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#Angling - Submissions are now open in a public consultation hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) around a proposed angling bye-law which focuses on the conservation of sea trout and brown trout on the River Bandon.

The new bye-law aims to help conserve the numbers of brown trout of all sizes taken from upstream areas of the river and its tributaries, as well as the numbers of young sea trout taken in the lower river and upper estuary.

There is currently no minimum length size specified when catching and retaining a sea trout or brown trout on the river. In addition, there is no ‘bag limit’ on the number of brown trout an angler can retain.

The new bye-law would set a minimum length of 25 centimetres for any sea trout or any brown trout caught and retained on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries, and a bag limit of not more than three brown trout per day on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries.

The bye-law would also require anglers to fish by catch-and-release methods, ban the use of worms, and allow only single barbless hooks in angling for brown trout once the three per-day bag limit had been reached.

Interested parties should make a submission to the consultation in writing. Submissions should be marked ‘Public consultation – River Bandon (Conservation of Trout)’ and be submitted by post to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Sunnyside House, Macroom, Co Cork, P12 X602 or by email to [email protected]

The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Monday 31 December. All submissions received by IFI will be published on its website at www.fisheriesireland.ie.

Published in Angling

#Angling - The Connacht Angling Council has welcomed the new bye-law providing special protection for wild brown trout in the great western lakes.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Designated Salmonid Waters Bye-law was signed last Thursday 25 October by the new Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton.

It means that Loughs Carra, Conn, Cullin and Mask in Mayo, Lough Corrib in Co Galway, Lough Arrow in Cos Sligo and Roscommon, and Lough Sheelin in Westmeath, Meath, Cavan and Longford will now be managed exclusively for the benefit of wild brown trout.

“We are delighted [former Environment] Minister Kyne took on board our grave concerns regarding the future of wild brown trout stocks in western lakes,” said Martin Kinneavy, chair of the Connacht Angling Council.

"There is now a sincere and genuine commitment to develop wild brown trout stocks in western lakes and a copper-fastened strategy to deal with the threat of predator pike.

“Our world famous Irish wild brown trout fisheries are now protected by law from pike and can reach their full trout angling potential.”

A previous bye-law in relation to the protection of pike in these waters will now no longer apply – which has raised the ire of pike anglers in the affected region.

Members of the Irish Pike Society are preparing a mass protest for the constituency offices of Minister Bruton and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as well as Leinster House.

They argue that the bye-law changes “will decimate a section of the Irish angling industry which supports over 11,000 jobs and contributes almost €1bn to the Irish economy,” according to the society’s secretary Paul Byrne.

“The Irish Pike Society have over the past months engaged legal counsel and are fully prepared to challenge Minister Bruton in the High Court,” he added.

Published in Angling
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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

#Angling - Seán Kyne, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, has signed off three new angling bye-laws which affect the Corrib catchment in Galway and Mayo.

The bye-laws, which have been requested by local angling clubs, concern the Abbert and Grange Rivers, the Clare River and the Cong River and Canal, and reflect the support of the clubs for the conservation imperative and the sustainable management of the local fisheries resource.

The Abbert and Grange Rivers (Annual Close Season) Bye-Law extends the closed season for all angling on the Abbert and Grange Rivers by two months to cover the period from the 1st of September until the 31st of March annually.

This bye-law is being introduced at the request of the angling clubs on the Clare system and will act as a vital conservation measure.

Both rivers make a significant contribution to wild brown trout stocks in the Clare River system and Lough Corrib. The new bye-law will afford greater protection to spawning salmonids in these two very important tributaries of the Clare River.

The Western Fisheries Region River Clare (Revocation) Bye-Law permits all legal angling methods on the Clare River from Daly’s Bridge in the townland of Corrandrum to a point 300 metres upstream of the footbridge at Anbally in the townlands of Anbally and Turloughmartin, Co Galway.

This section of river was previously restricted to fly fishing only. However, this new bye-law will bring this short section of the river into line with the rest of the Clare River. This bye-law was introduced at the request of the local angling club.

The Upper and Lower Limits of Cong River and Cong Canal Bye-Law clearly defines the upstream boundary between Lough Mask and the Cong Canal and the downstream boundary between the Cong River and Lough Corrib.

The purpose of the bye-law is to enable the effective enforcement of legislation governing the open angling seasons for trout and salmon on the Cong Canal/River as these differ from the open seasons for these species on Loughs Corrib and Mask.

This bye-law will also remove any difficulty in identifying the correct angling season at the extremities of the Cong River/Canal and will afford greater protection to highly prized ferox trout which are known to spawn in the Cong River/Canal.

