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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

Volunteering for the RNLI is truly a family affair for lifeboat crews in Co Wexford.

While Robbie Connolly is looking forward to his first Christmas on call since becoming a helm at Wexford RNLI earlier this year, his father-in-law Eugene Kehoe — a seasoned coxswain at Kilmore Quay — will also be ready to answer the call if there is an emergency at sea.

As the lifesaving charity continues its Christmas Appeal, Robbie and Eugene will skip their dinner for the difficult seas of winter should their pagers sound.

And they are urging people across Wexford — home to five stations at Courtown, Wexford, Kilmore Quay, Rosslare Harbour and Fethard — to help their crews, and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

“I am 10 years on the lifeboat crew at Wexford RNLI,” says Robbie, who is an engineer by day. “I have always had a love for the sea but when I finished college and started working alongside crew members and a deputy launching authority, I was encouraged to join, and I am delighted to be involved.”

As a helm, Robbie is responsible for the inshore lifeboat and his fellow crew during the launch of the lifeboat and while at sea.

“I have had one callout as helm so far and it was to a yacht with three people onboard that had got into difficulty on a falling tide and ran aground as it was coming into Wexford Harbour.

“Where our station is located, there are shifting sands and the channel is changing regularly so time was of the essence and with the callout happening at night, there was the added challenge of working in the dark. But thankfully, we had a safe and successful outcome.

“There are a few differences in being a helm,” he adds, “you are more conscious of looking after your own crew as well as those you are going to rescue and the conditions at sea.

“However, what my helm’s training taught me was to have more confidence in my decision making and skills ability and I suppose in that sense it is about having self-belief and making your 10 years of training and experience become second nature when responding to a callout.”

Shane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLIShane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLI

Elsewhere, Aran Islands RNLI will have two new volunteer lifeboat crew on call, ready to drop everything and help launch the lifeboat to save those in trouble at sea.

Fisherman and father-of-five Georgie Gillan and NUIG student Shane Crawford are the most recent recruits to join the lifeboat.

Georgie says: “I’ve grown up around the sea and I’ve seen its power and its potential. I’m enjoying the training, and learning a different set of skills, all based around search and rescue and saving others.

“Being out on the lifeboat, you’re part of a team, the feeling of giving back is a great one. The standard of the kit and the training is so high and the support we get to do this job is amazing. I’m grateful to the people who support the work of the lifeboats and keep them at sea all year round.”

Meanwhile, Shane — a first year Arts student at NUIG Galway — knew from an early age that he would wear a lifeboat pager, as helping others is in his DNA.

His mother is the local community nurse and his father served with the local fire service for many years. Shane's older brother Colum is also a member of the Aran Islands RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew and is currently studying to become a paramedic.

Adding his support to the RNLI Christmas Appeal, Shane says: “It has been a dream for me to be on the lifeboat crew ever since I was very young. I feel very at home onboard the lifeboat even though I’m still new to it.

“The communication between the crew when we are out at sea is incredible and you can see the training and commitment of everyone involved. Every piece of kit has a purpose, and the RNLI are always looking to evolve and improve the equipment. It’s maintained to the highest standard and we are aware of the responsibility that comes with that.

“When the pagers goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Aran Islands RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather Severn class lifeboat yesterday (Wednesday, 8 December) to go to the aid of a fishing vessel in difficulty, during the aftermath of Storm Barra. The request to launch was made by the Irish Coast Guard at 1.14 pm and was to assist a French registered fishing vessel that had got into difficulty in poor weather off Inis Mór.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and immediately made their way to the scene. The French registered fishing vessel, 28.5 metres in length, was experiencing engine difficulty in challenging conditions with an eight-metre swell and a strong North-Westerly wind.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, a sister ship had taken up the tow of the casualty vessel as Afloat reported earlier here. Following consultation between the casualty vessel and the Irish Coast Guard a decision was made that they would be taken into Galway Harbour under tow. The Aran Islands lifeboat crew stayed with both vessels for the duration of the passage, until they were safely moored, an operation that took over eight hours. The lifeboat crew were met at the docks by lifeboat colleague, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Paul Clearly, who looked after the crew following the long callout.

Speaking after the callout Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: 'Conditions at sea were extremely challenging and the Coast Guard was right to request the lifeboat to stand by and ensure both vessels got to safety. Towing a vessel in these conditions is slow and difficult work and with the force of the waves, it could have easily parted. If that had happened, we were ready to step in and complete the tow. Thankfully both vessels made it to safety, with the lifeboat staying alongside for the entire journey.

‘The island-based volunteer lifeboat crew didn't hesitate to respond to the callout, in what turned out to be a long day for them in difficult conditions. Thankfully everyone came home safe and well.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Aran island of Inis Mór is moving closer to energy autonomy, with the installation of almost 240 solar panels on 20 buildings on the island.

The scheme is part of a European renewable energy project currently being implemented by Údarás na Gaeltachta and Comharchumann Forbartha Árann.

