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On Sunday afternoon (15 January) Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were requested to launch and assist the National Ambulance Service and Cobh Fire Brigade to extract a casualty at Cobh.

It emerged that a young man had fallen on cliffs east of the pilot station at Cobh in Cork Harbour and suffered a serious leg injury.

NAS paramedics and fire service personnel were able to access and treat the casualty, but were unable to extract the patient.

Shortly after pagers sounded at 3.35pm, the inshore lifeboat was beached at the cliff base and its volunteers took on board the stretchered patient along with two paramedics for continuation of care.

They were subsequently transferred to Kennedy Quay, where the fire service assisted in extracting the casualty to the awaiting ambulance.

Commenting later, Crosshaven RNLU hailed the “good inter-agency cooperation by NAS, fire service and the pilot launch.”

The lifeboat crew on this callout were Ian Venner, Alan Venner, James Fegan and Caoimhe Foster. Launch crew were Kline Penefather, Conor Barry, Jeff Lacerda, Jennifer Grey, Jonny Bermingham and Kevin McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Cobh People’s Regatta, with Cove Sailing Club, is on this weekend with events ashore and afloat.

Sailing races begin with the young sailors of the Optimist fleet on Friday morning, starting at 10 a.m. The cruisers will race that evening at 7 p.m. for the Titanic Trophy. Both are open events as is the Dinghy Racing on Saturday, starting at 2.30 p.m.

The famous Rankin dinghies will race for the ‘Rankin Brothers’ Cup on Saturday. “We expect a great fleet with fifteen boats entered and we hope to have a race mark in by the Promenade in Cobh to increase spectator enjoyment,” Maurice Kidney, one of those who led the revival of the fleet, tells me. First gun for this fleet will be at 3 p.m.

On Sunday, there will be cruiser racing, starting at 1.30 p.m., an open event for all clubs.

Ashore there is a wide variety of events planned.

Published in Cove Sailing Club

The coastal town of Cobh on Great Island, Cork Harbour, is after years of waiting, to see plans finally drawn up to build a €100m new road to the town and to replace the only road bridge into the area in order to provide security of movement.

Plans are also being advanced to complete the northern relief road in Midleton and work will get underway next month on the construction of the western relief road in Carrigaline.

The coastal town of Cobh on Great Island in Cork HarbourThe coastal town of Cobh on Great Island in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

The population of Cobh (see ship story) and Great Island is more than 13,000 people, and can only be accessed via Belvelly Bridge, which has been subject to closure in the past due to tidal flooding and fallen trees. (See, other Afloat story on the redevelopment of nearby Marino Point)

 Belvelly BridgeCobh's Belvelly Bridge Photo: Bob Bateman

Today, two ferries the “Glenbrook” and the “Carrigaloe” service the River Lee connecting the communities on both sides of the harbour between Cobh and Cork. The ferries can carry 200 passengers and 27 cars. The crossing from Glenbrook to Carrigaloe takes 5 minutesCross river ferries -  two ferries the “Glenbrook” and the “Carrigaloe” service the River Lee connecting the communities on both sides of the harbour between Cobh and Cork. The ferries can carry 200 passengers and 27 cars. The crossing from Glenbrook to Carrigaloe takes 5 minutes Photo: Bob Bateman

Pádraig Barrett, the county council's director of roads, said a tender for a design brief for the upgrading of the R624 into Cobh will be advertised shortly and it is expected the plans will be completed within the next two years.

It is envisaged that the project will be broken up into sections, but the bridge replacement will be given priority.

Cobh could not be accessed by road until the bridge was constructed in 1803.

For further details, Irish Examiner reports on the plans.

Published in Coastal Notes

A second cruise ship terminal the Port of Cork hopes to be operational in Cobh by the end of the decade which will see up to 150 such ships visiting the town every year.

In the interim it's planned to move cruise liners out of Ringaskiddy, due to increased shipping demands there, and berth the larger ships at the existing terminal in Cobh and smaller ones at a new terminal which will be developed at Marino Point (see related story).

A number of businesses are interested in moving into the former Irish Fertilisers Industries (IFI) site at Marino Point and it's expected the harbourside facility will be full and operational by 2023.