“We welcome the introduction of these bye-laws in Galway and Mayo which will help us to enforce relevant legislation and enhance the resource in the long term,” said Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne.

“The introductions of these bye-laws follow public consultations whereby stakeholders were invited to input their views and insights into the proposed new regulations. Inland Fisheries Ireland’s fisheries officers will now protect these rivers in line with the new laws in place.”

Anglers are requested to familiarise themselves with the details of the new bye-laws, which can be found on the website of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment.

Published in Angling

#InlandWaters - The new Heritage Bill passed by the Dáil last week will not mandate inland waterways officers to present copies of relevant bye-laws to canal users, where in print or electronically.

Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív’s proposed amendment to the text was shot down as “unnecessary” by Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan in the debate stage.

“Other enforcement agencies and bodies, such as conservation rangers, gardaí and inland fisheries officers, operate in the same way,” she said. “It is good practice for users of the waterways to become familiar with the legislation governing the waterways and the marine notices in place. It would confuse the role of the authorised officer.”

The minister clarified that access to relevant bye-laws governing the use of inland waterways “is not an issue”.

“They will be available on devices, such as smartphones or tablets. I cannot accept a situation, however, where temporary unavailability, such as a dropped phone or a gap in internet signal, results in the authorised officer being unable to carry out his or her functions,” Minister Madigan said.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - Three new angling bye-laws have been introduced in the Eastern River Basin District by Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, Sean Kyne.

Conservation of Coarse Fish and Pike Dundalk District (Lough Muckno) Bye-law No 950, 2017 has been introduced for Lough Muckno, near Castleblaney in Co Monaghan.

This bye-law provides for catch and release for all coarse fish and pike on the lough. Anglers must use keep nets to hold any coarse fish or pike and all fish are to be subsequently released.

The regulations apply to Lough Muckno including Gas Lake and the waters up to Derrygreevy Bridge, the tributary up to Frankfort Bridge, County Water up to Wallace’s Bridge and the Clarebane River up to Clarebane Bridge.

On Lough Lene in Collinstown, Co Westmeath, the Annual Close Season Bye-law No 322, 2017 now applies.

This new bye-law has extended the open season such that anglers fishing for brown trout or rainbow trout can now fish from 1 March until 12 October.

On the River Vartry in Co Wicklow, the River Vartry System (Conservation Bag Limit) Bye-law No 952, 2017 has been introduced.

An angler is now permitted to take one sea trout (40cm or less) per day from the river during the open season, which runs from 1 March to 30 September. The River Vartry is closed for fishing for salmon and sea trout over 40cm.

All three bye-laws came into effect on 1 October 2017.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Dublin director Brian Beckett said: “These new bye-laws are designed to protect and conserve a range of fish species while supporting important angling amenity activities within the Eastern River Basin District.

“These fish populations are valuable from a number of perspectives including biological diversity and angling amenity and Inland Fisheries Ireland hope that these measures serve to reinforce the importance of protecting and conserving all our fisheries in the future.”

Published in Angling

#Angling - An angling bye-law focusing on salmon and sea trout has come into effect for Burrishoole, Co Mayo.

Sean Kyne, Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, introduced the Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout Shramore (Burrishoole)(Catch and Release) Bye Law No 951 into operation on Tuesday 13 June.

The new bye-law provides for catch and release angling for salmon and sea trout over 40cm in length in the Shramore (Burrishoole) system, and applies to Lough Furnace and the Seven Arch Bridge on the L5435 (old Newport Road). 

Operative from Wednesday 14 June till Saturday 30 September, the bye-law and provides for the use of single barbless hooks while prohibiting the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout.

‘Catch and release’ angling refers to the method of carefully handling any fish caught and immediately returning the fish alive to the water. This form of angling has a significant positive impact on the survival rate of released fish. 

In addition, salmon and sea trout caught by fly fishing using single barbless hooks have a greater chance of survival than fish caught on barbed hooks. Barbless hooks do less damage, are easier to remove and reduce handling time which can be an important factor influencing survival.

Salmon and sea trout are some of Ireland’s main wild fish species attracting domestic and overseas anglers alike. Angling contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually and supports upwards of 11,000 jobs which are often in rural communities.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, chief executive of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Our salmon and sea trout stocks are extremely valuable. These new measures at Shramore, Burrishoole, will allow us to introduce a number of important methods which will help us protect these populations into the future.”

Anglers are requested to familiarise themselves the details of the new bye-law, available as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - A new bye-law to help conserve brown trout has been introduced in for the Shannon River Basin District.