The EU Horizon 2020 programme is funding the four-year research project known as ReAct (Renewable Energy for self-sustAinable Island CommuniTies).

The State’s Gaeltacht development agency Údarás na Gaeltachta is a partner in association with Comharchumann Forbartha Árann, along with 23 other partners in 11 European countries.

The REACT project began in 2019 to research energy sustainability on offshore islands.

Inis Mór, Árainn is one of three pilot islands participating in the project along with San Pietro (Italy) and La Graciosa (Spain).

Phase two on Inis Mór has been completed, according to Údaras na Gaeltachta, which means that almost 240 solar panels have been installed on four public buildings, 13 dwellings and two commercial units.

“Using innovative renewable energy technology, it is hoped that this project will lower emissions and energy costs on this Gaeltacht island,” the Gaeltacht authority says.

“It is envisaged that when this pilot scheme is completed that Inis Mór will have the potential to prove that the Island could have energy autonomy not to mention the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” it says.

The technology installed recognises how each individual building uses energy by linking technology, weather forecasts and electricity tariffs, it says.

“The system stores energy in batteries and calculates the optimum time for efficient energy usage, taking the weather and electricity tariffs into consideration,” it says.

It pays tribute to the “pioneering work” of the island’s energy co-op Comharchumann Fuinnimh Árann and the main co-op, Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo.

Údarás na Gaeltachta is the chief project coordinator in Ireland and is working closely with Comharchumann Forbartha Árainn Teo, NUI Galway, ESBN, SEAI, Spain’s Orduna and Mitsubishi.

The ReAct project is being implemented as part of the strategic project An Ghaeltacht Ghlas (The Green Gaeltacht) which forms a core part of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025, it says.

“This project will demonstrate how renewable energy projects can address climate change, reduce energy costs using innovative technologies and find stable energy sources for small Gaeltacht communities,” Údarás na Gaeltachta’s chief executive officer Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh said.

He referred to the outcome of the recent COP 26 conference in Glasgow demonstrating “the need to act now, not later”.

Such a project could have environmental and economic benefits by linking renewable energy and storage systems with technologies to enable an integrated and digitalised smart grid which could benefit homes in Árainn and along the west coast, he said.

More information is on https://react2020.eu/

Published in Island News
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Aran Islands RNLI came to the aid of two fishermen yesterday evening after their vessel got into difficulty off Nags Head in county Clare.

The volunteer crew were asked by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat to assess the situation at 3.48pm (Monday 22 November).

A 30ft fishing vessel with two people on board was having engine difficulty off Nags Head.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115 from Shannon was also tasked and was on scene first, establishing no immediate danger to the vessel or its crew.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell with a full crew and headed straight for the vessel.

Conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and good visibility.

Once on scene, the crew checked that the fishermen aboard the vessel were safe and well before proceeding to establish a tow line between the lifeboat and the fishing vessel. The boat was then towed to the nearest safe port at Liscannor Harbour.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: ‘The volunteer crew didn't hesitate to answer the call and we were able to get the fishermen back to the harbour before night.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Aran Islands RNLI were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat last night, (Sunday 21 November) at 8.17 pm by the Irish Coast Guard.

A resident on the neighbouring Island of Inis Meáin was in need of further medical attention.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Meáin.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas, clear visibility, and a light northerly breeze.

Once at the pier, the crew brought the patient safely aboard following Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and transferred the casualty into the care of the waiting ambulance crew.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: ‘We want to wish the person we helped this evening a speedy recovery. There was a great response time from our volunteers tonight which meant we could get the patient on his way to receive the medical attention he needed quickly.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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An Aran islands energy co-operative has won an international award for its work on renewable fuels.

The Aran energy co-op has secured the National Association of Municipalities of the Minor Islands (ANCIM) prize for having the “best energy system that emphasises the vital role of resident communities in the formulation of local sustainable development plans”

Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árainn Teoranta (CFOAT), as the island co-op is known, set itself a ten-year target of making the Aran islands fossil-free.

Over the past eight years, it has been retrofitting 500 homes and other buildings on the three islands, with retrofits including external wall insulation, heat pumps for hot water and heating and solar PV on rooves.

The island energy co-op has been working with NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology on EU funded research projects, including creating a micro-grid and using smart technologies and exploring seawater and solar panel conversion to hydrogen fuel.

The islands have a number of electric vehicles, serving as both vans and people carriers, over 1,000 bicycles and 30 pony and traps available for hir.

The ANCIM award is part of the “Sun, Sea and Wind awards” linked to the EU’s “Salina Isola Pilot 2019” initiative for energy transition.

The EU programme supports energy transition in smaller islands by 2030.

The contest’s jury is made up of a number of mayors of Italian islands, including Giglio and Ventotene.

The island of Samso in Denmark won an award for the best sustainable energy system with a special focus on respect for the environment and landscape.

The Scottish offshore community of Canna and the island of Palawan in the Philippines also received recognition in the awards.

CFOAT Cathaoirleach or chairman Dara Ó Maoildhia said the Aran co-op was delighted to receive the award.

