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Displaying items by tag: Crime

#LoughNeagh - The PSNI is investigating an alleged attack on three men as they recovered a destroyed fishing patrol boat from Lough Neagh last week, according to BelfastLive.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the patrol vessel belonging to the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Operative was burnt out in an arson attack by masked men in the early hours of Saturday 27 January, just weeks after it was delivered.

It’s now emerged that three men from the co-operative who attempted to retrieve the sunken pilot boat from the lough at Anneter were reportedly assaulted as they did so last Wednesday (31 January).

BelfastLive has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#Vandalism - Vandals have caused an estimated £800 (€900) worth of damage to an RNLI lifeguard unit at Whiterocks on the Causeway Coast.

Following two of the busiest days of the summer season so far in Northern Ireland, the RNLI team at Whiterocks arrived at work yesterday morning (Wednesday 19 July) to see that their unit, located near the entrance to the North Coast beach, had been extensively damaged.

The charity’s lifeguards discovered that the vandals had left behind broken bottles and a barbecue, while the unit’s aerial mount required for VHF communications had also been damaged.

A large rock which had been thrown at the hut damaged the unit’s outer skin, piercing the inner plywood and leaving a two-inch hole in the unit, which was also covered with indecent graffiti.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Karl O’Neill said the damage to the aerial mount had threatened vital VHF communications, while the rock damage meant the unit was no longer watertight.

“Our lifeguards rely on the aerial to communicate with each other when on patrol and to communicate with their colleagues in the coastguard in the event of an emergency,” he said. 

“Thankfully the damage has not rendered our communications off-service but should it have, and should it have happened during the last two days, which brought thousands of people to our beaches to enjoy the good weather, lives could have been put at risk.

“It is very disappointing for our lifeguards, who have been working hard to keep people safe, to turn up this morning after two busy days and see the unit they need to carry out their job has been so badly damaged. It really does dampen spirits.”

It is estimated that the repairs to the beach lifeguard unit will run into hundreds of pounds for the charity.

The RNLI is working closely with the PSNI who have appealed for anyone with any information to come forward.

“We would appeal to those doing this damage to be mindful that the RNLI is a charity,” said O’Neill. “Our lifeguards are an essential part of what is a seamless rescue service that saves lives from the beach to the open sea.

“Our lifeguards’ primary role at Whiterocks and on all lifeguarded beaches on the Causeway Coast is to make sure the beach can be enjoyed safely by the public. We want them to be able to continue to do that safely and with peace of mind.”

Published in Coastal Notes

#Joyride - Two men appeared in court in Dublin yesterday (Thursday 1 June) over a boat chase on the River Liffey that surprised early morning commuters in the capital.

Brian Stacey and Ronan Stephens, both of Crumlin in south-west Dublin, face a number of charges relating to theft of a pleasure craft and boating under the influence of alcohol, according to The Irish Times.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI and the Dublin Fire Brigade were among the emergency services that responded to the incident around 6am yesterday after the €11,000 boat was taken from Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, which is preparing for this bank holiday weekend’s Dublin Riverfest.

The Irish Independent reports that a number of men on board the boat taunted those chasing them as they drove erratically through the Dublin Port shipping lanes east of the Eastlink Bridge, interfering with the passage of a cruise liner.

The boat was then pursued further up the Liffey, where it was finally halted at St John Rogerson’s Quay.

Both men arrested after the incident have been released on bail.

Published in Dublin Port

#Crime - A sail training boat owned by the Irish Youth Sailing Club is among those vandalised in an incident at Dun Laoghaire’s West Pier over the weekend, as TheJournal.ie reports.

The RIB, which was slashed and had its outboard engine removed, was one of three vessels damaged in the attack, the aftermath of which was discovered on Sunday morning (7 May).

Also affected were the Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts, who lost an engine to theft, while a third engine was stolen from a yacht in the nearby inner harbour — the latest incident in what’s being described as a rise in thefts and vandalism in the area.

Kyron O’Gorman of the IYSC says a replacement training RIB could set the club back at least €7,000.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Crime - A US naval officer is in Garda custody over an alleged sexual assault in a Dublin hotel, as Navy Times reports.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy confirmed that the alleged incident was reported on Wednesday 22 March while the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer based in southern Spain, was on a scheduled liberty visit to Cobh in Cork Harbour.

The sailor in question has not been charged and it is expected that the US will formally request Irish authorities to relinquish jurisdiction for the US Navy to pursue the matter internally.

