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Displaying items by tag: Common Fisheries Policy

#FishingBrexit - Northern Ireland’s fishery and marine science research vessel RV Corystes (1988/1,280grt) is an unusual caller to Cork Dockyard having arrived mid-month from the ship’s homeport of Belfast, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The UK flagged RV Corystes has been monitored by Afloat since arrival however the ship is scheduled to depart Cork Harbour this weekend.

RV Corystes was in 2005 transferred from CEFAS (see below) duties in the North Sea to Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). In the following year the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) was created and joined the Science Service of DARD (now DAERA) with the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ARINI).

Currently, the UK as a member state of the EU is one of several countries including Ireland that are part of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which operates to a restrictive licensing scheme. This enables the UK to meet important obligations under the CFP: that is the management of the fishing opportunities allocated to the UK fleet, and secondly the management of the overall fleet structure.

In the existing climate of Brexit negotiations, in which the UK are to leave the CFP, the issue has been raised by the Irish fishing industry which has major concerns. In addition to how both fishing fleets from either jurisdiction will be handled given unresolved contentious waters along the border.

The UK has the largest fishing waters within the EU followed by Ireland in which the State is allocated 4% of the total fish quota. However with the UK to depart the CFP, this will notably have an impact on the Republic’s fishing fleet which will no longer be permitted to operate within UK waters, plus forcing other EU member states to use Irish waters leading to further pressing issues.

DAERA through the AFBI owns and operates RV Corystes to a year round capability. This enables AFBI to pursue an integrated marine science programme in coastal waters within Northern Ireland, the Irish Sea and adjacent sea areas.

The vessel’s versatile platform provides opportunities to conduct a wide range of fisheries and marine environmental research to be undertaken.

AFBI also employs RV Corystes in direct support of the policy objectives of the DAERA fishery customer. They combined with a wide range of other customers, including DEFRA, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the European Commission.

The integrated marine science programme delivered by RV Corystes directly supports the key DAERA policy objective of sustainability of Irish Sea fisheries. This is contributing to the development of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, as required by the European Commission.

A comprehensive data on fish stocks coupled with the marine environment provided by RV Corystes allows AFBI to investigate implications of climate change for future fisheries and on environmental policy.

As referred above RV Corystes originally served CEFAS, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. They based the ship out of Cefas’s homeport of Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Published in Fishing

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that the Marine Institute is carrying out its annual Irish anglerfish and megrim survey (IAMS 2017) in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations from this Tuesday 14 February to Friday 17 March.

The IAMS is a demersal trawl and beam trawl survey consisting of around 85 otter trawls (60 minutes) and 25 beam trawls (30 minutes) in International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) area 7b, 7c, 7g, 7h, 7j and 7k off the West, South West and South Coasts.

Fishing in 2017 will take place within a three-nautical-mile radius of the positions indicated in Marine Notice No 5 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB), which will display all appropriate lights and signals during the survey and will also be listening on VHF Channel 16.

The vessel will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl or two 4m beam trawls during operations. The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators to keep a 3nm area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period outlined above.

While there is no statutory provision for the loss of gear at sea, the Marine Institute will make every effort to avoid gear adequately marked according to legislation that may be encountered in the notified areas.

In the event that an operator has static gear or other obstructions within 3nm of the points listed, it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the survey managers or vessel directly.

This should be communicated by identifying specifically which ‘station’ is of concern using the appendix and contact details provided in the Marine Notice. It is not required to provide positional details of commercial operations beyond 4nm of the survey points provided.

Specifics of any fishing gear or other obstructions that are known and cannot be kept clear of these survey haul locations can be notified using the contact details provided.

Published in Fishing

#Aquaculture - Marine Minister Simon Coveney yesterday (12 June) launched a public consultation on a draft National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development, proposing 24 actions and initiatives to boost the sustainable growth of aquaculture

The reformed Common Fisheries Policy requires EU member states to prepare multi-annual national strategic plans to drive forward the sustainable development of aquaculture, and the draft plan launched this week has been prepared in that context.

Commenting on the plan, Minister Coveney said: “Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry internationally with very rapid expansion opportunities identified over the coming decades to meet the ever growing seafood demand arising from population growth and increased consumption in Asia.

"Aquaculture internationally produced 67 million tonnes of farmed fish in 2012 and it is projected to increase to 85 million tonnes by 2022. That global projection to increase aquaculture production by 18 million tonnes by 2022, puts in context the proposals in the National Strategic Aquaculture Plan to increase Irish aquaculture production by 45,000 tonnes, across all species, by 2023.

"While the targets in the plan are ambitious in the context of the past performance of this industry nationally, they are modest in the context of the global expansion which this industry will experience over the next seven years.”

Minister Coveney added that “our aquaculture industry has long been recognised as an area with potential to grow significant value and employment and to sustainably provide the raw material to enhance our processed seafood exports. Clearly, that has not happened and there are many complex reasons for that.

"At the same time, concerns have been raised about the environmental sustainability of the industry. In this plan, I have sought to identify all of the issues affecting both the growth potential and sustainability of the aquaculture industry and I am proposing a suite of 24 tailored actions to boost sustainable growth, while allaying legitimate areas of concern.