Gouldings have already applied for planning permission to move their fertiliser facility from Centre Park Road in Cork city down to Marino Point, and according to Port of Cork chairman John Mullins, another large agri-related business is “in very advance discussions” with the joint venture company, Belvelly Marino Development Company (BMDC), set up by the port authority to develop the site.

More from the Irish Examiner here

Afloat adds that in recent years there has been an increased use of the former IFI jetty at Marino Point, where vessels have berthed, among them tankers, ferries (lay-overs) and visiting naval ships. 

Published in Cruise Liners

While other clubs have found it a big enough challenge simply resuming sailing in a regulation-compliant way, the 101-year-old Cove Sailing Club in Cork Harbour has also been bringing its new marina on stream, and in addition to resuming club sailing, it staged the first open event of the delayed 2020 season, the Squib Southerns, on July 25th-26th. It has been a superb team effort, but all teams need effective leadership, and CSC Commodore Kieran Dorgan has been providing it in a family tradition - his father Barry was in the same role, while on the water Kieran himself is no stranger to the front of the fleet with his First 36.7 Altair.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Colm McDonagh has shared images of further progress on Cove Saling Club’s new marina pontoons in time for the opening up of sailing activity from tomorrow, Monday 8 June.

Coronavirus restrictions delayed the original expected completion date in April, but the berthing pontoons are now well into assembly before connection to the gangway that was installed earlier this year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Cork Harbour club has also been working on upgrades to its dinghy park facilities including a new meeting room, office and kitchen at Whitepoint in Cobh.

It’s expected the club will shortly provide an update on summer sailing events and courses upon the latest relaxing of restrictions — which allow members within the same county or 20km to visit, and for bigger groups to sail while observing social distancing.

Published in Irish Marinas
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The visiting French Naval Frigate Latouche-Tréville was alongside in Cork Harbour at the weekend moored at the Cruise Liner berth in Cobh.

As Afloat previously reported, the frigate and her crew of 244 were in the south coast port in aid of the 'Denim Day 4 Dementia' which took place at the Naval Service base on Haulbowline Island.

The ship is one trio of F70 A SM type anti-submarine destroyers, which the French Navy instead classify as a frigate. 

French Naval Frigate Latouche-TrévilleFrench Naval Frigate Latouche-Tréville alongside in Cobh Photo: Bob Bateman

Equipped with Excocet surface to air missiles, the frigate commissioned in 1990 has a helideck and hanger that can handle two Lynx helicopters.

In the summer of 2009, she was filmed in stormy seas as part of the documentary Oceans. See vid below.

Published in Naval Visits

With the competitive season now finished on the South Coast, attention turns to club activities ashore which will include annual general meetings and reviews of how the past season went and prospects for the year ahead.

Without a doubt the dominant part of 2020 will be the Tricentenary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, but across Cork Harbour from that club at Crosshaven there is good news from Cobh, where the Royal Cork was once based before amalgamating with the Royal Munster and moving to Crosshaven.

The RCYC History notes: “By the 1960s changing economic and social patterns made Cobh less and less attractive as a base for the club. In 1966 the Royal Cork and the Royal Munster Yacht Clubs agreed to merge and the Royal Cork moved to its present premises in Crosshaven assuming the title The Royal Cork Yacht Club, incorporating the Royal Munster Yacht Club.”

Last year there were some difficult club movements in Cobh when a new club was formed - the Great Island Sailing Club. That was stated by its proponents to ensure the continuance of sailing at Cobh and that followed difficulties which arose in Cove Sailing Club as it attempted to build a marina at Whitepoint.

New Marina under construction

This year Cove Sailing Club reached and celebrated its centenary and signed the contract for a 30-berth marina at Whitepoint. That has been under construction across the river at Ringaskiddy, with completion and installation targeted for “well in advance of the 2020 season,” according to the club, whose Commodore, Kieran Dorgan, said it will provide “state-of-the-art facilities all-year-round and will accommodate both locals and visitors.”

