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Displaying items by tag: Dara Calleary

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Dara Calleary has tendered his resignation with immediate effect, after attending an event in Clifden, Co Galway, just a day after new Covid-19 measures were introduced.

The Fianna Fáil Mayo TD, who had only recently been appointed to the post after the sacking of Barry Cowen, has apologised for his attendance at an Oireachtas Golf Society event on Wednesday.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will take responsibility for the agriculture, marine and food brief until a successor is appointed. However, there have been calls this morning for a recall of the Dáíl.

The Irish Examiner had reported that Mr Calleary was one of 81 people who attended the event in memory of late Fianna Fáíl MEP Mark Killilea.

It reported that guests were separated in two separate rooms at Clifden’s Station House Hotel.

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, Seanad leas-Cathaoirleach Jerry Buttimer, and Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish were among a number of other politicians present, along with recently retired RTE broadcaster Seán O’Rourke.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said this morning on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that Mr Calleary made "a very serious error of judgement" by attending the function, while Labour TD for Dublin North Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called for a Garda investigation into the hosting of the event and recall of the Dáil.

Mr Ó’Riordan told RTÉ that all the individuals who attended the event did so "in a stunningly arrogant fashion".

He said Mr Hogan needs to make a statement to explain why he felt it was appropriate for him to attend the event, and also if he followed public health guidelines on restricting movements for 14 days after returning to Ireland from Brussels.

On Tuesday, the Government announced new restrictions to halt the spread of Covid-19, which included limits on social gatherings and stated no formal or informal events or parties should be held in restaurants, cafes and hotel restaurants.

Mr Calleary (47), Fianna Fáil deputy leader and a seasoned representative for the west coast county of Mayo, had been serving as Chief Whip in the new coalition government.

When he appointed him to replace Barry Cowen, Mr Martin said that Mr Calleary would be a “very effective minister”, and would deliver on challenges facing the agriculture sector, including Brexit, climate change and the renegotiations of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

Mr Calleary, from a strong political family in Ballina, Co Mayo, promised to be a “voice for the west” and one that “will not be a quiet voice” in Cabinet.

His predecessor Barry Cowen had spent just over a fortnight in office in the new coalition government which was formed in late June by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party when he resigned.

After The Irish Independent reported he had incurred a drink-driving ban in 2016, Mr Cowen apologised in the Dáil and appeared to have the backing of his party leader.

However, several days after further allegations were published by The Sunday Times – which Mr Cowen challenged and said he was taking legal advice on – he was sacked.

A spokesman forT he Station House Hotel told The Irish Examiner that it had consulted the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), which informed it that the event could go ahead with less than 50 people in each side of the room.

There was a physical partition between both rooms, the spokesman told the newspaper.

An email from the IHF to members on Wednesday, seen by the Examiner, stated: "Further to the Government announcement yesterday in relation to further Covid-19 restrictions, the Department of Tourism has not yet received any guidance on the changes as of this morning. Therefore, the status quo remains in terms of current operational procedures for hotels until further notice."

More on The Examiner here

Published in News Update
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Dara Calleary has been named as the new Minister for Agriculture and the Marine following last night’s dramatic sacking of Barry Cowen from the post.

RTÉ News reports on the new appointment confirmed today (Wednesday 15 July) by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, with the Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo promoted from his brief as chief whip and junior minister for the Gaeltacht.

Calleary’s predecessor as Marine Minister was removed just two weeks into the post amid controversy surrounding a fine for drink-driving in 2016.

Published in News Update
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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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