Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Arklow Shipping

#ShannonEstuary - The recent return to the Shannon Estuary, almost 100 years later of restored ketch trader Ilen, which Afloat highlighted, sees the sole surviving Irish built ocean-going timber sailing vessel back home in Limerick Docks, writes Jehan Ashmore

After a 20 year restoration project, the 56ft 'small tall ship' Ilen, returned last month to the estuary after an absence of 92 years as focused by Afloat's W.M. Nixon. The Illen, built to a Limerick design where such vessels traded on the estuary in Munster, had docked in the mid-west city port's Ted Russell Docks. Take note as Afloat previously reported, today's (Thursday) conivial Come-all-Ye party to celebrate the restoration at the Ilen Exhibition in the city's Hunt Museum (between 5.30 to 8.00pm). All are welcome.

On completion of Ilen in 1926, Conor O’Brien's ketch, built with an auxiliary engine, departed Limerick for Falklands Islands owners where for the majority of time served 60 years in inter-island cargo trade deep in the South Altantic Ocean. Last month, however Ilen would finally sail up the Shannon Estuary again having made a delivery passage from Baltimore (where built), retracing a preparatory journey to Foynes made by O'Brien in advance of the ocean delivery to the Falklands Islands Company.

The small cargoship having become abandoned, eventually returned as deck cargo to Ireland when loaded ashore in Dublin Port in 1997. In the following year work began to restore the unique Irish built sail ocean going cargoship.

Close to Baltimore is where Ilen, mid-way through its restoration, in 2008 was given a new lease life thanks to the ketch receiving the skilled craftmanship at Liam Hegarty’s boatyard in Oldcourt, upriver on the River Ilen from Skibberean. Much of the restorations detailed work of mast and sail work, though took place at the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick.

Also in 2008, a personnal visit took place to the city's Ted Russel Docks to examine the commercial shipping scene, albeit then no sail traders of the past but motorised ships such as Celtic Spirit. The general cargo short-sea trader (pictured above) in the port's single dock basin is seen in October just over a decade ago with Inland Fisheries Ireland patrol cutter Costantoir Bradan.

As W.M. Nixon also alluded in recent coverage of Ilen (scroll down to photo) which sparked memories as the scene included a blue hulled cargoship (likewise of Celtic Spirit). The shipping scene shows the stark contrast in the Dock between the restored ketch complex foredeck and completely differs to those experienced by sailors on the modern ships nearby.

The unidentified blue hulled ship is similar in size to Celtic Spirit, which then had opened up a new service in trading round timber (logs). Trees felled from commercial forests in Co. Tipperary were the source and if recalled correctly, also involved plantations from some of the neighbouring counties. A dockside grabber crane would seize several logs at a time before swung speedily into the hold of Celtic Spirit whose cargo was bound for a European port.

Celtic Spirit no longer forms part of the current 9 strong fleet of Welsh based operator, Charles M.Willie & Co.(Shipping) Ltd located in Cardiff. A successor of the same name serves alongside a fleetmate, Celtic Freedom acquired last year from Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. as their Arklow Rally. Also sold but in 2016 was Arklow Shipping Ltd's (ASL) Irish flagged Arklow Rose which was renamed Celtic Venture.

At the time of that report another of ASL oldest R-class short sea traders, Arklow Raider had called to Limerick Docks. The dock basin is one of six terminals operated by Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) which recorded a third consecutive year of record profits as 2017’s return in turnover was close to €14 million.

The presence of Ilen in Limerick's Ted Russell Dock (completed in 1853) brings the past and the present to co-exist in terms of demonstrating traditional Irish maritime heritage and modern day shipping and aptly Arkow Shipping, Ireland's largest indigenous shipowner-operator. 

As previously alluded in the year Ilen was built (1926), Ted RusselI Docks that same year reported around 100 importers and exporters using the port. At that time, the dock's principle client were the flour millers, John Bannatyne & Sons. 

The activities of Bannatyne contributed to approximately half of the revenue to Limerick Harbour Commissioners (from 1994, SFPC). Only last year, SFPC's Limerick Docklands Framework Strategy announced plans to reinstate historical buildings over time such as the large Ballantyne Mills building that occupies the main quay lining Ted Russell Docks. 

