fishers are protected. Fishers perceive that they are suffering large catch and income losses because of sea lions—and it’s these perceptions that we have to manage when we’re developing policy solutions,” Prof Davis says.

The researchers say the plan to investigate the impact of culls, and whether this would be viable without harming population levels, and whether it would curb aggression towards marine mammals.

The full paper can be read here

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has announced the launch of a Brexit Temporary Fishing Fleet Tie-up Scheme.

The scheme will help mitigate the impacts of quota cuts on the fishing fleet arising from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement agreed in December between the European Union and the UK. The scheme delivers on a recommendation of the Seafood Sector Task Force in its June 2021 Interim Report. The scheme is targeted at whitefish vessels in the Polyvalent and Beam Trawl segments.

The Minister said: “Arising from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the UK, Ireland is set to lose 26,412 tonnes of quota per year on a phased basis up to 2026, valued at around €43 million. These quota cuts affect many of our most valuable fish stocks and significantly impact our fishing fleet incomes in 2021. The Task Force I established in March has carefully considered this issue and recommended in its June 2021 Interim Report that a temporary fleet tie-up scheme should be implemented for the whitefish fleet to make best use of the reduced quota available in 2021 and to ensure continuity of supply throughout the remainder of this year”.

Brexit Temporary Fishing Fleet Tie-up SchemeBrexit Temporary Fishing Fleet Tie-up Scheme

The Minister went on to say: “The scheme I am launching today will invite vessels in the polyvalent and beam trawl segments to tie-up for a one-month period during October to December 2021. These vessels would tie-up at the quayside and cease all fishing activity for that month. In return, the vessel owner would receive a payment compensating for the lost fishing income. The vessel owners will in turn be required to distribute one third of that payment to crew. The following payment rates will apply”.

Published in Fishing
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The EU has approved a 10 million euro scheme to support the Irish fishery sector affected by Brexit and the consequent reduction in quota shares.

The 10 million euro funding under State aid rules is separate to the 5 billion euro Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding for EU states affected by Brexit. 

The European Commission says the support will be “available to companies that commit to temporarily cease their fishing activities for a month”.

“The aim of the scheme is to save part of the Irish reduced fishing quota for other vessels, while the beneficiaries temporarily suspend their activities,”the Commmission says.

“The compensation will be granted as a non-refundable grant, calculated on the basis of gross earnings averaged for the fleet size, excluding the cost of fuel and food for the crew of the vessel,” it says.

Each eligible company will be entitled to the support for up to a month between September 1st and December 31st this year.

Under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), member states can support the development of certain economic activities or regions, under certain conditions.T

This support will ensure the “sustainability of the fishery sector and its ability to adapt to new fishing and market opportunities arising from the new relationship with the UK”, the Commission says.

It says it will also facilitate the “objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy to ensure that fishing and aquaculture activities are environmentally sustainable in the long term”.

The approval of 10 million euros under State aid rules “does not prejudge whether the support measure will eventually be eligible for BAR funding, which will be assessed once the BAR Regulation has entered into force”, the Commission says.

“However, it already provides Ireland with legal certainty that the Commission considers the support measure to be compliant with EU State aid rules, irrespective of the ultimate source of funding,”it says.

The separate 5 billion euro BAR funding for a number of affected coastal states will be allocated later this year, drawing on three main factors - the value of fish caught in the UK exclusive economic zone; the importance of trade with the UK; and the population of maritime border regions with the UK.

The EU has said that overall some €600 million will be allocated on the basis of the factor linked to fishing, €4.150 billion based on trade, and €250 million under the factor linked to maritime border regions.

Following on from the EU approval.of State aid, Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue announced a temporary tie-up scheme for the fishing industry on Friday evening

Published in Fishing
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A Spanish registered fishing vessel has been detained by the Naval Service within Irish waters. 

The detention by the LÉ William Butler Yeats was in relation to "alleged breaches of fishing regulations", the Defence Forces press office said.

It did not give the position of the detention, other than stating it was "within the Irish exclusive economic zone". It said it would be escorted to port and handed over to the Garda.

This is the seventh vessel detained to date this year by the Naval Service, which conducts inspections at sea in line with a service level agreement with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

Earlier, this month a French registered fishing vessel was detained by the Naval Service off Mizen Head.

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Irish MEP Sean Kelly has called on the government to “rethink” its refusal to assist an Arklow fishing family after it lost substantial funds over a vessel bought abroad which proved to be dangerously unstable.

