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Displaying items by tag: Corrib

Oscar Wilde’s surgeon dad waxed lyrical about it, Vikings lost their weapons in it, and poitín makers and anglers have shared their knowledge of its rocks and islands.

The Corrib – this island’s second largest lake after Lough Neagh – is also host for the Cong-Galway yacht race, which is said to be Europe’s oldest contest of its type.

Game anglers are well familiar with the Corrib, but the catchment could also be Ireland’s Cumbria, a new group says.

The Corrib Beo catchment partnership, which is holding its first conference later this week in Galway (May 2), describes itself as a “coalition of activists and interest groups” which aims to realise a new “shared vision” for the freshwater environment.

It aims to develop a 25-year plan for the entire system extending from Cong and Lisloughrey to Galway city.

“The Wild Atlantic Way is attracting record numbers, but those same visitors attracted to the coastline should know that the Corrib is the pendant on that necklace,” Corrib Beo co-founder Denis Goggin, says.

The Corrib is a special area of conservation, and surgeon Sir William Wilde was author of its best-known history, Lough Corrib: Its Shores and Islands, published in 1867.

A 4,500-year-old log boat was among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft and several Viking-style battle axes discovered over five years ago by marine surveyor Capt Trevor Northage during his work to update the charts of the lake.

The 44 km-long waterway is managed by a number of State agencies and the two local authorities in Galway and Mayo. The lake rich in wildlife faces constant pressures from pollution and invasive species, such as the curly waterweed, Lagarosiphon Major, which Inland Fisheries Ireland has been tackling.

The Corrib Navigation Trustees, who report to Galway City Council, are responsible for maintenance of navigation aids, piers, the Eglinton canal system and associated walkways and lock gates.

Irish walkers are well familiar with the quartzite Maaumturks and the Maaumtrasna and Partry mountains which provide the backdrop to its limestone pavements, along with the bog-carpeted granite of south Connemara.

However, its potential does not have the international caches of Cumbria and the Lake District which attracted over 47 million visitors in 2017, according to Mr Goggin.

The region, embracing England’s highest mountains and the Lake District national park, employed over 38,000 people and generated £2.9 billion sterling to the region's economy according to 2017 figures issued by Cumbria Tourism.

“We are not saying we want the Corrib system overrun by international visitors in the way the Lake District can be, but there is scope for further sustainable development,” Mr Goggin said.

“The lake has several peripheral areas suffering from depopulation which could do with a boost,” he explains.

“Recently, a few of us travelled north to learn more about the Belfast Agenda, the community plan for Belfast which takes a partnership approach,” Mr Goggin says.

“All of the agencies and community groups are working there towards a common theme to transform one of the British empire’s largest industrial bases into a tourist venue, and we need to take a collective approach towards the Corrib here,” he says.

“The Corrib system is like an orchestra, with three different strands of economy, community and environment being like its wind, percussion and string instruments,” Mr Goggin says.

“The challenges presented in planning for the care, protection and sustainable development of the Corrib are a microcosm of the greater humanitarian and environmental challenges of our age,” the Corrib Beo group says.

“ However, the timing of this new initiative to address these challenges has never been more favourable in terms of the supports available at European, national and local level,” it says, and there is “much community goodwill”.

Corrib Beo is hosting its first conference on May 2nd in Galway’s Commercial Boat Club on Steamers’ Quay, and such is the interest that places are almost booked out already.

Former Environmental Protection Agency director Dr Micheál Ó Cinnéide will chair the day-long event, and speakers will include environmentalists Duncan Stewart and Brendan Smith.

Representatives from many different groups who are “already involved and interested in the protection and development of the Corrib waterways”, will also participate.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#MarineNotice - Repair works are currently ongoing on the Inis Mór–Inis Meáin cable weeks after a fault left the Aran Islands without power for a number of days.

The works, which began last Saturday 10 September and will continue for another week, weather permitting, are being carried out from an offshore platform manoeuvred with the assistance of workboats, as detailed in Marine Notice No 39 of 2016.

The tug ABBE is also operational in the vicinity of the platform during the repairs. Both platform and tug vessel maintain a listening watch on VHF Channels 12 and 16 for the duration of the project.

The platform is displaying day shapes and night lights as required in accordance with the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).

All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the area a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Another recent Marine Notice advises of a programme of maintenance and inspection on the Corrib subsea facilities from this week for the next three week.

Marine Notice No 38 of 2016 says the work will all take place within the 500m Safety Zone and will involve carrying out a programme of maintenance to investigate and repair some of
the subsea facilities as required.

The support vessel Olympic Ares will carry out the maintenance and inspection using a remote operated vehicle or ROV. The vessel will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Published in Marine Warning

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 21 of 2015 from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that Shell E&P Ireland Ltd will be deploying a waverider buoy in late May 2015, weather permitting, in order to help predict sea conditions for the Corrib P2 well intervention work by the Ocean Guardian (Callsign V7FF7).

The buoy size is 90cm in diameter, and is set to be deployed at co-ordinates 54°19.285’N, 011°05.544’W (WGS84) approximate, with a 100m watch circle. The water depth at this location is 336 metres.

The waverider buoy will remain on site for approximately three months. Pictured here, it is yellow in colour and will flash yellow five times every 20 seconds.

All vessels are requested to give the waverider buoy a wide berth.

Published in Marine Warning

#illegalfishing – At a sitting of Galway District Court on Tuesday, 3rd February, Judge Denis McLaughlin convicted two men of illegal fishing, and issued fines and costs totalling €1,850. Michael Gannon of Raleigh Row, Galway City, and Brendan Hardiman, with an address at Mace, Corrandulla, Co. Galway were both in court on charges of the illegal use of a net, and illegal possession of a net in contravention of the 1959 Fisheries Act.

Judge McLaughlin heard evidence that on the night of 6th July 2014, fisheries officers on patrol observed the men in a boat on Lough Corrib setting a net. The men returned to shore and left the scene. At approximately 2 am on the 7th July the men returned to the lake, rowed out and retrieved the net. On return to shore they were challenged by the fisheries officers, and under caution they admitted the offences.

Both men were convicted by Judge McLaughlin on one count, with the second charge taken into account. It was acknowledged that on the night both defendants had been co-operative, had accepted responsibility for their actions and were pleading guilty to the charges. The judge heard that Mr. Hardiman had two previous convictions for similar offences, and he fined Mr. Hardiman €750, with €300 costs. Mr. Gannon was fined €500 with €300 costs.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under
New Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has signed off on a key foreshore licence to Shell Ireland, paving the way for the completion of the controversial Corrib gas project.
The Irish Times reports that the licence, subject to conditions, consents for the construction of the final 8km section of pipeline linking the Corrib gas field to Shell's onshore terminal at Ballinaboy. Co Mayo.
The scheme already has approval from An Bord Pleanála, and consents approved by former acting energy minister Pat Carey. But An Taisce has sought a judicial review of the planning decision, due before the High Court on Tuesday.
Still required by the developer before any work can begin are a revised emissions licence from the Environmental Protection Agency and a safety permit from the Commission for Energy Regulation under the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

New Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has signed off on a key foreshore licence to Shell Ireland, paving the way for the completion of the controversial Corrib gas project.

The Irish Times reports that the licence, subject to conditions, consents for the construction of the final 8km section of pipeline linking the Corrib gas field to Shell's onshore terminal at Ballinaboy. Co Mayo.

The scheme already has approval from An Bord Pleanála, and consents approved by former acting energy minister Pat Carey. But An Taisce has sought a judicial review of the planning decision, due before the High Court on Tuesday.

Still required by the developer before any work can begin are a revised emissions licence from the Environmental Protection Agency and a safety permit from the Commission for Energy Regulation under the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

Any potential risk from the Corrib gas pipeline off Ireland's west coast has been "overstated", according to representatives from Shell.

On the final day of the An Bord Pleanála hearing into the final phase of the pipeline, the oil company's senior counsel moved to assure a concerned public that the project was designed to "the highest safety standards".

"No other Irish development proposal has been subject to such an amount of study and surveys over such a period of time,” said Esmonde Keane at the hearing in Belmullet, Co Mayo on 1 October.

The Corrib project involves the development of a gas field west of the Mullet Peninsula, including the construction of a pipeline to the mainland and a coastal processing plant. The mainland phase of the plan has attracted much concern among local residents.

Two opponents of the project, environmental consultant Peter Sweetman and Monica Muller, a local resident, walked out of the hearing in protest over Keane's closing remarks, arguing that they were intended as “a legal submission”.

Published in Coastal Notes

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.


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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