Exports from Limerick Docks more than tripled imports in 2016, which shows how the dock basin asset has contributed to business in the city and the wider mid-west region. Another recent caller last month to the Dock was again from ASL whose Arklow Cadet (also dating to 2016) which docked in the inland port located on Ireland's largest estuary.

 

Published in Shannon Estuary

#Ports&Shipping - Another progressive chapter for Arklow Shipping was notably marked on Monday as the final of 10 newbuild short-sea traders was christened at a ceremony held in The Netherlands, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Arklow Villa was christened in Delfzijl, where glorious weather conditions added to the celebrations as the 86m long hulled vessel built by Royal Bodewes was named. The occasion saw the newbuild use the 'V' naming theme with the cargoship berthed along the quayside close to the Ems Estuary, shared with neighbouring Germany.

The ceremony took place five days after the start of sea-trails began in the North Sea. Prior to these trials, the newbuild like all 9 sisters since 2015, beginning with leadship Arklow Vale were launched at the inland yard in Hoogezand and then towed on the canal network to Delfzijl.

Arklow Villa joins ASL's Dutch division, Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. and likewise to all the Bodewes Eco-Traders, they fly the Dutch flag and have Rotterdam as a port of registry. The introduction of the newbuild brings to more than 50 dry-cargo and bulk-carriers in the combined Dutch-Irish flagged fleet.

Afloat has carried out further research to astertain that the maiden commercial voyage by Arklow Villa also took place on the day of the naming ceremony. This involved the 2,999 gross tonnage newbuild make a departure from the Dutch north-east port to Porsgrunn, Norway.

It is from the southern Norwegian port that the Royal Bodewes 5,170dwt Eco-Trader an in-house design from the Dutch yard, is next to sail to Belfast Harbour. Afloat also notes that the inaugural call to the Northern Ireland port is estimated to take place on Saturday. 

As for cargo operartions, the hold is fitted with portable bulkheads that can be placed in 8 positions for cargo separation and storage. The hatch deck is equipped with a Coops & Nieborg pontoon system.

A main engine comprises of a MaK 6M25 1740 kW where through a controllable pitch propeller delivers a speed of around 12.5 knots.

For in port handing and when within confined spaces the straight-stemmed bow designed to minimise wave impact for fuel efficiency, is equipped with an electric bowthruster of 300 kW.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Ports&Shipping - Arklow Dale is the first cargoship to bear the name for the Co. Wicklow based shipowner which acquired the secondhand tonnage that forms as the third D class sister, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat had been trawling through the mixed Irish-Dutch flagged fleet list of Arklow Shipping yesterday. Coincidently, on the same day is when that the newly acquired cargoship was included in the fleet list of more than 50 ships.   

The 11,048dwt cargoship is the former Flinter Arctic that served a career with the Dutch operator, Flinter Group B.V. which became bankrupt in 2016. Trading now as Arklow Dale, the double-hold cargoship is equipped with a deck-mounted gantry crane fitted with two derricks. The 132m cargoship has an Ice Class Finnish 1A notation and is currently underway in the Baltic Sea from Gdynia, Poland and bound for Lulea in Sweden.

Arklow Dale joins the other D class pair of former Flinter sisters that were previously disposed through auction to ASL and sail as Arklow Dawn and Arklow Day.  The sisters were all built by German shipbuilder, Ferus Smit whose Dutch yard in Westerbroek launched Flinter Arctic in 2010. As for the remaining sisters they were completed in the following year. The yard in recent years has seen the construction of C class cargoships for ASL. 

The newly acquired fleetmember's main engine is a 3 MAK 8M32 4000kW with gearbox. A controllable pitch propeller delivers about 14 knots. All of the D class are Irish flagged and registered in the owners homeport whereas Dutch based divison Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. have a smaller fleet registered in Rotterdam.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Ports&Shipping - Arklow Viking began sea trials yesterday, the brand new short-sea trader having been towed from an inland Dutch yard to the North Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 2,999grt Arklow Viking marks the 9th of ten multipurpose cargoships that will serve Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. The class constructed by Royal Bodewes shipyard are built to an in-house design, the Eco-Trader 5150 series.

