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Displaying items by tag: RNLI 200

The 200th anniversary of the RNLI was celebrated in Portaferry on Sunday (26 May) with a cross-community service of thanksgiving held in St Patrick’s Community Centre.

The service hosted by Portaferry RNLI was greatly supported by both the local community and those who had travelled from further afield, and included contributions from religious representatives from Portaferry and the surrounding areas of Northern Ireland’s Ards Peninsula.

The audience was entertained by local sea shanty group the Selkies as well as a solo by Father Martin O’Hagan who was accompanied by Zara Quinn.

Speakers and dignitaries on the stage at St Patrick’s Community Centre to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lissa McCullySpeakers and dignitaries on the stage at St Patrick’s Community Centre to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lissa McCully

Among the attendees were the Lord Lieutenant of County Down, Gawn Rowan Hamilton; Mayor Jennifer Gilmour; Jim Shannon MP; Portaferry RNLI operations president John Murray; president of Portaferry RNLI’s fundraising branch Eveleigh Brownlow MBE; and Ards Peninsula Council members.

All at Portaferry RNLI said they wish to express their sincere gratitude to everyone who contributed to or joined them to mark such a important milestone in their charity’s history.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers from Irish lifeboat stations including Dun Laoghaire, Arklow and Union Hall were among the 2,500 guests at a special garden party at Buckingham Palace last Thursday (23 May) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

HRH The Princess Royal, accompanied by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and RNLI President HRH The Duke of Kent hosted the event that was attended by lifeboat crew, lifeguards, water safety volunteers and fundraisers from across Great Britain and Ireland, including recent recipients of meritorious service awards and The King’s Birthday and New Year Honours.

Representing Dun Laoghaire RNLI were helm Nathan Burke, station mechanic and coxswain Kieran ‘Colley’ O’Connell and helm Gary Hayes.

Representing Union Hall RNLI at Buckingham Palace last Thursday were volunteers Mary Rose Deasy and Mary Jacinta Casey, flanked by Martin Deasy and Sean Thompson | Credit: Mary Rose DeasyRepresenting Union Hall RNLI at Buckingham Palace last Thursday were volunteers Mary Rose Deasy and Mary Jacinta Casey, flanked by Martin Deasy and Sean Thompson | Credit: Mary Rose Deasy

Fundraising volunteers Mary Rose Deasy and Mary Jacinta Casey attended on behalf of Union Hall RNLI in West Cork, while Arklow RNLI was represented by John and Liz Bermingham, Jimmy and Majella Myler, Austin Gaffney and Helena Dennehy; and Trevor and Kelly Ann Conroy.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a presentation by The Princess Royal of a Silver Medal for Gallantry to Penlee RNLI coxswain Patrick ‘Patch’ Harvey for his pivotal role in saving eight French sailors during a hurricane on 31 October 2022.

Head of volunteering at the RNLI, Donna McReath said: “I would like to thank each and every one of our incredible volunteers.

Among those attending the garden party from Ireland were John and Liz Bermingham, Jimmy and Majella Myler, Austin Gaffney and Helena Dennehy, and Trevor and Kelly Ann Conroy from Arklow RNLIAmong those attending the garden party from Ireland were John and Liz Bermingham, Jimmy and Majella Myler, Austin Gaffney and Helena Dennehy, and Trevor and Kelly Ann Conroy from Arklow RNLI

“We couldn’t do what we do without their vital support and the time and effort they generously dedicate in a wide variety of roles, from lifesaving crew to fundraisers and those who volunteer in our shops, museums or by sharing our water safety messaging.

“They are all lifesavers, and this special garden party is a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate the joy and impact of volunteering for the RNLI. We are always looking for new volunteers to join our charity to help us continue saving lives at sea.”

Since the RNLI was founded on 4 March 1824, following an appeal to the nation from Sir William Hillary, the charity has saved more than 146,277 lives — this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

Today, the RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around Ireland and the UK, and has seasonal lifeguards on around 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The National Opera House in Wexford is set to host a once-in-a-lifetime event, RNLI 200: A Celebration of Volunteers, Their Families and the Community on Thursday 23 May.

This special commemorative event marks the 200-year legacy of the RNLI and pays tribute to the brave volunteers who crew the boats, their families who make sacrifices and the communities that support them.

RNLI 200 promises to be an unforgettable journey through history, showcasing the courage and dedication of RNLI volunteers.

The one-night-only spectacular will feature a diverse range of performances, including song, dance, spoken word and video presentations.

Audiences will be treated to stories ranging from the foundation of the RNLI to epic rescues carried out by lifeboat crews along the South-East of Ireland, namely Courtown, Wexford, Rosslare Harbour, Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI.

Local talents such as George Lawlor, Tony Carthy, Chris Currid, The Craic Pots, Wexford School of Ballet and Performing Arts and Dara Pierce Ballet Academy will grace the stage alongside nationally recognised artists like pipe player Mark Redmond and tenor Glenn Murphy.