Navy Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#BelfastLough - A sea captain has been convicted of being drunk on duty while piloting a merchant vessel in Belfast Lough last year.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, Eugenijus Tulauskas was found to be nearly four times over the legal limit when he was arrested in September 2016 after a harbour pilot was forced to assist in control of the cargo ship.

Tulauskas, who has since lost his job, was fined £1,500 by a judge at Belfast Magistrates’ Court this week after initially contesting the charge, claiming he was not on duty at the time.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Belfast Lough
Tagged under

#CoastalNotes - A whopping 75kg of cocaine has been seized by the Revenue Commissioners from a torpedo-like capsule on a beach in Liscannor, Co Clare, as Independent.ie reports.

The “suspicious item” containing the drugs, thought to have a value of €5 million, is believed to have been attached below the waterline of a seagoing vessel — but it is not yet known where the drugs originated, nor their intended destination.

The drugs were found on Monday 24 October via a tip from the public through the Customs Drugs Watch Programme, which encourages coastal communities, maritime personnel and people living near airfields to report unusual or suspicious activity to Revenue via its confidential Freephone line 1800 295 295.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#CliffsOfMoher - As much as €20,000 in cash is believed to have been taken in a sophisticated burglary at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre yesterday morning (Monday 3 October).

According to The Irish Times, the building’s security system was disabled after the daring thieves cut its electricity supply, allowing them unfettered access to the visitor centre at one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions.

Visitors were yesterday warned away from the Co Clare coastal beauty spot while ESB Networks technicians worked to restore power.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#BrayHarbour - Boat owners in Bray are urged to be vigilant after a number of engines were stolen from boats in the harbour last month.

The Wicklow Times reports that a number of boats moored in the harbour were apparently targeted by thieves who struck in the early hours of Monday 22 August.

A number of engines were taken in the brazen raid, as well as radio and GPS equipment.

"We know it happened at low tide when they would have had easy access," said Bray Sailing Club Commodore Mark Henderson.

"Unfortunately all our CCTV could pick up was flashlights as we know the robberies took place between 2 and 3am ... but it was too dark to make out faces."

Anyone in the market for a secondhand engine has been asked to check where it came from, and report any suspicions to the relevant authorities.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Rio2016 - “I don’t think the Irish media know how bad it is over here in Rio…” So Ireland’s Paralympian John Twomey emailed early this morning, as Afloat.ie's Tom MacSweeney writes.

He was reporting how “two good friends of mine who were in Kinsale for the Para Sailing Worlds in Kinsale in 2013” had been held up by two men, one of whom had a pistol, close to their hotel in Rio on Sunday morning. The Australian Sailing and Paralympic Committees have been told of the incident.

Liesl Tesch and team official Sarah Ross were confronted by two men while riding their bikes in a park near their hotel. One of the men was carrying a pistol and while both were threatened, the bikes were the only property stolen during the incident. Both members were unharmed, but shaken, and took part in racing at the 2016 Paralympic Games sailing venue later in the day.

“We were returning from a morning ride when the incident took place,” said Tesch. “We were close to our hotel when we were confronted by two men, one of whom was armed. I was threatened with the pistol and pushed to the ground.

“He took my bike, and the other perpetrator took Sarah’s bike. We are both shaken, but physically we’re both OK.”

Twomey commented: “These two ladies are good friends of mine and were in Kinsale for the Para Sailing Worlds in Kinsale in 2013. I don't think the Irish media know how bad it is over here in Rio. Perhaps you might keep people informed.”

Sailing teams and other athletes are gathering in Rio for final weeks of training and practice before the Olympics and Paralympics – and if they avoid any similar or even more serious brushes with criminal elements, they may be very lucky indeed.

The Sailing Anarchy website reports another incident when two Team GBR RIBs were stolen from Torben Grael’s Rio Yacht Club in Niteroi, which is reported to have been hit by stray bullets from a nearby gunfight in previous weeks.

Two British team coaches found the RIBs on a beach beach in Jurujuba, not far from the US team’s launching location.

Sailing Anarchy reports: “[The boats were found] as they were being stripped. Already VHFs, fuel hoses, tanks, and wiring were already gone, with outboards next to go. The GBR coaches immediate reaction was to threaten the thieves with calling the police. ‘You think that will help you?’ the head pirate said...

"One of the coaches surreptitiously snapped a pic of the pirates and the Rio Yacht Club staff identified one of them as a top drug dealer in the nearby Jurujuba favela, and told the coach he was very, very lucky.”

Published in Olympic
Tagged under
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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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