The two clubs, Great Island and Cove have been discussing joining together again, according to my information and agreement has been reached so that a formal announcement is expected. Despite differences, close contact was maintained between the clubs, “in the best interests of sailing.” Johanna Murphy, who became Commodore of Great Island, also became the first lady elected Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Association where she has led a number of developments to bring clubs closer together.

SCORA is finalising an extensive programme for 2020 which, as well as racing, will include events to develop the social side of the sport, following the success of the Cobh-Blackrock Race, one of the highlights of the season on Leeside.

Dragons at Kinsale

Amongst the positive news from club reviews is that the Dragon Class at Kinsale Yacht Club had “a fantastic sailing season” according to its annual report, with the addition of two more boats to the fleet - TBD – James Matthews, Dave Good and Fergal O’Hanlon is one and the other is Scarlet Ribbons – Thomas O’Brien, Donal Small and Conor Hemlock. This brings the KYC club fleet to 7 and “there is talk of additional numbers joining the fleet next year,” according to the Class Committee.

The project is being completed with the support of Cork County Council, a Sports Capital programme grant, Port of Cork and SECAD. The selected contractor, Orsta Marina Systems Nederland BV, specialises in the design, supply and installation of floating breakwaters and pontoons for berthing of leisure and commercial vessels.

Listen to the Podcast here discussing the growth of interest in sailing.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Cruise Critic awards the highest-rated cruise destinations in 18 cruise regions across the globe in its annual Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards 2019

Cruise Critic, the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, has announced the winners of its fourth annual Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, naming the world’s most popular cruise destinations – as well as the best cruise lines to visit each region – based entirely on consumer ratings submitted with reviews on Cruise Critic.

Cobh was recognised as one of the best cruise destinations in the world, winning in the Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination category.

Cove Sailing42Cobh from the sea Photo: Bob Bateman

According to one quote - ‘I just went walking around the town and felt like I was at home there. I ate brunch at a local coffee shop and late afternoon lunch at a small local restaurant. I really enjoyed wandering around and feeling welcomed and happy.’ - Cruise Critic Member GEMarshall

Destinations awarded in this year’s awards received the highest ratings among cruisers who cruised to the destination in the past year and shared their experiences on Cruise Critic.

OrianaCruise liner Oriana arrives into Cork Harbour this week Photo: Bob Bateman

Brendan Keating, Chief Executive of the Port of Cork said: ‘We are blown away that Cobh has secured this top position as a cruise destination. This award is not only testament to the effort by the Port to promote the region but also to the local tourism bodies, businesses and attractions in Cobh who work hard to promote and develop their town.’

“For most travellers, the decision of where to cruise is made before they think about all the other pieces of the cruise planning process,” explains Colleen McDaniel, Editor-in-Chief of Cruise Critic. “And for those looking for incredible cruise destinations, there’s no better way to narrow your options than by seeing which destinations are rated most highly by cruisers who have already been there, done that.”

Cruise Critic boasts the world’s largest online cruise community, with more than 50 million opinions, reviews & photos, covering approximately 700 cruise ships and over 500 worldwide ports.

Published in Cork Harbour
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Summertime and the living is easy in Cork Harbour. Despite the postponement of Sunday's Cove at Home Regatta due to the lack of access to landing pontoon at The Quays in Cobh, a combined fleet of nine sailing cruisers coming from RCYC and Cobh (Cove sailing Club and Great Island Sailing Club) and Monkstown Bay Sailing Club for a league race on Saturday as part of  'MBSC at Home' under Race Officer Tom MacSweeney, writes Bob Bateman.

In a lovely summer's afternoon for sailing, the cruiser fleet mixed with an assortment of dinghies.

Cruiser sailors included Ria Lyden sailing an X332, Sean Hanley in a  Hunter. Ian Scandrett was sailing the Sigma 38 (with George Radley on board). Eddie English's Holy Grounder and a Hawk 20 also took part. 

Photo gallery below

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Published in Cork Harbour
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Aquaculture Information

Aquaculture is the farming of animals in the water and has been practised for centuries, with the monks farming fish in the middle ages. More recently the technology has progressed and the aquaculture sector is now producing in the region of 50 thousand tonnes annually and provides a valuable food product as well as much needed employment in many rural areas of Ireland.