“It highlights how full community ownership of energy transition projects on islands is the best way forward,” he said.

“The resident community is strengthened and empowered, quality of life improves and the local economy grows,” Ó Maoildhia said.

“Jobs are created, and the islands become a more attractive place to live. We see all of this happening on Aran,” he added.

• Lorna Siggins recently interviewed Dara Ó Maoildhia for an Afloat podcast here

Published in Island News

The Aran Islands volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their All-Weather Severn Lifeboat at 2.48 pm, yesterday (Monday, August 30th). An 11.6 metre angling boat, with nine people aboard, was experiencing engine problems at the back of Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands, while out on an angling trip.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for the boat. Weather conditions at the time of launching were good, with a slight East North East breeze, calm seas and good visibility

Once on the scene, the Volunteer Lifeboat crew checked that all aboard were safe and sound, before establishing a tow line.

With the tow line safely secured, the lifeboat proceeded back towards Kilronan Harbour, where the angling boat was brought alongside the pontoon.

Speaking after the call out Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: 'thankfully the weather was calm and a quick response time from the volunteer crew, meant the angling boat and all aboard were brought safely ashore without delay.'

 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were called to two medical evacuations from Inis Oirr and Inis Mór yesterday (Sunday 22 August).

At 3.42 pm the crew were asked by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat to a medical evacuation of a young male on a day trip to Inis Oirr who had sustained an injury to his arm after a fall from a bicycle.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Tommy Dirrane and a full crew onboard and headed straight for Inis Oirr. Conditions at the time of launching was good with calm seas and good visibility.

With the lifeboat alongside the pier in Inis Oirr, the patient was brought safely aboard the lifeboat by the crew. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

The second call came at 7.46pm, when the crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to transport a patient from Inis Mór who was in need of further medical attention.

With the patient safety transferred aboard the lifeboat, the lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew.

Conditions at this time of launching were also good with calm seas, light winds, but a low dense fog which reduced visibility greatly.

Speaking after the call outs both Aran Island RNLI Coxswains commended the speedy reaction time from the volunteer crew members to launch the lifeboat: ‘Minutes can make all the difference and our crowd never let us down,’ said Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain Tommy Dirrane. ‘We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.

‘As we head into another fine weather spell, we would like to advise visitors to respect the water. If planning a trip to the beach or sea, never swim alone and always let someone know where you are going and when you are due back. Always carry a means of calling with you in a waterproof pouch or bag and always wear a lifejacket at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Two Italian brothers rescued after they were knocked into the sea in the Aran Islands have returned to meet the coastguard crew who saved them.

In February 2019, Giovanni and Ricardo Zanon were struck by an unexpected wave at Poll na bPéist on Inis Mór, falling 20 metres off the cliff into the cold Atlantic.

Despite sustaining serious injury — Ricardo Zanon broke his tibia and pelvis in the fall — the brothers survived to tell the tale thanks to the swift actions of the crew of the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Rescue 115’s winchman Philip Wrenn won a prestigious award earlier this year for his role in the rescue.

The Zanon brothers and their parents returned to Inis Mór today (Wednesday 11 August) for the first time since the incident to give thanks to Wrenn and the rest of the crew.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ricardo said of that fateful day: “I just remember a big, huge wave like a grey wall coming towards me and then it was completely dark and I thought I was going to die.”

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

Clusters of Covid-19 have resulted in medical evacuation of two young people from the largest Aran island of Inis Mór at the weekend.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, the HSE has confirmed an “increase in Covid infection activity” on Inis Mór.

The two medical evacuations took place in separate airlifts to University Hospital Galway. It is understood that both patients are in their early twenties.

The hospitality sector has been identified as the source of a number of clusters of Covid-19 on the island over the past fortnight, although the HSE said it could not comment on individual cases or outbreaks.

It is believed that the outbreaks occurred when the island’s vaccination programme was almost complete. A minority of cases were among fully vaccinated people, while several were among people who had received only their first dose of a vaccine.

The two smaller islands of Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr have remained clear of any similar outbreak to date.

The HSE told The Times that its public health and community healthcare west sections had been “liaising with businesses and health professionals” on Inis Mór to ensure “testing and tracing are being carried out promptly”.

HSE personnel have conducted Covid-19 PCR swab tests on Inis Mór on a number of days over the past week.

Inis Mór and Mayo’s Achill island have been booked as locations during the months of August and September for filming The Banshees of Inisherin, starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. The film is based on an unpublished play written by Martin McDonagh, as part of his Aran Islands trilogy.

Heather Humphreys, the rural development minister, cancelled a scheduled trip to Inis Mór last Friday, but visited Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr to approve a series of new projects as part of the government’s “Our Rural Future” programme.

Two weeks ago the HSE West director of public health, Dr Breda Smyth, warned of a “dramatic increase” in cases across the western region in a five-day period, with figures doubling in Co Mayo and tripling in Co Galway.

Read The Times here

Published in Island News
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Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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