"With these initiatives, I believe we can get our aquaculture sector back on a path of sustainable growth and provide much needed jobs in our coastal communities."

Actions proposed in the draft plan include the introduction of a set of guiding principles for the sustainable development of aquaculture, recommended to the minister by the Marine Institute, together with scale limits and phasing in relation to the development of individual offshore salmon farms, also recommended by the Marine Institute. 

Other initiatives include a review of the regulatory framework for aquaculture licensing and associated administrative procedures, and financial supports to build capacity, foster knowledge, innovation and technology transfer and expert advice and training for aquaculture operators in business planning, disease management and environmental best practice.

Submissions on the draft plan and related environmental report and appropriate assessment are invited by 24 July 2015 to [email protected] Relevant documents are available for download HERE.

Published in Fishing

#seafood – Following months of intense lobbying and negotiation, Minister Coveney today secured €148 million from this fund for the period 2014 to 2020 for the development of the Irish seafood industry and the coastal communities that depend upon it. Welcoming this announcement the Minister said 'This funding is more than double the amount that was available to Ireland during the last Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and will ensure a strong fishing industry in Ireland that can grow expand to meet its potential up to 2020."

In announcing the EU funding, Minister Coveney said "The new CFP is a major overhaul of the way which fishing is carried out in EU waters, the purpose of which is to provide a framework for the long term sustainability of fish stocks and the whole industry. The fund will provide support for our fishing fleet to meet the challenges of the new discards ban; it will support the development of the seafood processing sector, a sustainable aquaculture industry and the communities that depend on a vibrant seafood industry."

The Minister went on to say that "I am satisfied the €148 million which I was able to negotiate for Ireland from the new fund will help our seafood industry to develop and maintain long term sustainability and economic strength. This is more than double the amount of funding that was available to Ireland in the last period from 2007 to 2013 and is, I believe, the level of the investment needed to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the Irish seafood industry."

Ireland must now prepare a programme setting out the arrangements for spending the fund and submit this to the Commission by 20 October 2014. The Department has been working on the new Operational Programme since 2013 and has engaged with stakeholders on a number of occasions to date. Further public consultation and strategic environmental assessment will take place over the summer 2014. The Minister added "We have already being consulting stakeholders on the framework for the new programme. Now that we know the amount of funds we have available we can finalise these consultations and put in place an ambitious programme of support that delivers on the priorities of the fishing industry and other stakeholders."

Under the new CFP, which was negotiated to completion under the Irish Presidency of the EU in 2013, a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund has now been established to support the delivery of the new policy.

Published in Fishing

#fishing – Minister Simon Coveney was guest speaker today at the 9th North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen, Norway. The Minister was invited to speak to open the plenary session of the forum on the importance of seafood for global food security. The Minister was also invited to address the Global Fisheries Policy & Management seminar at the Forum on the new reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy and its impact on the seafood industry. The new Common Fisheries Policy was negotiated to conclusion by the Irish Presidency in 2013. Minister Coveney was the only EU Fisheries Minister to be invited to speak at this prestigious event.

Minster Coveney, along with BIM and representatives of the Irish seafood industry also took the opportunity to meet with a number of major Norwegian seafood companies with a view to broadening and deepening cooperation to the mutual benefit of the Norwegian and Irish seafood sectors. The Minister also had a fruitful bilateral meeting with his Norwegian counterpart where they discussed issues of common interest, including the ongoing negotiations on North East Atlantic Mackerel which is of such importance to both countries.

Minister Coveney said "I have a passionate interest in how we manage the oceans and coastal areas for the benefit of future generations and that's why I was delighted to accept the invitation to speak here today. The importance of the opportunities afforded by sustainable aquaculture and sustainable sea fisheries in contributing to global food security cannot be underestimated. Those opportunities are indeed vast and provide a huge opportunity for delivering economic growth and jobs in the seafood sector."

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Draft rules for allocating European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) aid to help fishermen comply with the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requirements were informally agreed late last month, after several three-way meetings between European Parliament, Council and Commission.

The rules should now be approved at the first reading, before the end of the current parliament.

"This was the final chapter of the negotiations," said rapporteur Alain Cadec. "With the political agreement reached tonight we will have an ambitious European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for 2014-2020. This is a real victory for the European Parliament, which was heeded by the Council and the Commission.

"The tug of war between the institutions in December allowed Parliament to return to the negotiating table with a strong position and reach a very satisfactory agreement regarding in particular the financial breakdown and engine renewal."

Parliament’s negotiators improved the Commission proposal, especially on collecting and managing fisheries data, which are needed for example, to set the Maximum Sustainable Yield required by the new CFP rules (MSY, meaning the largest catch that can be safely taken year after year and which maintains the fish population size at maximum productivity).

MEPs ensured that €520 million - a considerable increase over the original Commission proposal - of the EMFF budget will be earmarked for data collection.

Another negotiating success for Parliament was to require each member state with a significant small-scale coastal fishing fleet to table an action plan setting out a strategy for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of these fisheries, which play a key role in ensuring the vitality of coastal areas.

MEPs also amended the EMFF proposal to allow fishermen under 40 years old to be granted up to €75,000 in individual start-up support if they buy a small-scale and coastal fishing vessel between 5 and 30 years old and have five years' professional experience in the sector.

In addition, Parliament added EMFF support for withdrawing, replacing or modernising engines for vessels up to 24 metres long, including an requirement for those of 12-24 metres that the new engine's power output be less than that of the engine it replaces. However, an amendment to reintroduce fleet renewal subsidies was rejected.

To give effect to Parliament's agreement with the Council on the forthcoming CFP, which obliges member states to set sustainable fishing quotas from 2015 and introduces a ban on discarding unwanted fish, the EMFF will help fishermen to comply with the new rules by supporting investments in more selective fishing gear or equipment to facilitate handling, landing and storage of unwanted catches.

EMFF aid will also be used to improve safety and working conditions, data collection and port infrastructure.

After a plenary vote in October to open negotiations with the Council, the agreement will now be put to a vote in the Fisheries Committee before seeking final approval by the full House in April.

Published in Fishing

#ReformedCFP- By coincidence on today's public auction of decommissioned L.E. Emer, which carried out countless fishery maritime patrols, MEP's are to vote on the EU's new policy of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF): 2014-2020, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The EMFF is the third and final legislative file in the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP) which has seen the fishing industry particularly dependent on subsidies down through the years.

The subsidies account for 40% of the landing price accounted for from both direct and indirect public funded monies. The upgrading of existing boats and new vessels provided by grants further accentuates problems by impacting on reducing fish stocks.

The Environmental Pillar are calling on MEP's to end years of over-fishing in the industry which has progressively led to lost jobs due to subsidiary-driven growth and renovation of the EU's trawler fleet.

The umbrella group comprises 26 national environmental organizations that campaign to protect and enhance the environment and also promote economic creation through sustainable eco-systems.

In addition Environmental Pillar are seeking increased financial aid to gather data collection, control and enforcement of the industry.

Among those making up the diverse group are: An Taisce, CoastWatch, Irish Whale & Dolphin Group, Irish Doctors' Environmental Association, Irish Natural Forestry Foundation and Zero Water Tolerance.

 

Published in Fishing

#CFP - RTÉ News reports that the "final battle" before reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) comes up today as a European Parliament committee votes on the changes led by the Irish Presidency of the EU in the first half of this year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Europe's fisheries ministers agreed in May to a new policy that sets quotas based on scientific advice, with the aim of achieving healthy fish stocks and ultimately higher quotas as stocks are managed sustainably.

The reforms were pushed by Marine Minister Simon Coveney during his presidency of the EU Fisheries Council. The minister also made as his priority the ending of the practice of fish discards, a subject of much public outcry following revelations that as much as 50% of the catch in the North Sea is thrown back dead in the water.

Meanwhile, Ireland's additional quotas under the Hague Preferences have also been retained, a move that comes as some relief to the Irish fishing industry - which will also benefit from CFP amendments that would support the renewal of older fishing fleets.

However, conservation groups fear that these proposals would see the EU's fishing fleets grow to a size that far exceeds the available fisheries resource in European waters.

Published in Fishing

#CFP - The deal reached between EU fisheries ministers this morning on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) should bring an end to the practice of fish discards within the next six years, according to Ireland's Marine Minister.

As reported earlier today on Afloat.ie, Minister Simon Coveney emerged from 36 hours of talks in Brussels confident that a far-reaching reform on fisheries policy had been reached.

RTÉ News reports that the compromise deal will see a 93% ban on discards take immediate effect, phasing towards a full ban by 2019, with special allowances made in certain cases where sustainability of fish stocks allows.

Minister Coveney, as president of the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers during Ireland's EU presidency, will submit the agreed reforms to the European Parliament - which has previously been steadfast in its demands for a complete ban on fish discards to halt the depletion of fish stocks in European waters.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this week's discussions on fisheries reform in Brussels have been described as a "once-in-a-decade opportunity" to end the wasteful practice of fish discards, which has seen as much as 50% of the catch in the North Sea is thrown back overboard dead.

Published in Fishing

#CFP - 'Fight Fight' campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall writes on the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog that this week's upcoming discussions among the EU's fisheries ministers is a "once-in-a-decade opportunity" to end the practice of fish discards.

The TV chef, who has long campaigned against the practice of discarding fish in Europe's seas under the quota system implemented by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), hopes that this week's discussions among EU ministers over the final text to submit to the European Parliament includes "a proper discard ban - one that will finally eliminate the disgraceful waste of fish that occurs under the current system".

Though all parties involved have agreed in principle to ban discards, Fearnley-Whittingstall believes "we're in the endgame: a tussle between the parliament and the ministers over the final shape of the new CFP" - with "powerful fishing countries such as France and Spain happier to see the current broken system continue, rather than deal with the awkward aspects of transforming their fisheries into a sustainable, profitable and growing sector".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Ireland's Marine Minister Simon Coveney - president of the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers - is pushing for ministers to focus on the most critical elements such as fish discards in their discussions on CFP reform in Brussels from tomorrow 13 May.

Published in Fishing
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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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