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Bord Iascaigh Mhara has acquired a new inshore survey vessel for monitoring the state of mussel bed stocks on the south-west and east Irish coastlines.

The 12m-long survey vessel, named T Burke II, was built by Cork company Safehaven Marine.

The Wildcat 40 vessel is one of 19 built by Safehaven and in service worldwide, and has a maximum speed of 26 knots and 18 knots operational speed. It is fitted with crane gear to deploy sonar equipment and a bottom sampling dredge.

Safehaven Marine says its seakeeping abilities were demonstrated during rough weather trials off the south coast in 50-knot winds and five-metre seas during Storm Gareth.

It will be deployed by BIM in Dingle Bay, Co Kerry, and on the east coast from Wexford’s Carnsore Point to Carlingford, Co Louth.

The Irish mussel industry was valued at 11.7 million euro to the economy in 2018, and almost 14,000 tonnes of mussels were produced in Ireland last year.

Bottom grown mussels made up 4,800 tonnes of that total.

The sector has had Marine Stewardship Council accreditation – the “gold standard” for sustainable fisheries – since 2013. The bottom grown mussel industry is almost “entirely export-led”, according to BIM, and employs almost 200 people, directly and indirectly.

Its potential was highlighted during the recent Supreme Court action by four mussel fishermen over the “voisinage” agreement north and south of the border.

The T Burke II was launched by Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed in Kinsale, Co Cork on Monday morning with Olivia Moylan Burke.

Ms Burke is the wife of the late Dr Tomás Burke, formerly technical officer with BIM, after whom the boat is named.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Creed said that the surveys conducted by the vessel would form “an integral part of the management of the seed mussel fishery, which has been awarded the prestigious MSC sustainability certification”.

This accreditation “opens up access for our Irish mussels into the very best markets in the EU and further afield”, Mr Creed said.

BIM chief executive Jim O’Toole said the surveys conducted by BIM’s technical officers would “provide invaluable data to help drive the growth of this important sector”, while also minimising its carbon footprint.

Published in Marine Trade
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Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency has launched a fishermen’s health manual. The short manual offers practical advice on keeping healthy at sea and on land and has been translated into five languages. The BIM Fishermen’s Health Manual has been adapted from a publication Fisherman first published by Haynes and funded by Maritime Charities Funding Group in the UK. More than 3,000 fishermen in Ireland have received the manual to date.

Jim O’Toole, BIM CEO said: “The fishing sector is a rewarding and a highly demanding industry. BIM’s focus on sustainability refers not just to the industry per se but to the people who work in the industry. This manual is by no means meant to replace professional advice from a medical practitioner. It’s about the promotion of better self-awareness and proactivity among members of the sector when it comes to their physical and mental wellbeing, all of which will help the sector to thrive for generations to come.”

The publication is written in plain language in the style of a Haynes’ car manual and the BIM adaptation of the publication has been developed with the support of Healthy Ireland Initiative.

Kate O'Flahery, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the Department of Health commented:

“Healthy Ireland welcome the publication of BIM's Fisherman's Health Manual, which addresses specific health issues involved in the Irish seafood and fishing industry. Fishing is a challenging profession and having access to detailed and practical advice will empower fishermen in Ireland to make changes, and particularly as the guide is accessible in five languages.”

Ian Banks, President of the European Men’s Health Forum, and author of the original UK publication and said:

“All fishing gear comes with a manual. The machinery is tough, it has to be considering the environment in which it has to work. Fishermen are also tough for the same reasons but there was no manual for maintenance. Well now there is, and hopefully fishermen will stay healthy no matter what those deep waters throw at them.”

The manual is available in English, Irish, Arabic, Malay, Russian and Spanish. 

Published in Fishing
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#Angling - The Designated Salmonid Waters Bye-law was yesterday (Thursday 25 October) signed by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton.

The overall intention behind the bye-law is to afford additional protection to wild brown trout in seven distinctive State–owned waters where established stock control measures are already in place as a matter of existing policy.

The seven waters are Lough Sheelin in the Limerick Fishery District; Loughs Conn and Cullin the Ballina Fishery District; Loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra in the Galway Fishery District; and Lough Arrow in the Sligo Fishery District.

Sean Canney, who is succeeding Sean Kyne as Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, welcomed the bye-law as an important initiative for brown trout fisheries particularly in the West of Ireland.

“My predecessor Seán Kyne gave notice of his proposals to make the bye-law and also instigated a public consultation during which observations and views expressed across the full range of stakeholders,” said Minister Canney.

