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Plans for a new light rail bridge across the River Lee in Cork city centre have sparked concerns that the project would prevent any passage of vessels and “sterilise the city forever for future generations”.

The Echo reported last week on the multi-billion-euro transport plan for Cork that includes a light rail system similar to the Luas in Dublin, with a 25-stop route that could cross the city via a new bridge at Kent Station to the South Docklands.

This is the proposal that has raised the ire of Michael McCarthy, chairman of cruising industry network Cruise Europe, who fears the bridge would cut off the city from its maritime heritage.

McCarthy cites the pontoon by the coffee pods on Lapps Quay — “nothing but a few small rowing boats” — as an example of what could happen to the city without free access for vessels of all sizes.

And he argues that some councillors and officials who will be responsible for considering these plans have “no feel or empathy for the maritime or the marine”.

“The river made Cork City what it is today and now they are intent on sterilising it for ever when there is a very viable alternative,” he adds — suggesting that the light rail system could instead follow the old Cork-Blackrock-Passage-Crosshaven line using the existing bridges from Kent Station to City Hall.

Cork City councillors were briefed last week by the National Transport Authority on the plans, which form part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).

Next month a specialist team will be commissioned to analyse all route options for the scheme, which is expected to cost €1 billion in total. The Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

A local surfing school instructor raced to the rescue of a teenage boy caught in a rip current off a Co Cork beach at the weekend, as CorkBeo reports.

Luke Chambers of the Swell Surf School was with a surf class off Inch Beach near Whitegate on Sunday (26 July) when he spotted three teen sea swimmers in distress nearby.

Acting fast, Chambers got his surf students back on the beach safely before paddling out to the three boys as they were dragged out to sea by the sudden tide.

One of the stricken trio had managed to get onto a rocky reef, and the surfer assisted a second to climb onto the same reef.

Meanwhile, another man whom Chambers describes as an “angel” was keeping the third boy’s head above water, and they used the surfboard to bring him back to the beach where he was attended to by paramedics.

The boy, since named as Joey Kinahan, was taken to hospital as a precaution but has made a full recovery depite coming close to drowning.

CorkBeo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under

The Irish Times reports that a 35-year-old man was airlifted to hospital with serious spinal injuries after a diving incident in Co Cork yesterday afternoon (Monday 1 June).

It’s understood that the man was diving from rocks near Nohoval Cove, between Kinsale and Crosshaven, when his foot caught and he landed on rocks.

Kinsale RNLI and gardaí attended the scene along with the Irish Coast Guard, which airlifted the casualty on board the Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter to Cork University Hospital.

Elsewhere, the search resumed this morning for a five-year-old boy believed to have fallen from a dinghy on Lough Mask.

RTÉ News reports that gardaí and the coastguard are searching the west side of the lough near Toormakeady in Co Mayo.

Published in Rescue

In light of the rapidly evolving situation and public health measures due to the coronavirus, a decision has been taken to postpone European Maritime Day in Cork Harbour until later this year.

The European Maritime Day Team released the following statement regarding European Maritime Day 2020:

Dear speaker, dear workshop organiser, dear stakeholder,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support for European Maritime Day (EMD) 2020 in Cork, Ireland on 14-15 May.

Given the implications of coronavirus for all countries including restrictions on travel, it is with regret that, together with Cork City Council and the Irish Marine Coordination Group, we have decided to defer EMD.

We are currently looking into possible alternative dates later in the year and will keep you posted.

We thank you for your understanding and hope that you will be able to join us in Cork later in 2020.

Published in Cork Harbour

Sunday 15 March is the deadline to apply for a stand at the European Maritime Day Expo in Cork this May.

Ahead of the official launch of registration later this month for the conference taking place at Cork City Hall on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 May, applications are now open for stands at the Expo taking place over the two days.

European Maritime Day (EMD) is the annual EU meeting point on maritime affairs and a sustainable blue economy, and targets maritime professionals, entrepreneurs and ocean leaders.

This year’s conference will also be held back-to-back with SeaFest, Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime festival.

As such, EMD is an ideal place for maritime stakeholders to showcase innovative ideas, products and services related to the conference themes, as well as to meet, exchange experiences and discuss the latest developments on blue economy.

Get more information from the EMD website, and apply for a stand at the EMD Expo HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour

#Rowing: Hugh Sutton of UCC Rowing Club was the overall winner of the 48th Cork Sculling Ladder time trial, which was run on calm water and on an outgoing tide at the Marina on the River Lee on Sunday. Sutton covered the 1800 metres in seven minutes and 3.4 seconds. Jessica Legresley of Shandon Boat Club won the women’s trial in 7:57.5.