Seén Kyne, Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, introduced the Conservation of Trout (No.8 or Limerick District) Bye-Law no.949 of 2017 into operation on Wednesday (14 June).

The new bye-law outlines a number of regulations around trout angling in the area.

It provides for an annual closed fishing season in certain waters, a daily bag limit of brown trout, a minimum size of trout to be taken in the specified waters and maximum number of rods to be used at any one time.

The waters included are the River Shannon, Lough Sheelin, Lough Derravaragh, Lough Owel, Lough Ennell, Lough Ree and Lough Derg, which are all located in the Limerick District.

Brown trout is one of Ireland’s indigenous fish species and is highly regarded by most domestic and tourist anglers alike, making it one of Ireland’s most valuable angling species.

Due to Ireland’s temperate climate and the shallow productive nature of its lakes, Ireland is the only country in Western Europe where lakes can support large trout stocks, which provides unique angling opportunities for fly fishermen.

Research commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) indicates that expenditure by brown trout anglers contributes in the region of €148 million to the Irish economy annually.

Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District for IFI, said: “Trout is a valuable angling species which needs to be managed in a conservation focused manner. The new measures will help improve brown trout stocks and ensure they continue to provide quality angling for local and tourist anglers alike into the future.”

Anglers are requested to familiarise themselves with the details of the new bye-law, which will be made available on the IFI website.

Published in Angling
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#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to proposals to introduce two bye-laws on the Clare River system, and a bye-law defining the upstream and downstream boundaries of the Cong Canal/River – both in the Western River Basin District.

The proposals currently under consideration for the Clare River sysrem are to request the minister to introduce two bye-laws as follows:

  • Revoke bye-law 841 of 2008 to permit all legal angling methods on the Clare River from Daly’s Bridge in the townland of Corrandrum to a point 300m upstream of the footbridge at Anbally in the townlands of Anbally and Turloughmartin, Co Galway. This section of river is currently fly-only and the proposed bye-law will bring it into line with the rest of the Clare River.
  • Extend the closed season for all angling on the Abbert and Grange Rivers by two months to cover the period 1 September to 31 March annually. This bye-law is being proposed as a conservation measure having regard to the very significant contribution of both of these rivers to wild brown trout stocks in the Clare River system and Lough Corrib.

Meanwhile, the proposal under consideration for the Cong Canal/River is to request a bye-law that would clearly define the upstream boundary between Lough Mask and the Cong Canal and the downstream boundary between the Cong River and Lough Corrib.

The purpose of the proposed bye-law is to enable the effective enforcement of legislation governing the open angling seasons for trout and salmon on the Cong Canal/River as these differ from the open seasons for these species on Loughs Corrib and Mask.

If considered necessary, IFI may decide to arrange a public consultation meeting on any or all of the proposed bye-laws. All submissions must be received in writing and will be published on the IFI website.

Submissions should be marked 'Public consultation- Clare River system' or 'Public consultation - Cong Canal/River' respectively, and be submitted by email to [email protected] or by post to:

The Director,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Teac Breac,
Earl’s Island,
Galway

The public consultation period will run for four weeks and the closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Thursday 11 August 2016.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking submissions from interested parties in respect of a number of proposed Bye-laws pertaining to the Eastern and Neagh Bann International River Basin Districts.

IFI intends requesting the minister to introduce these Bye-laws with a view to enabling improved management of these waters in a sustainable manner.

The key Bye-laws to be introduced and the areas being considered for review are as follows:

  • To set the annual close season for angling for all trout species for Lough Lene, Co. Westmeath to the period 13 October to the last day of February inclusive.
  • To introduce a bag limit of one sea trout under 40cm (the River Vartry is a closed fishery under the Salmon and Sea trout Angling Regulations, 2016) per day during the angling season on the River Vartry from the date of the signing of these regulations to the 31 December 2018.
  • To prohibit the killing of any coarse fish or pike from the waters of Lough Muckno, Co Monaghan from the date of the signing of these regulations to the 31 December 2018.

IFI may, as part of the process, arrange a public consultation meeting if deemed necessary, but all submissions must be received in writing and will be published on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website at www.fisheriesireland.ie.

All submissions received by IFI will be published on its website. In addition, IFI is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and therefore has to consider any request made to it under that Act. If you consider that any part of your submission would be subject to any of the statutory exclusions under that Act please so indicate in your submission, specifying under which exemption you believe the content should be excluded.

Submissions should be clearly marked ‘ERBD Byelaw Consultation’ and sent by email to [email protected] or by post to:

The Director,
Inland Fisheries Ireland Dublin,
3044 Lake Drive,
Citywest,
Dublin 24

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm on 13 June 2016.

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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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