A typical fish farm involves keeping fish in pens in the water column, caring for them and supplying them with food so they grow to market size. Or for shellfish, containing them in a specialised unit and allowing them to feed on natural plants and materials in the water column until they reach harvestable size. While farming fish has a lower carbon and water footprint to those of land animals, and a very efficient food fed to weight gain ratio compared to beef, pork or chicken, farming does require protein food sources and produces organic waste which is released into the surrounding waters. Finding sustainable food sources, and reducing the environmental impacts are key challenges facing the sector as it continues to grow.

Salmon is the most popular fish bought by Irish families. In Ireland, most of our salmon is farmed, and along with mussels and oysters, are the main farmed species in the country.

Aquaculture in Ireland

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties.
  • Irish SMEs and families grow salmon, oysters, mussels and other seafood
  • The sector is worth €150m at the farm gate – 80% in export earnings.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming
  • Aquaculture is a strong, sustainable and popular strategic asset for development and job creation (Foodwise 2025, National Strategic Plan, Seafood
  • Operational Programme 2020, FAO, European Commission, European Investment Bank, Harvesting Our Ocean Wealth, Silicon Republic, CEDRA)
    Ireland has led the world in organically certified farmed fish for over 30 years
  • Fish farm workers include people who have spent over two decades in the business to school-leavers intent on becoming third-generation farmers on their family sites.

Irish Aquaculture FAQs

Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants, and involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions- in contrast to commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats. Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, mariculture, algaculture (such as seaweed farming), and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, both of which integrate fish farming and plant farming.

About 580 aquatic species are currently farmed all over the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which says it is "practised by both some of the poorest farmers in developing countries and by multinational companies".

Increasing global demand for protein through seafood is driving increasing demand for aquaculture, particularly given the pressures on certain commercially caught wild stocks of fish. The FAO says that "eating fish is part of the cultural tradition of many people and in terms of health benefits, it has an excellent nutritional profile, and "is a good source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and essential micronutrients".

Aquaculture now accounts for 50 per cent of the world's fish consumed for food, and is the fastest-growing good sector.

China provides over 60 per cent of the world's farmed fish. In Europe, Norway and Scotland are leading producers of finfish, principally farmed salmon.

For farmed salmon, the feed conversion ratio, which is the measurement of how much feed it takes to produce the protein, is 1.1, as in one pound of feed producing one pound of protein, compared to rates of between 2.2 and 10 for beef, pork and chicken. However, scientists have also pointed out that certain farmed fish and shrimp requiring higher levels of protein and calories in feed compared to chickens, pigs, and cattle.

Tilapia farming which originated in the Middle East and Africa has now become the most profitable business in most countries. Tilapia has become the second most popular seafood after crab, due to which its farming is flourishing. It has entered the list of best selling species like shrimp and salmon.

There are 278 aquaculture production units in Ireland, according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) *, producing 38,000 tonnes of finfish and shellfish in 2019 and with a total value of €172 million

There are currently almost 2,000 people directly employed in Irish aquaculture in the Republic, according to BIM.

BIM figures for 2019 recorded farmed salmon at almost 12,000 tonnes, valued at €110 million; rock oysters reached 10,300 tonnes at a value of €44 million; rope mussels at 10,600 tonnes were valued at €7 million; seabed cultured mussels at 4,600 tonnes were valued at €7 million; "other" finfish reached 600 tonnes, valued at €2 million and "other" shellfish reached 300 tonnes, valued at €2 million

Irish aquaculture products are exported to Europe, US and Asia, with salmon exported to France, Germany, Belgium and the US. Oysters are exported to France, with developing sales to markets in Hong Kong and China. France is Ireland's largest export for mussels, while there have been increased sales in the domestic and British markets.

The value of the Irish farmed finfish sector fell by five per cent in volume and seven per cent in value in 2019, mainly due to a fall on salmon production, but this was partially offset by a seven per cent increased in farmed shellfish to a value of 60 million euro. Delays in issuing State licenses have hampered further growth of the sector, according to industry representatives.

Fish and shellfish farmers must be licensed, and must comply with regulations and inspections conducted by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and the Marine Institute. Food labelling is a function of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. There is a long backlog of license approvals in the finfish sector, while the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine says it is working to reduce the backlog in the shellfish sector.

The department says it is working through the backlog, but notes that an application for a marine finfish aquaculture licence must be accompanied by either an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). As of October 2020, over two-thirds of applications on hand had an EIS outstanding, it said.

The EU requires member states to have marine spatial plans by 2021, and Ireland has assigned responsibility to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF). Legislation has been drawn up to underpin this, and to provide a "one stop shop" for marine planning, ranging from fish farms to offshore energy – as in Marine Planning and Development Management Bill. However, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine confirmed last year that it intends to retain responsibility for aquaculture and sea-fisheries related development – meaning fish and shellfish farmers won't be able to avail of the "one stop shop" for marine planning.

Fish and shellfish health is a challenge, with naturally occurring blooms, jellyfish and the risk of disease. There are also issues with a perception that the sector causes environmental problems.

The industry has been on a steep learning curve, particularly in finfish farming, since it was hailed as a new future for Irish coastal communities from the 1970s – with the State's Electricity Supply Board being an early pioneer, and tobacco company Carrolls also becoming involved for a time. Nutrient build up, which occurs when there is a high density of fish in one area, waste production and its impact on depleting oxygen in water, creating algal blooms and "dead zones", and farmers' use of antibiotics to prevent disease have all been concerns, and anglers have also been worried about the impact of escaped farmed salmon on wild fish populations. Sea lice from salmon farmers were also blamed for declines in sea trout and wild salmon in Irish estuaries and rivers.

BIM says over 95% of all salmon farmed in Ireland are certified organic. Organically grown salmon are only fed a diet of sustainable organic feed. They are also raised in more spacious pens than traditional farmed salmon. The need to site locations for fish farms further out to sea, using more robust cages for weather, has been recognised by regulatory agencies. There is a move towards land-based aquaculture in Norway to reduce impact on local ecosystems. The industry says that antibiotic use is declining, and it says that "safe and effective vaccinations have since been developed for farmed fish and are now widely used". Many countries are now adopting a more sustainable approach to removing sea lice from salmon, using feeder fish such as wrasse and lumpsucker fish. Ireland's first lumpsucker hatchery was opened in 2015.

BIM says over 95% of all salmon farmed in Ireland are certified organic. Organically grown salmon are only fed a diet of sustainable organic feed. They are also raised in more spacious pens than traditional farmed salmon. The need to site locations for fish farms further out to sea, using more robust cages for weather, has been recognised by regulatory agencies. There is a move towards land-based aquaculture in Norway to reduce impact on local ecosystems. The industry says that antibiotic use is declining, and it says that "safe and effective vaccinations have since been developed for farmed fish and are now widely used". Many countries are now adopting a more sustainable approach to removing sea lice from salmon, using feeder fish such as wrasse and lumpsucker fish. Ireland's first lumpsucker hatchery was opened in 2015.

Yes, as it is considered to have better potential for controlling environmental impacts, but it is expensive. As of October 2020, the department was handling over 20 land-based aquaculture applications.

The Irish Farmers' Association has represented fish and shellfish farmers for many years, with its chief executive Richie Flynn, who died in 2018, tirelessly championing the sector. His successor, Teresa Morrissey, is an equally forceful advocate, having worked previously in the Marine Institute in providing regulatory advice on fish health matters, scientific research on emerging aquatic diseases and management of the National Reference Laboratory for crustacean diseases.

BIM provides training in the national vocational certificate in aquaculture at its National Fisheries College, Castletownbere, Co Cork. It also trains divers to work in the industry. The Institute of Technology Carlow has also developed a higher diploma in aqua business at its campus in Wexford, in collaboration with BIM and IFA Aquaculture, the representative association for fish and shellfish farming.

© Afloat 2020

At A Glance - Irish Aquaculture

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties
  • Salmon is the most popular fish bought by Irish families. 
  • In Ireland, most of our salmon is farmed, and along with mussels and oysters, are the main farmed species in the country.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming

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