“I am happy as incoming minister to support Minister Kyne’s long-standing initiative and his hard work over all of 2018 in bringing the bye-law to fruition.”

Minister Kyne said: “As minister with responsibility for inland fisheries, I had carefully considered the submissions made in the public consultation.

“The bye-law relates to seven limestone lakes which are quite unique in terms of topography and trout habitat and have long been managed as wild brown trout fisheries via established stock management programmes. From that perspective, I considered that these waters are especially important.

“The bye-law was just about complete when I was taking on my new role and I am grateful for the support of Ministers Bruton and Canney for bringing it over the line,” he added.

The bye-law gives statutory status to the policy designation of this small number of distinctive waters and means that the waters concerned will continue to be managed primarily as brown trout waters.

Minister Kyne had indicated his view that the importance of these waters should be reflected by way of statutory designation and commenced that process in the department.

The bye-law also includes the prohibition on the introduction of fish to the designated waters which is consistent with the overall policy thrust of Inland Fisheries Ireland to manage these waters primarily as brown trout waters.

The advantages of this measure include addressing biosecurity and genetic concerns, control and management of the potential transfer of pathogens, and safeguarding against the introduction of alien invasive fish species.

The announcement came as Bord Iascaigh Mhara is hosting a two-day conference on the scientific developments within the salmon farming industry in Galway’s Maldron Hotel on 25-26 of October.

Outlining the purpose of the event, BIM’s Geoffrey Robinson said: “With increasing global demand for fish, aquaculture is now the fastest-growing animal food production sector in the world. Consequently, fish farming operations are rapidly evolving with new technologies and equipment constantly being developed.

“Part of BIM’s work is to help fish farmers to keep their operations at the cutting edge of technology and an event like this allows us to showcase the latest innovations to Irish operators. There will be a number of interesting developments discussed not least the growing use of cleaner fish and desalination systems.”

Twenty-five separate presentations from national and international experts will cover the latest research and technological developments within the sector on issues such as fish health and welfare, structural and service equipment as well as organic certification.

“While production volumes in Ireland are small by international standards, we have a reputation for excellence in organic salmon production and it is important that our operations maintain this high standard. Incorporating leading edge technologies can improve our production efficiencies and strengthen our sustainable practices,” Mr Robinson added.

In 2017 Irish salmon production increased 15.6% to 19,305 tonnes, with a value of €141.2 million. The industry employs 210 people, primarily in production sites along the west coast of Ireland. Irish salmon is exported to diverse markets across the EU, North America and the Near and Far East.

Published in Angling

#Figaro - Bord Iascaigh Mhara will support for Joan Mulloy in her challenge this year as the first Irish female sailor to compete in the world famous Solitaire du Figaro race.

The solo, multi-stage race spans the length of the French coast from the Mediterranean to the North Atlantic Ocean. Fewer than 15% of competitors are female, and no women from Ireland have ever before taken part.

BIM’s ‘Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey’ trail, co funded by the EU and the Government under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), is headline partner to the Joan Mulloy – Team Ireland 2018 challenge.

The trail, developed in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, is designed to educate people as to how Irish seafood is caught and farmed sustainably along the Wild Atlantic Way.

BIM chief executive Jim O’Toole explains the rationale behind the sponsorship: “Joan grew up working on her father’s mussel farm in Clew Bay and her knowledge of the seafood sector and her clear passion for the sea makes her sailing initiative a great fit for BIM and Irish seafood. I would like to wish Joan the very best of luck as she trains for this extraordinary challenge.”

The famously gruelling single handed ‘Le Figaro’ race takes place at the end of August and involves four legs, ranging from two to five days at sea, sailing day and night.

Over 40 identical boats will compete, the majority of which are skippered by the best French sailors, who lead the world in single-handed sailing.

Joan Mulloy explains what this challenge means to her: “Being the first Irish female sailor to compete in the famous Solitaire du Figaro is an honour and would not be possible without the support we have received from BIM. This is as competitive as solo sailing gets so it's going to be an amazing learning experience out there on the racecourse.”

Joan will act as a Taste the Atlantic ambassador promoting the trail throughout the year, culminating in her appearance at the BIM Seafood Exhibition at the annual SeaFest in Galway from 29 June.

Visitors to Ireland's national maritime festival will get the opportunity to get on board Joan’s impressive yacht to see first-hand how she will undertake the Figaro challenge.

“The Solitaire du Figaro will be the racing highlight but I cannot wait to explore the west coast of Ireland throughout the year,” she said. “Having the boat in Galway for SeaFest is going to provide a really great platform to meet thousands of people and tell them about solo sailing and Irish seafood, two of my favourite things!”

Published in Figaro
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#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed signed into law conservation measures concerning Irish velvet crab stocks as he hosted the 12th meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) today, Wednesday 27 September.

The Inshore Fisheries Forum structures, which include the NIFF and six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs), were established in 2014 to foster stakeholder-led development of proposals for the inshore fishing sector.

As well as moved to protect Irish velvet crab, the minister also introduced measures to regulate fishing activities affecting Natura 2000 sites at Hook Head and the Saltee Islands.

Regulations signed by Minister Creed today will introduce a Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) of 65mm for velvet crab that will apply to Irish sea fishing boats from 1 January 2018.

This measure was initially developed by the West Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum (RIFF) with advice from the Marine Institute. The proposal was brought to the minister last year by the NIFF, and a public consultation on the measure was held at the end of 2016.

Velvet crab are fished all year, but mainly in the March to October period, and they are predominantly a by-catch in the lobster fishery. Landings of velvet crab into Ireland were 406 tonnes in 2015, higher than any year since 2004, and were valued at just under €808,000. Over 80% of velvet crabs are landed by vessels less than 10 metres in length.

Additionally, a Fisheries Natura Declaration signed by Minister Creed today will restrict fishing using dredge and trawling gear for scallop fishing to protect certain sensitive habitats in Natura 2000 conservation sites off the southeast coast of Wexford from 30 November.

The Natura 2000 sites include the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs (Special Areas of Conservation). The declaration also sets down monitoring and notification requirements for boats fishing using dredge and trawling gear within these habitats.

These gear and monitoring measures were developed through industry members working with the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to address risks to sensitive habitats in the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs. The risks were identified by the Marine Institute in a 2014 risk assessment report of sea-fishing activities in Natura 2000 sites in the Irish Sea.

Industry members – including individual scallop fishermen, members of the Southeast RIFF and representatives of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (ISEFPO) – met with the Marine Institute and BIM through 2015 and 2016 to develop risk mitigation proposals for the fishery. A public consultation on the resulting Mitigation Response Plan was carried out in 2016.

These measures are being introduced following full consultation with the Inshore Fisheries Forum structures.

“Heading into their third year, the forums have taken a lead in tackling conservation issues and changing practices with a view to long-term sustainability,” said Minister Creed. “I welcome the support these measures have received from the Forums which reflects the mature approach this sector is taking in dealing with its own challenges.”

Minister Creed and the NIFF discussed the implementation of the new measures and the status of other measures under review for important stocks such as lobster, brown crab and razor clams.

The minister also discussed the impact of Brexit on the fishing sector and the UK’s intention to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, which governs access to waters inside the 12-mile limit.

Commenting on issues arising for the sector from Brexit, Minister Creed noted: “While the implications of Brexit are far from clear at this point in time, I will continue to highlight Irish fisheries concerns on the EU agenda and work with other impacted EU member states and the Barnier team to ensure that fisheries are not isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed has announced €12 million funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) to fund local development initiatives in Ireland’s coastal communities.

The seven new groups – South West (Kerry), West (Galway, Clare), Northwest (Mayo, Sligo), North (Donegal), South (Cork), Northeast (Louth, Meath, Dublin) and Southeast (Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford) – were selected as part of a competitive process under the community led local development element of the €240 million EMFF Operational Programme.

Each FLAG received a sum between €1.5 million and €1.98 million in funding that is 50% financed by the EU.

“This funding will be allocated by and to those communities by the seven FLAGs recently established,” said the minister. “The FLAGs are made up of local actors from the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and others with a strong interest in fostering the development of our coastal communities.

“The funding will be available to the FLAGs over the period 2017 to 2021 approximately and is an eight-fold increase on the €1.5m that was available under the previous FLAG scheme.”

Bord Iascaigh Mhara chief executive Tara McCarthy added: “As the State agency responsible for providing a range of administrative and technical supports to the FLAGs, we welcome the significant increase in funding for a programme that has already contributed €1.5 million in direct and indirect investment to our coastal communities.

“Each of the FLAG groups represents 7 coastal communities where the importance of the Irish Seafood Sector from our fishermen to seafood processors and retailers is paramount. This increase in funding will enable BIM to assist the FLAG groups to develop strategic plans that will enhance and in some cases diversify their existing marine related resource and enterprise.

“On behalf of BIM, I would like to thank all of the FLAG members for their dedication to this programme.”

FLAG Name Coastal areas of County EMFF Allocation
South West FLAG Kerry €1.53 m
West FLAG Galway, Clare €1.80 m
Northwest FLAG Mayo, Sligo €1.50 m
North FLAG Donegal €1.95 m
South FLAG Cork €1.98 m
Northeast FLAG Louth, Meath, Dublin €1.56 m
Southeast FLAG Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford €1.68 m
  TOTAL €12 m
Published in Fishing

Tara McCarthy has a magnificent view out of her office windows.

“You could look out there all day,” she says as we chat in the office on Crofton Road in Dun Laoghaire, looking out on Dublin Bay. Even on a damp January afternoon it is a great vista as a ship heads out of Dublin Port into what it seems will be a harsh enough time ahead at sea. However, it is not the view we have met to discuss, but whether a taboo can be created around a troubling issue – safety at sea and those who will not wear lifejackets.

Tara McCarthy is Chief Executive of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the State fisheries board, which has launched a campaign to persuade fishermen that they must wear lifejackets. There has been an attitude amongst them that it was better not to wear one. If a fisherman fell into the sea from the boat, it was likely that the sea would take him, so it was better not to struggle to live.

That was the attitude, about which a taboo would be in place if Tara McCarthy has her way.

The statistics are frightening. Fishing is thirteen times more dangerous than the construction industry. Over the last ten years 53 fishermen have lost their lives at sea. BIM research showed that quite a number of fishermen knew colleagues who died at sea but many of those fishermen, even though they knew a colleague who had died in a tragedy, would still not wear a lifejacket.

THE NEW BIM LIFEJACKET WITH BUILT IN POSITION FINDER

The new BIM lifejacket with built-in position finder

That shocked me and so it did the CEO also, which is why the lifejackets campaign is tough, hard-hitting.

“Those fishermen should realise the impact they could have on their families by a decision not to wear a lifejacket. It is, perhaps, shocking to face them with that realisation but we have launched a campaign that is deliberately hard-hitting campaign. “It is not soft, just saying that it would be nice to wear a lifejacket. We are facing fishermen with a life-impacting decision. We talked to fishermen about this and they told us to make it hard-hitting and that is what we are doing.”

• Listen to the BIM CEO on the programme above

Published in Island Nation

#FishFarm - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has withdrawn the application for its controversial fish farm proposal for the Aran Islands ahead of new plans to limit the size of aquaculture projects.

As the Irish Examiner reports, campaigners against the ambitious 500-hectare, 15,000 tonne organic salmon farm for Galway Bay have welcomed the decision by BIM to rethink its development in line with a new national strategic plan that will limit fish farms to under 7,000 tonnes.

BIM's application has been with the Department of the Marine for more than three years, with Marine Minister Simon Coveney saying this past March that he would not be drawn on any timeframe for a decision to approve what would have been the largest such fish farm in Europe.

The application has long faced opposition from local angling and environmental groups, as well as concerns from the EU over its environmental impact.

This past summer controversy arose again as campaigners blasted BIM for spending thousands of euro on PR on the project, that would have seen Ireland attempt to overtake Scotland as a leading producer of organic salmon.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

A Dublin Fishmonger with three retail outlets has been declared Ireland’s Young Fishmonger of the Year. George Stephens of The Fish Market in Blanchardstown was declared the winner at the final held in Kinsale last night. He told Tom MacSweeney why he liked being a fishmonger in an interview above.

Stephens also has retail outlets in Maynooth, Co.Kildare and in Mullingar Town. A professional chef with eight years’ seafood retail experience, he works with his wife and business partner Anne, developing new ready-to-go seafood products and has recently launched a new range of freshly fried fish in his Blanchardstown store.

The competition, run by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, was extensively judged over the past two months by a team of judges assembled by the board. This included practical skills and business testing.

This is the third year of the competition and the award was presented at television personality Martin Shanahan’s restaurant, Fishy Fishy, in Kinsale.

Tara McCarthy, Chief Executive of BIM, said the competition is intended to encourage young people to seek careers in the seafood industry.

George Stephens received a specially designed trophy, a study trip to France and a cheque for €1,000

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#fishing – BIM, the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, are seeking a person with a record of success as a leader, preferably in the marine sector, to become its Chief Executive. The post is advertised in this morning's Irish Times newspaper. The post is based at BIM's Head Office in Dun Laoghaire.  A copy of the advert is downloadable below as a jpeg file.

 

 

 

 

Published in Fishing
Page 2 of 5

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

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