It was on Monday, that a pair of tugs towed the 89m Arklow Viking from the yard in Hoogezand near Groningen on the canal network to Delfzijl on the Ems Estuary. The newbuild undertook sea trials and when not underway the vessel in based out of Emshaven.

As for final sister of this series, the newbuild is to be named Arklow Villa and as revealed on the stern, the port of registry is Rotterdam. This is not surprising as ASN are based in the giant deep-water port.

Around 50 cargoships operate under the Irish and Dutch flagged fleet, they mostly comprise of short-sea traders in addition to deep-sea bulkers. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Ports&Shipping - Arklow Venus, the newest ship of the fleet that was launched in October is currently undergoing sea trials on an estuary along the Dutch-German border, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 89m Arklow Venus is part of the continues upgrading of Arklow Shipping ships. The new addition is the eight sister so far completed out of 10 placed on order of the 'V' class or Eco-Trader 5150 series designed in-house by the yard of Royal Bodewes. The figure refers to the cargoship's deadweight while gross tonnage is measured at 2,999.

Previously, the new short-sea trader had departed Bodewes inland shipyard at Hoogezand on Winschoterdiep Canal that links to the Eemskanaal Canal leading to Delfzijl on the Ems Estuary. As of this morning Arklow Venus made first contact with the salt waters of the Ems Estuary that has a border between The Netherlands and Germany.

The short sea trader that has a hold that can be divided for two bulk cargoes, headed out of the estuary towards the North Sea but remained within the the island archipelago of the Frisian Islands also known as the Wadden Islands.

Upon completion of sea trails the ship will join ASL's Dutch divison Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. located in Rotterdam.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#ShippingSnippets - A 183m tanker from Ardmore Shipping Corporation based in Bermuda which also has a principle operating office located in Cork, made a call to Bantry Bay recently, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Ardmore Seaventure which at 49,999 dwt is on of the largest of the 27 strong fleet had anchored at the single point mooring (SPM) system at the Whiddy Island oil terminal. The ship had sailed from Ventspils, Latvia and has since headed to west Scotland. Until yesterday, the tanker had taken anchorage in Brodrick Bay, Isle of Arran (see 'Superyacht' posting).

Bantry Bay Terminals is operated by Zenith Energy, where the facility is also capable of handling VLCC’s and 30-meter draft vessels for the discharging of petroleum cargoes and other products.

Another short-sea trader from Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V., Arklow Bridge is no longer part of the Dutch division fleet. The 4,723gt vessel only built in 2011, is one of a pair of original 'B' class ships. The other sister Arklow Brook remains in service. They differ to a succession of ships from a varient of the 'B' series also built by Bodewes in the Netherlands. 

Afloat has tracked down the 116m cargoship which has been renamed Aasvik, when berthed in Szczecin,Poland. Also a change of flag to Gibraltar has taken place.

An earlier 'Brook' had served ASL, having been custom built at Appledore Shipbuilders in 1990 followed by sister 'Bridge' the next year. The yard in Bidna, north Devon is now Babcock Marine & Technology's facility that is currently constructing the Naval Service's fourth OPV90 sister to be named L.E. George Bernard Shaw.

Cork based Mainport Group's seismic chase vessel, Mainport Kells has been at the Cork Dockyard facility. The 350grt vessel of only 37m built almost a decade ago at the Shin Yang yard Malaysia in 2008, had yesterday carried out sea trials beyond the harbour off Roches Point Lighthouse.

Corkonians would of seen Mainport Kells berthed previously at Cork city quays. A fleetmate the seismic survey vessel Mineport Pine remains there along North Custom Quay.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Ports&Shipping – Arklow Shipping it transpires have also taken into its Irish flagged fleet a sister of Arklow Dawn that was recently acquired from the Flinter Group that went into liquidation late last year, writes Jehan Ashmore.

At 132m long the former Dutch secondhand tonnage multipurpose cargoship previously Flinter Aland is now trading as Arklow Day along with the former Flinter Atlantic. Both these recently renamed ships use the letter ‘D’ naming theme. This revives a pair albeit bulk-carriers that too were acquired as second-hand tonnage launched originally for Norwegian interests.

