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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough

Dublin Bay has been the home of the Mermaid class since 1932 when they were designed by J B Kearney.

They race regularly in Dun Laoghaire, Clontarf, Rush, Skerries, Wexford, Foynes, Dungarvan and Sligo. And for the first time ever in early May, the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough will welcome Mermaid visitors to the Simon Brien-sponsored Ulster Championships. It is said that this is the first time that they will have travelled North.

The Dublin Bay Mermaid is a one-design, wooden sailing dinghy originally designed for sailing in Dublin Bay. It is a 17-foot, half-decked, centreboard boat rigged as a Bermuda sloop. The boats have a helm and two crew with a main sail, jib and spinnaker.

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast LoughRoyal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough

The idea for the event came to fruition at the Irish Sailing Champions Cup in Foynes, Co Limerick, last year when Ross Nolan, the Event Director, met officers from the Mermaid Association.

Darach Dinneen, President of the Class, said, “The first-ever visit of the Dublin Bay Mermaids to RNIYC marks an important milestone, blending tradition with the thrill of discovering new waters. As these iconic vessels arrive at the club for the first time, they bring a sense of heritage and friendship, bridging the gap between past and present. It will be a weekend where experienced sailors gather to witness history in the making. The timeless beauty of the Mermaids has found a new home in the warm welcome of the RNIYC's shores. This joining of sailing cultures not only honours the legacy of the Mermaids but also symbolises the spirit of adventure and inclusivity that defines the sailing community. The bond between Dublin Bay Mermaids and RNIYC promises a future filled with shared experiences and fond memories in Cultra Bay”.

Nolan has been told the ones to watch are Paddy Dillon in Wild Wind (131), Jim Carthy in Vee (123), Paul Smith in Sailing Jill (134) and Terry Rowan in Red Seal (121), who has a wild card.

Launching for the event is available on Friday, 3rd May, and full information can be found here

Published in Mermaid

Bangor in County Down had a coating of snow and ice on Wednesday morning this week, and the Marina didn’t escape either.

Temperatures are forecast to plummet as low as -8C over the coming days as Northern Ireland continues to feel the grip of cold Arctic air, according to the Met Office.

It was a beautiful sunny morning but certainly chilly, and the fresh water from the river in Ward Park in the centre of the town flowed underground into one corner of the marina.

When it is cold and calm, this freshwater floats over the saltier seawater and starts to freeze. If you take a closer look at the photograph (above), you'll spot this thin, slushy ice forming on top. As the marina office confirmed, “Thankfully, icebreakers were not required”.

Published in Belfast Lough

It will be all change in the operation of Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough from September 2024. This has been outsourced to a private operator since 1 April 2008, with the latest agreement expiring on 30 September 2024. An opportunity now exists for an experienced operator to take on the management of Bangor Marina and Harbour for the next 50 and a half years.

Bangor Marina and Harbour is one of the largest Five Gold Anchor-accredited marina developments in Ireland.

The 541-berth marina is accessible 24/7 at all states of tide and is home to an active fleet of leisure and commercial vessels. It attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world annually and is a real focal point in North Down.

The Bangor Regeneration team has recently notified that the tender process for a marina operator from September next year has commenced, with adverts in the press having been issued.

The Bangor Marina Berth Holders Association has handily summarised the details surrounding the process, and members have been given the following information:-

  • The contract period is to run for 50.5 years.
  • Marina operator should incorporate the boatyard into its business plan, although existing boatyard /brokerage and chandlery are currently leased to Sept 2028.
  • New operator to have a key role in devising and finalising plans for any redesign / investment in the marina.
  • Potential operator investment and attraction of additional complementary funding forms part of the tender evaluation process.
  • Potential bidders are expected to demonstrate they are suitably resourced and have recent experience of the management of three marinas of similar size.
  • Stage 1 of the process takes the form of a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. From the assessment of these returns it is intended that 5 potential bidders will be invited to tender in stage 2 of the process.
  • Stage 1 to be completed by 11 December 2023, Stage 2 completion of submissions by 11 March 2024.
  • Final selection by June 2024, new contract start date is October 2024.
  • Marine Projects Ltd are managing the procurement process, selections to made by a panel including Council representatives.

The estimated value listed on this Tender document is £100,000,000.

Marina and Harbour Manager Kevin Baird said about the project; “It's exciting to think about what Bangor Marina, the seafront, and Ballyholme could look like in 10 years. I'm really hoping that sprucing up our waterfront is just the start of making our city even better”.

Published in Irish Marinas

Northern Ireland's Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough has qualified as first responders for oil spills, earning the MCA P2 designation.

The Bangor Marina crew worked hard, combining classroom learning and practical exercises led by the experts at Ambipar Response UK, a leading environmental management company.

Ambipar’s experience in oil pollution was a huge help, and the team is now ready to tackle oil spills effectively, Marina Manager Kevin Baird said.

“It's great to see their commitment to protecting our seas from oil pollution. They're not just trained; they're passionate about making a difference. We're proud of their achievement and our ongoing commitment to safeguarding our marine environment,” Baird said.

Published in Belfast Lough

Ten RS Fevas from clubs around Belfast Lough rounded off their season with a Final Fling at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club recently.

After the initial strong wind died down to just in time to allow the event to take place, the fleet of ten boats came to the line, five from Ballyholme, including Kirsty and Rory McGovern, new to the class and five from the host club.

Race Officer Terry Rowan set the course and got three races away without delay. This was a bonus for the fleet to have the experience of three short races and practice at starts.

The Rideout sisters - Emily and Annabelle from Ballyholme, won Race 1, and Matt and Peter Rideout pipped them to the finish line on Race 2. However, the girls got back to win the third race and took the overall prize. Sally Nixon and Jess Dadley-Young from BYC got in three good races with a second and two thirds. Niamh Coman and Ellie Nolan (RNIYC) had their top result of a fifth and two sixths whilst Mum Aileen and son Louis were consistent to finish 4th overall. As the afternoon progressed the wind died to nothing, and the sailors were ably assisted to shore by the rescue crews.

After racing the competitors enjoyed a meal together, everyone being awarded prizes including the youngest helm and crew (Martha Nolan and Cara Coman), newcomers to the fleet (Izzy Stout and Amelie Stevenson) and best capsize (Finlay Pierce and Benjamin Wallace).

Published in RS Sailing

When the Vikings first swept into Belfast Lough around 800 AD, the lack of harbours was no problem, as the gently shelving beach at the wide expanse of Ballyholme Bay was ideal for hauling their longships ashore. Thus Ballyholme – whose name suggests a mixture of Norse and Irish – provided the beginnings of a Viking stronghold which developed eastward through the little natural though drying harbour of Groomsport, and on down to what is now Donaghadee inside the Copeland Islands at the nearest point to Scotland.

In the twelve hundred or so years since, the area has seen dominant rulers and cultures come and go. But it seems that underneath the contemporary affluent appearance of what is now known as the Gold Coast, a little knot of the determined Viking spirit has endured in Donaghadee, and there appears to have been a quiet but very tangible revolution recently.

The fishing port of Klaksvik is the heart of football enthusiasm in the Faroes. Cruising the islands can be a challenge. Although the tides go up and down very little, the tidal streams can roar through channels and past headlands like torrents, with boat-wrecking tide races resulting. As for the wind, it seldom blows steadily and horizontally, but goes up and down, with vertical gusts hitting the sea like gunfire.The fishing port of Klaksvik is the heart of football enthusiasm in the Faroes. Cruising the islands can be a challenge. Although the tides go up and down very little, the tidal streams can roar through channels and past headlands like torrents, with boat-wrecking tide races resulting. As for the wind, it seldom blows steadily and horizontally, but goes up and down, with vertical gusts hitting the sea like gunfire

For, just the other day, the good people of The ’Dee woke up to find that the street signs round their harbour had suddenly been changed to indicate that they are now part of the Faroe Islands, and thereby Danish in international terms.

FULMARS FOR LUNCH

Already, we’re assured that havestur, the favoured delicacy of Faroese cuisine, will be on the menu at the highly-regarded harbourside eateries. It’s an acquired taste – it’s marinated fulmar. But if you’re peckish enough - as in absolutely starving - you’ll manage it.

Also planned are several variations in the preparation of whale meat, as the most dedicated Faroese citizens-in-the-making in Donaghadee are determined that they will replicate the islands’ controversial grindadrap, the annual mass slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins.

BLOOD-LADEN AFFAIR

This is a blood-laden affair that the true-blue Faroese see as a non-negotiable part of their culture and heritage. The Donaghadee Faroese plan is to replicate it by temporarily sealing off one end of Donaghadee Sound inside the great Copeland Island, and then herding shoals of amiable whales towards it with typical northern industrial vigour.

Fun for all the family….the annual Grindadrap is seen as a non-negotiable part of Faroese heritageFun for all the family….the annual Grindadrap is seen as a non-negotiable part of Faroese heritage

Another challenge will be found in mastering the art of being a “Strong Farmer”, Faroese style. A Faroese Strong Farmer is the man or woman who has best mastered the art of lowering a sheep down the vertiginous cliffs to some ledge of otherwise inaccessible luscious grass and then – more importantly – getting the fattened sheep back up again. For Donaghadee, it is thought that training in this can best be done with some modifications to the artificial rock-climbing wall in the nearest Leisure Centre, but local abandoned quarries are also being considered.

 Being a sheep farmer in the Faroes involves skills not taught at your usual Agricultural College Being a sheep farmer in the Faroes involves skills not taught at your usual Agricultural College

FOOTBALL LINKS

The final piece in the Donaghadee-Into-The-Faroes project is the addition of Donaghadee soccer players into the deservedly famous Faroese team. The word is that a renowned small-but-perfectly-formed Donaghadee citizen of widely-communicated football interests has been approached with a view to taking up semi-permanent residence in the Faroese football heartland around the fishing port of Klaksvig. The feeling is that any crowd-funding project towards this personal re-location would be very generously supported.

As for the change’s sailing implications, it would mean that the many boats berthed in Bangor Marina would have the option of “going foreign” after a voyage of only six miles, and this might confer Duty Free benefits in storing up beforehand. So in all, Donaghadee-in-the-Faroes seems like a very good idea.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Two Belfast Lough sailors are racing in the 50th Anniversary Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Saturday from Cowes on the Isle of Wight and finishes in Cherbourg.

Ewan Finlay is racing as foredeck crew on Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II, an Archambault A13, the one and only A13 ever built. It was formerly known as Teasing Machine and sailed very successfully by a professional French crew. Phosphorus II was sixth overall in IRC in the 2021 Fastnet Race.

Belfast's Ewan Finlay (second left) on board Phosphorus II that competes in this Saturday's Fastnet Race from CowesBelfast's Ewan Finlay (second left) on board Phosphorus II that competes in this Saturday's Fastnet Race from Cowes

Ross Boyd is on onboard Robert Rendell’s Samatom from Howth. Regular Aflaot readers will recall she won the 2021 Sovereign's Cup Regatta Coastal Divison at the first attempt. Boyd says he is pleased that there are two RUYC members racing in this Fastnet, and he says he is “looking forward to the competition in the 104 boat class”.

This Saturday’s 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race will be the biggest offshore race of all time, with a record-breaking entry list of over 490 yachts for its 50th-anniversary edition.

At one point it was thought that the start might have to be delayed as a relatively brief but extremely strong period of southwest winds forecast seemed likely for Saturday afternoon and evening along the south coast of England, but the expected wind and weather conditions for the race while still unsettled, look to be averaging out

Starting from The Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the course is about 695 miles via the Fastnet Rock to the finish line at Cherbourg.

Published in Fastnet

On Monday last (17th), several search and rescue teams held a very active training session out of the village of Groomsport on the North Down coast.

Taking part alongside Lagan Search and Rescue’s Ribcraft Class 1 Lifeboat were Bangor Atlantic 85 inshore and Donaghadee’s Trent Class Lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bangor and Portaferry on Strangford Lough, as well as K9 Search and Rescue and safety boats from Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough.

 The Search and Rescue crews involved in the Joint Exercise on the North Down Coast The Search and Rescue crews involved in the Joint Exercise on the North Down Coast

The aim of the exercise was to replicate a scenario where a boat was sinking near the coastline, requiring survivors to evacuate to a life raft and swim to safety. During the exercise, lifeboats and Quayside Search and Rescue teams, as well as Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technicians, were used in the search for survivors.

Practice using a rescue raft during the SAR Joint Exercise on the North Down CoastPractice using a rescue raft during the SAR Joint Exercise on the North Down Coast

One of the scenarios practised by the Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technicians from LSAR, K9 SAR and Coastguard Rescue was using a rescue raft to practice extracting a casualty from rocks inaccessible by land or boat. They work as a team to swim the raft across a distance of water using ropes in a continuous loop across the water to bring back the casualty on the raft.

Lagan SAR said it was “an incredible opportunity to enhance our skills and knowledge during this exercise, and we're already looking forward to the next one! Thank you to Bangor RNLI for organising”.

Published in Belfast Lough
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On July 7th, the TS State of Maine, the current training ship of the Maine Maritime Academy, docked at the Gotto Wharf in the Herdman Channel in the Port of Belfast.

She was formerly in the United States Navy service as the USNS Tanner and assumed her present name and role in June 1997. She had been launched in 1990 as an oceanographic research ship.

Maine Maritime Academy is a public, co-educational college located in the coastal town of Castine in the state of Maine in the northeastern United States. The student population numbers approximately 950 in engineering, management, science, and transportation courses.

Four of the volunteers from the charity, the independent Lagan Search and Rescue, along with members of the K9 Search and Rescue NI and Bangor Coastguard Rescue, were welcomed aboard by Captain Gordon MacArthur. They met some of the 300 students and 70 qualified crew. The ship had arrived in Belfast, having visited Ponta Delgada, Portugal, Vigo in Spain, and Kiel in Germany.

She is now back in her homeport in Maine.

LSAR were pleased to have the chance to visit the ship:” Thank you to the Captain and crew of TS State of Maine for the invite and to Doyle Shipping Group for facilitating the visit”.

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Spring Series at Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough ran over three Sundays in April and attracted 12 cruiser racers. IRC winner after six races was the local boat, five points ahead of Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 Hijacker from Strangford Lough YC. Michael Eames’ All or Nothing was in third slot.

Final Call II light airs on the first day racing of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Spring Series Photo: courtesy TYTFinal Call II light airs on the first day racing of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Spring Series Photo: courtesy RUYC

In the Whitesail division, Vicki and Martin Dews’ Sigma 33 Elandra was the first of two starters, having something of an easy time of it as Jacada (Andrew Kennedy) sailed only two races.

Elandra, the Sigma 33 of Vicki and Martin Dews (left) with Ian Chapman's Cheoy Lee 36-ft Classic yachtElandra, the Sigma 33 of Vicki and Martin Dews (left) with Ian Chapman's Cheoy Lee 36-ft Classic yacht

The first day’s racing was in light winds, as was the second outing, with only the last meeting having anything of a decent breeze.

The Hijacker team looking relaxed at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Spring Series Photo: Bob EspeyThe Hijacker team looking relaxed at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Spring Series Photo: Bob Espey

For the first three races, Hijacker looked as if they were going to give Final Call II a run for their money with two wins and a second, but a drop to seventh in the final two races meant they were down to second overall. John Minnis says they can laugh about it now but in one of the early races, the crew was debating which spinnaker to use, only to find they actually had none on board. All were in the marina store.

It was good to see three boats new to the fleet - Elandra the Sigma 33, Alan Hannon’s JPK 1030 Coquine and Ian Chapman’s Cheoy Lee 36 Classic yacht.

At the prizegiving, Hon Secretary Catherine Gallagher thanked everyone who helped make the Spring Series successful. She also mentioned the new rating system, RYA YTC, which the club will use this year alongside the more traditional systems.

Michael Gunning, a Final Call II crewman on John Minnis's Archambault 35, the overall RUYC Spring Series winner with Barbara Coffey Photo: Fiona HicksMichael Gunning, a Final Call II crewman on John Minnis's Archambault 35, the overall RUYC Spring Series winner with Barbara Coffey Photo: Fiona Hicks

Stuart Cranston, skipper of Highjacker, the RUYC Spring Series runner up in IRC with Barbara Coffey Photo: Fiona HicksStuart Cranston, skipper of Highjacker, the RUYC Spring Series runner up in IRC with Barbara Coffey Photo: Fiona Hicks

Martin Dews, the Whitesail division winner of the RUYC Spring Series with Barbara Coffey Photo: Fiona HicksMartin Dews, the Whitesail division winner of the RUYC Spring Series with Barbara Coffey Photo: Fiona Hicks

The overall winner John Minnis was happy with the Series and the result of Final Call II. “Great series conditions and racing format for everyone… super to see so many yachts from different clubs creating some tight competition… the RUYC sailing committee, mark layers, battery team and Tom Bell of Grange Wine Merchants deserve special thanks for all their organisation and extremely generous sponsorship” He added, “Well done to the team on Final Call II who showed composure and commitment securing a series win only on the last day”.

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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