 Two previous winners of the the ladder, Jack Dorney and Andy Harrington, set a time of 6:42.1 as they won the first coxless pairs time trial. Amy Mason and Grace Collins won the the women’s pairs time trial in 7:36.1.

 The event, which was sponsored by Argos Fire, had a big entry. The oldest competitor on the day was 83-year-old Seamus Quane of Shandon Boat Club.

 The sculling and coxless pairs ladders continue with two-boat racing until March 2020.     

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Irish crews added four more wins to their haul over the weekend at the World Masters Regatta at Lake Velence in Hungary. The wins came on Saturday. Denis Crowley featured in a composite eight, which beat strong British opposition, and in a four – bringing his personal tally to eight wins. Brendan Smyth and Patrick Fowler of Commercial won in the double and Milo and Pat Murray of Cappoquin won the in the pair. A mixed eight finished second on Sunday.

World Masters Regatta, Lake Velence, Hungary (Selected Results; Irish interest; Winners)

Saturday

Men

Eight  (E – avg 55 or more): Galway, Belfast BC, Neptune, Clonmel, Commercial, Shannon (G Murphy, A McCallion, K McDonald, D Crowley, F O’Toole, O McGrath, G O’Neill, C Hunter, M McGlynn) 3:04.90

Four (D – avg 50 or more): Commercial, Neptune (B Smyth, F O’Toole, G Murphy, D Crowley) 3:24.72.

Pair (F – avg 60 or more): Cappoquin (P Murray, M Murray) 6:12.10.

Sculling, Double (C – avg 43 or more): Commercial (B Smyth, F Fowler) 3:28.39.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Denis Crowley of Commercial brought his tally of wins to a remarkable six after three days at the World Masters Regatta in Budapest. In just one day, the 57-year-old won in the coxless four and twice in the single sculls – in the C class (43 years or more) and the E class for 55 or more. The decision to form composite crews again paid off for the Irish, with wins in the C eight and the D coxed four, along with Crowley’s haul.

World Masters Regatta, Budapest, (Selected Results, Irish interest, winners)

Friday

Men

Eight

(C – 43 or more): Heat Four: Commercial, Cork, Neptune, Clonmel, Shannon, Galway, Castleconnell (B Crean, B Smyth, R Carroll, O McGrath, G O’Neill, P Fowler, B O’Shaughnessy, K McDonald; cox: M McGlynn) 3:09.75.

Four

(E – 55 or more) Heat Five: Commercial, Neptune, Belfast BC, Galway (D Crowley, G Murphy, C Hunter, A McCallion)

Four, coxed

(D – 50 or more) Heat 3: Galway, Neptune, Castleconnell, Clonmel (G O’Neill, O McGrath, B O’Shaughnessy, T Dunn; cox: M McGlynn) 3:35.89.

Sculling, Single

(C - 43 or more) Heat 19: Commercial (D Crowley) 3:49.92.

(E – 55 or more) Heat 8: Commercial (Crowley)

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Cork clubs had a set of good results in the first session of Sunday finals at the Irish Rowing Championships at the National Rowing Centre.

Cork Boat Club's junior women's pair started the ball rolling, while Skibbereen then took their second title of Championships as Aodhan Burns proved a strong winner of the lightweight single sculls.

Margaret Cremen of UCC had a huge win in the lightweight single sculls, and Lee added the junior men's double to the junior quadruple title they had won on Saturday.

The tighest finish came in the men's club coxed four. NUIG made a tremendous effort to catch St Michael's of Limerick but they fell short by just .329 of a second.

Commercial of Dublin and Fermanagh's Enniskillen Royal Boat Club are having a good reatta. Enniskillen won the men's intermediate pair, while Commercial won the womens intermediate coxed four.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Holly Davis gave the crowds a sensational result at the Irish Championships. The Lee Valley girl came through a good battle with Eabha Benson of St Michael's, to pull away and win. The remarkable thing is that Davis is just 14. She does not turn 15 until January 10th next year, leaving her with four years at Junior level.

The men's junior coxed four also electrified the crowd: Colaiste Iognaid and Enniskillen duked it out down the course. The Galway crew got away to win as their emotional supporters roared them on.

Youth was the theme of this regatta: Kevin O'Donovan, who is a junior, won the club single, while Anna Tyther, also under 18 teamed up with Zoe Hyde to win the intermediate double for Killorglin.

The three other titles on offer in this first Saturday session went three different ways: Commercial's strong senior men's programme was on show as they won the men's quadruple; Cork had a fine win in the intermediate men's eight; Trinity's A crew won the women's novice eight.

Published in Rowing
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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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