The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) has issued a new advisory over the risk of vessels becoming entangled in ropes used in pot fishing.
Marine Notice No 10 of 2019 supersedes No 26 of 2016 and reminds all vessel owners, agents, shipmasters, skippers, fishers, yachtsmen, seafarers and those engaged in pot fishing about the risks of vessels’ propellers becoming entangled in ropes of marker buoys used to indicate the position of pots used for fishing lobster, crab, or other fish or shellfish.
This can occur because the length of rope used to fix marker buoys is too long, resulting in the line floating on or just below the surface.
The use of too long a line of rope can result in a situation where even vessels that have taken a wide berth around marker buoys could have their propellers fouled by the rope.
In addition, the DTTAS reminds those engaged in pot fishing not to use unsuitable ‘floats’ (eg empty drink cans, plastic bottles, dark-coloured floats, etc) which offer poor visibility and/or could be mistaken for floating debris.
Fishers who carry out pot fishing (whether commercially or non-commercially) are reminded of their obligation to other users of the sea.
Furthermore, non-commercial pot fishers are reminded of the regulations made by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine covering such activity (SI No 31 of 2016 Non-Commercial Pot Fishing (Lobster and Crab) Regulations 2016), which inter alia limits the numbers of pots permitted per boat to a maximum of six, and such pot fishing to the months of May to September.
Any mariners who spot any marker buoys/ropes (or any other object) in the water, which is deemed to represent a danger to navigation, should communicate information on same to other vessels in the area and to the Irish Coast Guard or to the local competent authority so that a hazard warning can be issued if appropriate, and any required follow-up action can be taken.
A guide for fishers and other users entitled ‘Good Practice Guide to Pots and Marker Buoys’ is included in the annex of Marine Notice No 10 of 2019, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.