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Lack of sufficient planning and lack of adequate emergency communication were factors in an incident where two of three men on a sea angling trip lost their lives off the Donegal coast over two years ago.

“Restrictive” procedures with the Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) also meant the men on board the vessel were in the water for five hours before the alarm was raised, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report has found.

Two drafts of the MCIB report were circulated as part of a comprehensive investigation into the deaths of Gerry 'Malin' Doherty, who was in his sixties, and Thomas Weir (16) off Portronan, north Donegal, on July 17th, 2018.

A third man who is in his late 40s, survived after he clung onto a buoy for five hours before being spotted and brought to safety. He was the only one of the three wearing a personal flotation device.

The three had set out on a 5.9m (19 ft) glass-reinforced plastic craft from Port Ronan pier around 9 am that morning, and fished for over an hour. They were unable to restart the engine, and a wave washed over the hull and capsized it.

The report finds that seven factors contributed to the severity of the incident including the fact that the boat was anchored from the stern, making it more susceptible to being swamped in “any type of sea”.

The MCIB report notes that a crew member tried to make an emergency call on a British mobile phone, but as the call was being put through the phone fell into the water. There was no VHF radio onboard.

The emergency call was received by the ECAS centre but the report says that “restrictive procedures” were “not sufficiently flexible for a situation which required the ECAS operators to be more proactive in transferring all the information available to the Coast Guard”.

“Because the information in the recording of the emergency call was not transferred shortly after 10:16 hrs. the casualties were in the water for five hours,”the report says, and “this increased the severity of the incident”.

Marine communications are very different from land-based communications and the ECAS system is a land-based emergency call answering system with limitations for use at sea.

The MCIB report says that a mobile phone should not be relied on as the primary method of contacting emergency services and says that VHF radio as the primary means of contacting emergency services should be used by all boat owners in all instances, including in competitive sailing events.

The MCIB says that since the incident, the Irish Coast Guard has protocols in place for handling emergency calls and ECAS has also “updated policies.

However, it says that the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport should consider whether the Irish Coast Guard and ECAS “should have these policies, their implementation internally, and their coordination with each other, suitably reviewed and or audited”.

The MCIB report is here

Published in Angling
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Alex Easton, MLA has called on the Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEARA) Minister to create Marine Protections Areas in Belfast Lough.

Belfast Lough is a long, wide, and deep expanse of water, virtually free of strong tides lying between County Antrim and County Down. The inner part of the Lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons, and the outer Lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays. The outer boundary of the Lough is a line joining Orlock Point on the County Down side and Blackhead on the County Antrim coast, giving about 30 square miles (78 km2) of open water.

The Northern Ireland Federation of Sea Anglers brings together all the sea angling people of Northern Ireland whether fishing shore or boat. Members recently met at Bangor Marina with DEARA Minister Edwin Poots, South East MP Paul Girvan and MLAs Alex Easton and Gordon Dunne. The meeting gave NIFSA the chance to highlight the federation's concerns, amongst which was the reintroduction of the Thornback Rays into Belfast and Larne Loughs, the setting of artificial reefs and the creation of Marine Protection Areas within the Lough.

Minister Edwin Poots (left) meets anglers Harry McKee (Secretary of NIFSA) and Barry Platt (right)Minister Edwin Poots (left) meets anglers Harry McKee (Secretary of NIFSA) and Barry Platt (right) Photo: NIFSA

Mr Easton has said "It is quite clear that commercial fishing in Belfast Lough over many years has decimated many types of fish and wildlife within the Lough. Having spoken to anglers, they no longer catch many of the different species they once did due to overfishing by commercial fishing."

He continued, "A clear example of this is the Thornback Ray which was once abundant in the Lough and is now extinct due to commercial fishing. I would love to be able to see these Rays reintroduced to Belfast Lough, but to do this we would need a survey done of the Marine life, the creation of artificial reefs to support and grow fish numbers and the creation of Marine protection areas around Belfast Lough that cannot be fished by commercial fishing".

Alex Easton intends to write to the Agriculture and Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, about these matters. He continued. "I believe we have time to fix and protect Belfast Lough in a way that we can reintroduce wildlife such as the Thornback Ray, which can be bred at our own Exploris Aquarium Visitor Centre in Portaferry and reintroduced to Belfast Lough. We can ensure that the area is sustained for anglers to fish, which ensuring we grow and protect our Lough but is done sustainably."

Published in Fishing
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Wild Atlantic salmon are returning in “record” numbers to rivers along the Atlantic seaboard, according to fishery managers.

As The Sunday Times reports, Inland Fisheries Ireland regional director Francis O’Donnell says this year’s season appears to have “bucked the trend”.

Mr O’Donnell, who has responsibility for the western river basin district, said there were high numbers of healthy fish on Galway’s Corrib system, Mayo’s River Moy and Ballisodare in Sligo

IFI is deploying extra patrols to detect poaching, and inspecting premises ashore, he said. Fish are believed to be fetching between 50 euro and 90 euro per salmon.

Michael Mahnke - With a morning's catch from Mount Falcon river Moy July 2020Michael Mahnke - With a morning's catch from Mount Falcon river Moy in July 2020

However, scientific expert Dr Ken Whelan, director of the Atlantic Salmon Trust, urges caution on the numbers.

Commercial driftnet fishing for wild salmon in Ireland was banned in 2007, and license holders were offered a small compensation package by the then government.

“It’s not just the numbers returning this year, but the size and good condition of the fish,” Alan Maloney, owner of the Mount Falcon Hotel in Co Mayo, said.

The hotel has a two-mile stretch of the River Moy, and anglers caught 290 fish in July, he said.

Dr Whelan said that he was aware of the reports, but cautioned that “one good salmon season” does not necessarily suggest a positive trend.

David Morris playing his first ever fly caught salmon Mount Falcon River Moy July 2020David Morris playing his first-ever fly caught salmon Mount Falcon River Moy in July 2020

“We will really only know what is happening after scientists from Norway, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland meet in the autumn,” he said.

Read more on The Sunday Times report here

Published in Angling
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For the second weekend running in August, anglers on the south shore of Dublin Bay have been taking a bountiful supply of mackerel on feathers, especially on the southern tip of the Bay at Dalkey Island where shoals of sprat on which the mackerel feed are plentiful.

Anglers are positioning themselves on the backs of both Dun Laoghaire Harbours East and West piers and also at Dalkey on the rocky outcrops at Coliemore Harbour, Bulloch Harbour and Killiney Bay.

There is also a fleet of small sea angling boats out on the Bay, primarily all using feather rigs and enjoying great catches.

A good catch of Mackerel on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatA good catch of Mackerel from Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Inland Fisheries Ireland has updated its advice regarding angling to reflect the latest Government and NPHET advice. 

As and from May 6th anglers may fish in a location less than or equal to 5 km from home. Further guidance is available here 

Open Fisheries

IFI owned/managed state fisheries are open with the exception of the Galway and Moy fisheries.

ESB fisheries are now also open.

The status of private and club run fisheries is a matter for the fishery manager/committee.

Inland Fisheries Irelands will continue to monitor the situation and make further updates as appropriate in line the Government's Roadmap for reopening society and business.

Updated guidelines where travel to fish is permitted

  • Fishing is permitted within 5km of your home
  • Maintain social distancing at all times, especially at car parks, access points and launch sites.
  • Anglers* should not share transport e.g. car/van when travelling to fish.
  • Limit contact with other anglers and providers.
  • Permit/licence sales online where possible
  • Max. 2 persons* in small boat for inland/inshore fishing
  • Angling businesses may only open once classified as an essential service and should only operate if they can provide online/contactless services.
  • Charter fishing or guided fishing may only operate where skippers/guides can guarantee compliance with social distancing measures.
  • Recommend no competition fishing
  • Facilities where anglers could gather to remain closed – lunch huts, etc.
  • Where such facilities at 10 above are essential fishery should remain closed.
  • Recommend anglers/guides/skippers to carry hand sanitiser and to use it after touching surfaces such as gates, stiles, pier railings, ladders, etc.

* Assumed to be individuals from different households.

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This week International Women’s Day is demanding a lot of attention worldwide. In the shipping industry, a campaign has been launched in the UK to achieve ‘gender balance in the industry’. Here in Ireland, sailing ladies have their WOW group – I like that description – for Women on the Water.

This week the State agency for inland waters, estuaries and angling has launched a campaign to introduce women to angling.

Angling is described as the biggest participant sport in Ireland and that includes the marine sector, my Podcast guest this week is Myles Kelly from Inland Fisheries Ireland. It has just launched its WTF project – ‘Women Try Fishing’ programme.

This will involve more than twenty events to give women the opportunity to try fishing. Renowned angler and one of the world’s leading fly casting instructors, Glenda Powell of Blackwater Salmon Fishery in County Cork will give training at various venues around the country between April and September of this year.

So, on my Podcast below Myles Kelly outlines why and how women are going to be given this exclusive opportunity – exclusive from men of course!

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Sea anglers can now play a key role in the conservation and management of marine fish stocks. A new survey programme; The Irish Marine Recreational Sea Angling Survey (IMREC), will see Inland Fisheries Ireland gather information regarding recreational catches of fish along the coast and at sea. Data collected from the survey will improve the management of stocks and support conservation efforts thereby contributing to increasing the availability of fish to sea anglers in the future.

Following new legislation from the European Commission which requires EU member states to collect and report data on recreational catches, Inland Fisheries Ireland has established this new programme which will give a clear picture of how fishing activities relate to stock levels. The sea angling survey will provide data which will inform knowledge around trends in stock levels and the sustainability of key species. 

A sea angling diary app is currently in the development stage. The app will allow anglers to share and compare catch data with fellow participants. There will also be monthly prizes for active participants.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Sea angling is an important activity in Ireland with social, recreational and economic benefits for coastal communities. There are approximately 126,000 anglers participating in the sea angling fishery in Ireland and we are now hoping they will help us establish how often people go fishing, what they catch and what they release.

This information will tell us how sea angling contributes to the economy in Ireland and how we can best manage the marine fisheries resource for all. If we have strong evidence and verifiable data around fish stocks then we can make informed management decisions, rather than having to take a worst-case view which is often what happens where there are large uncertainties in terms of data.” 

For more information about the survey programme, visit here where you can read a full FAQ guide and if you are interested in partaking in the programme you can register to be put on the mailing list.

Published in Angling
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Two men have recently appeared in court on charges relating to illegal net fishing for salmon on the lower River Nore. On Tuesday, 18th of February Mr Brian Murphy and Mr Martin Barron appeared in front of judge Geraldine Carthy at Kilkenny District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation on the River Nore which occurred on the 15th of July 2019.

Fisheries Officer John Cullen outlined the facts of the case to the court and how officers used a mobile scout camera (cctv) to capture video and still images of both men using a net and a cot (small wooden boat) to illegally catch eight wild salmon. The place in which the incident occurred is a remote area on the tidal section of the River Nore, approximately eight kilometres downstream of Inistioge, Co Kilkenny.

Judge Carthy commented on how she considered the significant nature of the offence but also took into account the good character references for both defendants and the fact that they have no previous convictions. Judge Carthy imposed fines and costs totalling €1500 to each of the two men.

David Mc Inerney, Director of the South Eastern River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Our fisheries officers patrol the waterways in overt and covert operations day and night with the aim of protecting and conserving our precious salmon stocks and valuable fisheries resource using a range of technologies. This conviction highlights that illegal salmon fishing will not be tolerated and is a serious environmental crime.

The River Nore has been closed to the harvesting of salmon since 2014 and the river is only open on a catch and release basis for salmon angling since 2014. There has been a significant decline in salmon stocks in recent years and the River Nore is significantly below its conservation limit, which indicates that every effort needs to be made to conserve this fishery. ”

Published in Angling
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The first catch and release salmon of 2020 has been caught on the River Drowes in Co. Leitrim according to Inland Fisheries Ireland. Nash Mc Daid, of Ballybofey, Donegal landed the first catch and release salmon at the “point of the meadow” on the River Drowes at 2.45pm, Friday the 14th of February. The salmon, which weighed approximately 12 pounds, was caught on a Red Flying C before being released into the water. 

In 2019, the first salmon was recorded on the Lackagh River in Donegal on the 1st of January and in 2018, the first salmon was recorded on the River Drowes in Leitrim on the 30th of January. This year the first salmon caught was in Waterville in Kerry on January 25th. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland awarded €250 prize money to the angler for the first catch and release salmon of the New Year. The prize was only eligible for the release of the first salmon which was handled correctly and verified by Fisheries Officers.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “I would like to congratulate Nash Mc Daid, on the first catch and release salmon of 2020. I would urge anglers to step up their conservation efforts and engage in catch & release angling in 2020. Last year we celebrated the International Year of the Salmon and its main aim was to raise awareness of the many challenges facing salmon stocks across the Northern hemisphere. 

Salmon populations have plummeted in recent years with the number of salmon returning to Irish shores decreasing by over 70 per cent, which is very concerning. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all anglers in 2020 to ensure their own personal contribution to the conservation of salmon by practising catch and release fishing. Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue to support salmon conservation through research, protection, habitat conservation and development of our precious resource.” 

The River Drowes is open for fishing during the 2020 season. The regulations for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery for 2020 including the list of open, catch and release and closed rivers can be found at: https://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Salmon-Regulations/salmon-regulations.html#tab2.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is also inviting the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource during the year by reporting incidents to its confidential hotline number 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Angling
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O’Sullivan’s Marine will be displaying some of the “best value” angling kayaks in Ireland at this year’s Ireland Angling Expo in the National Show Centre, Swords, Dublin on 15th & 16th February 2020.

ANGLING & RECREATIONAL KAYAKS TO SUIT ALL LEVELS AND BUDGETS

RECREATIONAL: on display

conger KayakThe Conger kayak

CONGER
The Conger is a compact single sit-on-top fishing kayak that is stable, light and easy to handle. Four internal fishing rod holders, a large storage area at the rear and 2 waterproof round hatches with bag inserts to secure your gear. The Conger kayak is a well-featured starter kayak at a very reasonable price.

Rodster KayakThe Rodster kayak

RODSTER
The Rodster is a neat compact fishing kayak that tracks beautifully through the water due to its sleek bow design and is extremely stable due to the 84cm wide hull. Equipped with a comfortable aluminium-frame raised seat and plenty of storage areas for your catch and equipment. 4 internal flush-mounted rod holders and deep fishing pod console in the centre. Hands-free rudder system available as an optional extra.

Dace pro 8 767pxThe Dace Pro

PROFESSIONAL ANGLING KAYAKS:

Professional angling kayaks on display include The Dace Pro 10’, 12’ and 14’ as well as the Big Dace Pro 13’. Packed to the gills with fishing features, and everything needed for a comfortable and productive outing for professional fishermen and women.

These kayaks are extremely well-featured and offer the perfect combination of stability, speed, manoeuvrability and straight-line tracking.

big dace pro angler 13 4Big Dace Pro Angler 13

TANDEM AND 1 + 1 KAYAKS

For those who want to share the fun, O’Sullivan’s Marine also offer the GLIDE 1 + 1, which has room to bring a small passenger in front of the paddler, along with the OCEANUS (2.5 p) and the CASTOR DOUBLE KAYAK - boasting a huge load carrying capacity of 300kg and extra-wide seating area, perfect for a fishing trip for two! 

TARPON PROPEL

Tarpon 7Tarpon 7

The Tarpon Propel is equipped with a performance-engineered pedal drive system for hands-free fishing, accessory gear tracks, adjustable seat, hand-controlled rudder and 2 flush mount rod holders. Coming in at 10.5’ long and 33 inches wide this fishing machine is ready for anything!

Come and see these and more at O’Sullivan’s Marine Ireland Fishing Expo stand!

Published in O'Sullivan's Marine
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About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020. 

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