The latest additions are 11,204dwt each and the sisters have a 13,008m3 hold capacity and a speed of 12 knots. They are part of the overall Arklow fleet that includes Dutch managed and flagged short-sea traders. 

When entering ASL service, they are understood to have retained the grey hull livery of Flinter, as evident of Arklow Dawn which made a brief anchorage call off the ship’s Co. Wicklow homeport in October. The ship then proceeded to Warrenpoint, Co. Down.

In addition to Afloat observing also that month one of the sisters offshore of Dublin Bay while between the Muglins, Dalkey and the Kish Lighthouse. 

 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#SistersDryDock - A pair of sisters, one Irish flagged the other recently transferred to the UK departed before noon today and within half an hour of eachother having vacated the docks system in Swansea, south Wales, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Arklow Shipping Ltd (ASL) short-sea trader Arklow Raider was tracked by Afloat and a former sister, Arklow Rally which was only renamed Celtic Freedom this week.

Both Dutch built 2002 cargoships sisters underwent maintenance at the recently upgraded Swansea Drydocks Ltd, as the marine repair and shiprecycling business having been taken over. According to SDL, Arklow Raider became the first ship to use the refurbished facility last month.

Arklow Rally is an R class 4,950dwt cargoship that ASL has disposed and now as Celtic Freedom is part of Welsh shipowners fleet, Charles M. Willie & Co. (Shipping) Ltd. Only last year, the Cardiff based operator acquired Arklow Rose also dating to 2002. The pair form a 9 strong fleet for the Welsh company that had a previous Celtic Freedom, albeit smaller in dwt terms and was sold three years ago to Turkish interests.

The business of drydocking used to see ASL send some of their short-sea traders to Dublin Graving Docks until a lease of the facility from Dublin Port Company led to closure in April 2016. The strategic facility in the Irish capital though was temporaily reopened earlier this year but by DPC so to permit an overhaul of tallship, Jeanie Johnston.

Local tug, Svitzer Bently was joined in the loch by Celtic Freedom, while waiting astern in Kings Dock basin Arklow Raider having taken up position in the port operated by ABP South Wales.

Pilot cutter, Beaufort accompanied the cargoship beyond the port's piers into Swansea Bay, before returning to transfer again to an already departed Arklow Raider waiting in the channel. The double departures took approximately half an hour to complete by the time the second ship cleared Swansea's entance around 11.45 this morning.

The maiden commercial voyage of Celtic Freedom sees the almost 90m cargoship make a voyage bound for Fredrikstrad, Norway while Arklow Raider only has to head across the Bristol Channel to Royal (Portbury) Docks.

Portury docks which is the modern port for Bristol is where Arklow Raider made her first sailing following completion of dry docking late last month, before crossing the Celtic Sea to Cork followed by short coastal run to Limerick. It is from the Irish west coast estuary port that the cargoship had returned in recent days to the south Wales port.

Unlike, Arklow Raider the what was to become Celtic Freedom was allocated in Swansea Drydocks the adjacent smaller Prince of Wales dry dock (No.2) that measures 170m in length. This compared to the larger namesake counterpart at just over 200m. Dry dock No.2, previously known as Palmers Dry Dock, was established in 1923 and Dry Dock No.1, formerly known as the Duke of Edinburgh Dry Dock which was built in 1958.

In the preceeding year in Dublin Port was then unveiled the new dry dry No. 2 at 220m long was the largest in the State. A neighbouring much older dry dock dating to the 1860's was during the Celtic Tiger years infilled, however thankfully plans by DPC are to re-excavate the listed structure as part of a new heritage tourism venue.

The absence of Arklow Rally within the ASL fleet, leaves only one larger sized dwt R class sister, Arklow Rambler. As the rest of the remaining 11 class are marginally smaller given a dwt of 4,933dwt and built between 2004 and 2007. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#DublinDocklands - Afloat recently reported of Arklow Shipping's latest acquisition, Arklow Dawn that brings the fleet to 52, the majority of these cargoships comprising 13 in total are of the remaining R class sisters however there are differences between them, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The series were first introduced in 2002 with leadship Arklow Rose completed from the yard of Barkmeijer Stroobos. This cargoship is no longer in service and currently of the entire class ordered, only 11 sisters remain from this Dutch yard. Each of the dry cargo short-sea traders are 89.99 (LOA) length overall and have a deadweight of 4,933 and gross tonnage is 2,999. Cargoes carried on these ships can range from grain, animal feed to steel rails.