As the Times Ireland reports, the MEP for Ireland South said the case was a “one-off” and should be dealt with quickly and sympathetically by the Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

Skipper CJ Gaffney (49) of a well known Arklow fishing family - with five generations of service with the RNLI lifeboat – incurred substantial losses over the purchase of the vessel which had been certified as safe by German authorities.

The beam trawler Mary Kate was bought in the Netherlands in 2007, with the Gaffneys borrowing 620,000 euro for the purchase.

The vessel was registered under the German flag, and was certified by Germanischer Lloyd Classification Society.

However, when CJ Gaffney began fishing the vessel in January 2008, he noticed that it was significantly more unstable than his previous older boat.

Tests showed 20 tonnes of unaccounted steel were in the vessel, and the family opted to lengthen it to make it safer.

The family also initiated legal action against several German companies and the German Marine Safety Authority, but jurisdiction could not be established.

Ireland’s Marine Survey Office (MSO) would not allow the boat fish due to the dangerous stability issue, but issued a stability certificate in 2009 when it had been modified.

However, the Gaffneys had run out of money to buy an additional license.

The Gaffney family were left with a loan of almost 2 million euro after the banks sold the vessel in a fire sale. CJ Gaffney is currently working as a pilot in Dublin Port.

Research by the Gaffney’s legal representatives and naval architect established that other vessels of similar design were built for European waters and could have safety issues.

The European Commission, which gave the family a hearing over the issue back in 2011, says it is outside its remit, but indicated to the Gaffneys that Irish authorities could draw on EU funds to assist them.

Kelly said that he had been in touch with the European Commission, and it was “very sympathetic” and had “made it clear” it would like to see the Gaffney family being assisted financially.

Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore has also called on the two ministers to resolve the issue on humanitarian grounds.

“C J Gaffney did everything he could , and he has prevented people from drowning,”Ms Whitmore said.

The Department of Transport said that the Marine Survey Office (MSO) “has been very proactive on this issue”.

The German ship safety division, the vessel designers and McConalogue’s department declined to comment.

Read The Times here

Published in Fishing
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Applications are being sought for a business diploma with a “salty air taste” run by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and the Institute of Technology (IT) Carlow.

The closing date is September 3rd for prospective participants in BIM’s higher diploma in business in fisheries and aquaculture.

The course, now in its fifth year, is designed for those interested in management, financial, research and development or regulatory roles in fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing and related fields.

It may also appeal to those looking to start an aquaculture or fisheries business company or expand an existing company into new markets, BIM and IT Carlow IT.

As Dick Bates - from a well known Kilmore Quay fishing family - explains, the course is the only one in Ireland of its type at third level dealing with fisheries and aquaculture.

It is “more accessible than ever now all over the coast and the offshore islands, due to continuing online delivery”, Bates says.

“My dad was a fisherman from Kilmore Quay, who through circumstances of the time could not progress beyond primary education,” he says.

“I am immensely proud to be involved with the higher diploma in a voluntary capacity in my retirement. I think he would approve,” Bates says.

“I really believe in the transformative powers of education and believe that the way that the fisheries sector has been ignored by the third level institutions in Ireland for so long is not right. I also believe that training is no substitute for education,” Bates adds.

Entry requirements are NFQ Level 7 or level 8 Award or equivalent in a related discipline or relevant industry experience.

Organisers say consideration will also be given to applicants who do not hold level 7 QQI academic qualifications but who have extensive industry experience.

Currently, all modules are being taught remotely due to Covid -19 restrictions on Fridays and Saturdays every second week.

Funding for the course fee and subsistence costs may be available through here

Published in Aquaculture
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The Marine Minister and Donegal T.D., Charlie McConalogue, visited Killybegs for a day of engagements with the fishing industry on Friday 23rd July.

The Minister started the day visiting the Harbour Centre and met the Harbour Master, lead officials on works to the harbour and the SFPA. In May the Minister announced almost €9m in funding for work to Killybegs Harbour including €6.5m for phase two of the Smooth Point Pier Inspection which he visited on his tour of Killybegs.

Throughout the day the Minister met with the IFPEA, the KFO and inshore fishers including NIFA and NIFO representatives and boarded a vessel and visited a processing factory.

Commenting on the visit, Minister McConalogue noted: "I had a constructive day of meetings with fishers and fisher representatives throughout my visit to Killybegs. It was great to also take an opportunity to view the ongoing infrastructure projects to the harbour and to see progress on these projects."

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The Minister for Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has undertaken a series of visits to some of Ireland’s main fishing ports. The Minister has met with fishers, processors fishing organisations and other stakeholders, as he visited Howth, Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East and Killybegs earlier this month. The visits will continue with a trip to Union Hall and Castletownbere later this week, with further visits to fishing ports planned.

In Howth, the Minister visited the Harbour Centre and met the Harbour Master and lead officials on works to the harbour. In May the Minister announced €8.3m in funding for work to Howth and he visited ongoing infrastructure work. The Minister met with fishers on the Pier to discuss fishing matters and the group included fishing representatives from ISEPO, FLAGs NIFF and NIFA & NIFO. He also met with local businesses including Kish Fish and processors including OceanPath.

In Kilmore Quay, the Minister visited the Harbour Centre and met the Harbour Master and lead officials on works to the harbour. In May the Minister announced over €200k in funding for work to Kilmore Quay. The Minister also met with fishers on the Pier, with the group including fishing representatives from ISEPO, NIFF and NIFA & NIFO.

In Dunmore East, the Minister visited the Harbour Centre and met the Harbour Master and lead officials on works to the harbour. In May the Minister announced over € 2.4 m in funding for work at Dunmore East. The Minister also met with fishers on the Pier, with the group including fishing representatives on the Pier to discuss fishing matters and the group included fishing representatives from ISEPO, NIFF and NIFA & NIFO.

In Killybegs, The Minister visited the Harbour Centre and met the Harbour Master, lead officials on works to the harbour and officials from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. In May the Minister announced almost €9m in funding for work to Killybegs Harbour including €6.5m for phase two of the Smooth Point Pier Inspection which he visited on his tour of Killybegs. The Minister also met with the IFPEA, the KFO and inshore fishers including NIFA and NIFO representatives and boarded a vessel and visited a processing factory.

Commenting on the visits, Minister McConalogue said: "I have had constructive meetings with fishers and fisher representatives during my visits and I thank everyone for meeting me and for discussing important matters to their community. It was great to also take an opportunity to view the ongoing infrastructure projects at all four harbours and to see progress on these projects."

Published in Fishing

Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue has rejected a plea for help from an Irish skipper who bought a beam trawler in the Netherlands which proved to be dangerously unstable.

As The Sunday Independent reports, skipper CJ Gaffney (49) of a well known Arklow fishing family has incurred substantial losses over the purchase of the vessel which had been certified as safe by German authorities.

The Gaffney family have five generations of service with the RNLI lifeboat.

Research by Gaffney’s legal representatives and naval architect established that at least nine other vessels of similar design in Europe could have safety issues.

The European Commission, which gave the family a hearing over the issue back in 2011, says it is outside its remit as the vessel is under 24 metres in length and falls under member state legislation.

However, it had indicated to the Gaffneys that Irish authorities could draw on EU funds to assist them.

The beam trawler Mary Kate was bought in the Netherlands by CJ Gaffney of Arklow, Co Wicklow and his father in 2007, borrowing 620,000 euro for the purchase.

The vessel was registered under the German flag, and was certified by Germanischer Lloyd Classification Society.

When CJ Gaffney began fishing the vessel in January 2008, he noticed that it was significantly more unstable than his previous older boat and says that " on one or two occasions the boat almost turned over”.

Tests showed 20 tonnes of unaccounted steel were in the hull, and the family opted to lengthen it to make it safer.

The family initiated legal action against several German companies and the German Marine Safety Authority.

However, jurisdiction could not be established.

Ireland’s Marine Survey Office (MSO) would not allow the boat fish initially but issued a stability certificate in 2009 when it had been modified.

The Gaffneys had run out of money to buy an additional license at this stage.

A potential sale to Britain fell through as the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency would not allow it to be registered – in spite of Irish certification to show it was seaworthy.

“The banks subsequently sold the Mary Kate in a fire sale leaving the family with a massive loan of almost €2 million, which is still outstanding,” Gaffney says.

The case has been raised at EU level by a number of Irish MEPs and was referred to the European Parliament’s petitions committee.

It has been raised in the Dáil by Sinn Féin TD and fisheries spokesman Pádraig MacLochlainn and by Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Mr McConalogue has said it is a private commercial matter, and that safety is the responsibility of the Department of Transport.

Ms Whitmore, who attended an online meeting hosted by Mr McConalogue with the Gaffneys late this week (Fri July 16), said she was calling on the marine minister to work with Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan on the issue.

“C J Gaffney did everything he could, and he has been a whistleblower for safety,” Ms Whitmore said.

“There are obvious regulatory gaps at European level that need to be addressed.”

The German ship safety division, the vessel designers and Mr McConalogue declined to comment.

Published in Fishing
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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