Under the baton of composer Liam Bates, the evening promises to be a symphony of emotion and celebration. Adding to the star-studded line-up, Celtic Thunder’s Ryan Kelly, Celtic Woman star Chloe Agnew and, fresh from their sellout performance at the National Concert Hall, The Sea of Change Choir will make a special guest appearance, with more surprise guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Produced by Wexford-based Seanchai Productions Ltd, known for their events such as Wexford Virtual St Patrick's Day and The Green Light Sessions in 2021, RNLI 200 is set to captivate audiences with its blend of entertainment and heartfelt tribute.

RNLI 200 organisers say the event would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors PTSB, the EPA, Kent Stainless and The Talbot Collection.

Proceeds from the event will go to the RNLI. Tickets are priced at €30 each and are available from www.nationaloperahouse.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As the RNLI prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary on 4 March, the charity has brought some of its rich history to life with the release of a stunning collection of colourised images.

From community events to candid snapshots, 11 black-and-white images have been painstakingly cleaned and colourised with folds, scratches and dust removed using digital technology to shine new light on 200 years of saving lives at sea.

The striking images from across Ireland and the UK include courageous lifeboat crews, early fundraising street collections and iconic scenes of close-knit communities coming together to launch and recover lifeboats.

Part of the new collection is a photograph taken of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, his wife and their son William at an annual meeting in 1936.

Full-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLIFull-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLI

In that same year, the Daunt Rock Lightship came adrift off Ballycotton in horrendous conditions with 12 people onboard. The lifeboat crew spent 49 hours at sea and eventually rescued all those onboard.

Patrick Sliney was awarded the RNLI Gold Medal for Gallantry and the rest of his crew, including his son William, received Bronze Medals.

Also featured in the collection is the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, Henry Blogg, who was born on 6 February 1876. Blogg served for 53 years on Cromer’s lifeboats in Norfolk, England before retiring in 1947, having saved 873 lives and been awarded many honours including three Gold and four Silver RNLI Medals for Gallantry.

The image of Henry, which first appeared in the Lifeboat Journal in 1916, shows him wearing black oilskins and a sou’wester, which preceded the instantly recognisable yellow waterproofs now associated with the RNLI.

Before and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLIBefore and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLI

RNLI heritage and archive research manager Hayley Whiting said: “The carefully coloured images illustrate just a few highlights of the incredible history of lifesaving over the previous two centuries, where over 144,000 lives have been saved to date.

“To see the crew of St Davids lifeboat walking up from the boathouse wearing their traditional red hats, the yellow sou’westers of the children fundraising or the vibrant blue sea off the Isle of Man, the reworked images really do bring a different perspective on some of our archived pictures.

“Each image has been brought to life by our own in-house creative team with hours spent on attention to detail, along with research being undertaken to ensure each one gave a true, lifelike representation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As one of the youngest members of the RNLI family, Lough Ree RNLI and its volunteer crew are already looking forward to a special year in 2024 when the charity celebrates its 200th birthday.

With the theme of ‘Commemorate, Celebrate, inspire’, a full calendar of activities is planned throughout the year in Ireland and the UK.

On 4 March 2024, the actual birthday, a number of large public events are planned including a Thanksgiving Service at Westminster Cathedral. On 1 August 2024 ‘One Moment, One Crew’ will see volunteers gather at 18.24 to mark the year and the importance of every volunteer to the charity.

Many local events will also take place including a ‘Connecting Communities’ initiative which will see a commemorative scroll travel to RNLI facilities and be signed on behalf of the crew by one of the volunteers. Lough Ree RNLI expects to welcome the scroll in late summer 2024.

In preparation for the celebrations, Lough Ree’s volunteer crew are ready to welcome the public to the lifeboat station at Coosan Point in the next few weeks.

The lifeboat station at Coosan will host a pop-up shop on Saturdays 18 and 25 November | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuireThe lifeboat station at Coosan will host a pop-up shop on Saturdays 18 and 25 November | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuire

On the next two Saturdays, 18 and 25 November, the charity will host a pop-up shop at the lifeboat station. This will be the first opportunity for supporters and patrons of the charity to locally acquire specially designed merchandise marking RNLI 200.

The shop will also carry the full range of RNLI Christmas cards along with many new products and a wide selection of stocking fillers.

The RNLI shop at the lifeboat station at Coosan Point will be open from 12.30 to 3pm on 18 and 25 November and will have the facility to take card payments.

Next month, on 16 December the volunteer crew at Lough Ree RNLI will host a special Open Day at the lifeboat station with a ‘family festive’ theme. Activities planned include face painting, a kids’ DJ and a visit from Santa in the afternoon.

Lough Ree station visits officer Paul Kelly said: “We have had a very special year welcoming visitors to our new facility. Among the most enthusiastic are our younger supporters and we look forward to seeing them again on one of these days at lifeboat station.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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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