The strong relationship between the Dutch yard and the Irish owners was recognised with an unveiling of a symbolic stainless steel sculpture based on a ship's bow. Officials from Barkmeijer were present at the sculpture unveiling in the grounds of Arklow Shipping headquarters. At that stage in 2008 the sculpture marked the occasion of the 20th ship built by the yard for ASL.

From among the most notable and subtle design differences there are some examples outlined below when compared to the minority two eldest R class 2002 built cargships Arklow Rally and Rambler respectively. Asides that these ships were built elsewhere in Netherlands from the yard of Bijlsma Lemmer, they have a larger deadweight at 5,065, though tonnage remains equal. In terms of LOA there is a difference albeit a shorter hull by a mere 4cms! 

Changing Quay Relationships of Dublin's Docklands 

In recent months the public and office commuters working in Dublin's 'Docklands' had a rare opportunity to see a cargsohip at close quarters while berthed upriver. The cargoship was another R class, the Arklow Resolve which had berthed for a lenghtly stay along the Liffey's south bank. The cargoship had sailed from Belfast to the Irish capital, intially docking in Alexandra Basin before shifting to the old working port located closer to the city-centre. The architecture designs from port industry have been replaced by modern offices for this financial quarter of the city.

On the theme of city-centres, Afloat reported of London International Shipping Week (LISW17) the annual event where the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) promoted business networks at the Irish Embassy in central London. Also that week the Arklow Resolve arrived in the UK capital's port having finally departed Dublin. (See London's new commuter craft related report).

Up to the mid-1990's such commercial shipping activity took place in Dublin though the presence of quayside cranes and surrounding warehouseses were considerably been reduced. This demolition notably increased in the lead up to and during the construction building boom of the Celtic Tiger. 

Such historic port-related infrastructure barely remains in the Docklands where property developments much larger in scale to the recent past are under construction, notably the highest structure taking shape in the form of 'Capital Dock'. This construction site is located where Sir John Rogersons Quay meets Great Britain Quay and dominates this quarter of Dublin's skyline that is constantly changing. Afloat will have more in depth to report by focusing on examples of historical note. 

In the meantime it is refreshing that the port have recently installed Crane 292 that celebrates such ship related industrial heritage. The restored crane dating from the 1960's is somewhat a counterpart to the emerging office towerblocks, albeit the crane is set back from the quays. The crane's new home is beside Dublin Port Company headquarters, the Port Centre on Alexandra Road.

 

Published in Dublin Port

#ports&shipping - In a break from the norm Arklow Shipping has acquired secondhand tonnage following a splurge of newbuilds delivered over recent years, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The latest addition, Arklow Dawn brings a revised fleet total to 52 multipurpose vessels. This does not include those newbuilds almost completed, among them Arklow Venus as reported recently and now the addition of this former Flinter Group B.V. cargsoship. Likewise of the newbuild, Arklow Dawn revives a vessel name albeit that been of a larger dry-cargo bulker. 

The Flinter Group was one of the largest shipping groups in the Netherlands operating around 50 multipurpose vessels in the shortsea sector. The firm however was forced into bankrupty which led to the business closing in December 2016. A leading creditor ceased funding the Group with the assets in the form of the ships put up for auction.

As for ASL's latest member of the mixed Irish and Dutch flagged fleet, Arklow Dawn flies that of the tricolor from the ship's stern with Arklow as port of registry. 

Arklow Dawn has been issued with a Certification of Classification from international classification society, Bureau Veritas based in Germany.  At 132m long and on a beam of 15m, the general cargoship that cany grain is also certified to carry containers.

The 11,204dwt cargoship has a capacity of 13,008m3 and a speed of 12 knots. The annual survey 1 was carried out earlier this year in Aalborg, Denmark.

Arklow Dawn is currently on passage from Lisbon, Portugal and heading eastbound through the English Channel. The cargoship is off the Contentin Peninsula in Normandy, France from where the ship is to sail upriver on the Seine to the inland port of Rouen.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 2 of 6

Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating