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Displaying items by tag: Dolphins

#MarineWildlife - Three dead dolphins have washed up on Kerry's shores in recent days – and one Irish fishery expert believes so-called 'supertrawlers' in the area might be responsible.

According to The Irish Times, former Sea Fisheries Protection Authority inspector Kevin Flannery says one of the three common dolphins found between Dingle and Smerwick Harbour since last weekend had a rope around its tail, presumably discarded from a fishing vessel.

He added that while there is no proof of precisely what became of the dolphins, it was "no coincidence" that the incidents occurred while a fleet of mainly Dutch factory fishing ships was spotted off the Blasket Islands.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Dolphin watchers around the UK and Ireland are keen to hear from anyone who may have spotted 'bad boy' dolphin Clet in recent weeks, as the Plymouth Herald reports.

Known as much for his distinctive dorsal fin and his aggression towards swimmers, the solo dolphin was first seen in Irish waters in the summer of 2014, and later befriended fellow 'dolphins-non-grata' Sandy, AKA Dusty, as his travels took him from West Cork to the Aran Islands.

By December that year he had moved on to the west coast of Scotland, and he was last sighted seven months ago off Portland, near Weymouth on Britain's south coast, where he had been spotted numerous times a year ago.

His disappearance since last August has worried marine wildlife observers including the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who have been tracking his progress since his first confirmed sightings in Brittany five years ago, though he was known to French fishermen since 2008.

The Plymouth Herald has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Dolphin and porpoise monitoring off the North Coast got a boost this week thanks to a £15,000 NI government grant for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), as Causeway Coastal Community reports.

“This is good news for the IWDG and for those with a passion for marine wildlife," said Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Mark Durkan on funding for the acoustic monitoring project, which will focus on cetacean populations off Portrush and the nearby Giant's Causeway.

The project also includes an outreach programme with local schools and communities to get local people invested in the protection of marine wildlife on their shores. Causeway Coastal Community has more on the story HERE.

Minister Durkan is also the subject of calls to add the waters off Islandmagee to recently recommended Marine Conservation Zones for Northern Ireland over fears that a new gas power station could create a marine 'dead zone' in the area.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Cork County Council has heard a proposal for a dedicated whale and dolphin trail along the county's coastline, as the Southern Star reports.

The Old Head of Kinsale, Mizen Head, Galley Head and Baltimore have already been identified as key locations for interpretive panels along the trail, the plans for which have had input from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and Fáilte Ireland, to tie in with the latter's Wild Atlantic Way initiative.

"A lot of people might think this is trivial, but it’s a huge tourism attraction around the world and whale watching in Co Cork is the best in Europe," said Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan. "It’s about time we realised this as it could have huge economic impact for the region."

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Number 6
Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The 'dolphin whisperers' is what they're calling a trio of siblings from Northern Ireland who helped rescue a distressed bottlenose dolphin off the coast of Brisbane in Australia.

Matthew, Joshua and Jessica Poole from Templepatrick leapt into action when staff at the Tangalooma Island Resort – where Matthew has worked for years and was recently joined by his brother and sister – found the dolphin had a fishing hook and line caught in her mouth, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

The line was easily removed, but things became critical a week later when the dolphin, named Silhouette, had to be separated from her calf Betts for further treatment – a delicate situation when dolphin calves can die from stress.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - Talk about a bounty! While it was reported on Afloat.ie just two days ago that whale sightings are on the increase in the Sunny South East as the season draws to a close, that wasn't the whole story.

According to the New Ross Standard, Martin Colfer's whale-watching tour trip last weekend not only sighted a humpback whale and fin whales but also more than 95 dolphins – enough to claim Hook Head as the new Dingle.

It's thought that the warming oceans are bringing cetaceans to Irish waters in much greater numbers than before as they chase their preferred fishy meals.

In other news, locals and visitors at a popular Norfolk beach were wowed by the sight of an enormous whale that washed ashore on Friday afternoon (22 January), as the Irish Mirror reports.

The 50ft sperm whale sadly died despite best efforts to refloat it in deeper waters -- but it's now become something of an attraction on the beach at Hunstanton as investigators work to discover the cause of death.

BBC News reports that the whale was one of as many as five that swam into the Wash inlet of the North Sea, two others of which freed themselves after stranding.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - The Causeway Coast is fast becoming a mecca for dolphins – and dolphin watchers, as the News Letter reports.

Now regularly spotted from the mainland between Ballycastle and Lough Foyle, the dolphins – which may number as many as 70 – are believed to have followed the Gulf Stream as its warm waters have dropped down towards the north coast.

But they're not just here for a holiday, as food is of the essence – hence their habit of approaching boats in big numbers in search of a bite to eat, or in the hopes of stirring up a big mackerel feast.

Rathlin Island appears to be a particular hotspot for the boisterous cetaceans, but Malin Head in Donegal also seems to be within their swimming grounds, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Two friends were caught by surprise by a playful pod of dolphins off Donegal's Malin Head in recent days.

And as UTV reports, one of them was quick enough to capture the exciting encounter on video.

“Apparently this area of sea is a migrating route from north to south," said Belfast fishermen Neil McCann, who was holidaying in the area with a friend.

"If you think about that, then Ireland is in the way, so they have to pass around the tip of Malin Head. Fishermen are now calling the area the dolphin capital of Ireland.”

The headland on the Inishowen Peninsula, which marks the northern end of the Wild Atlantic Way, has also been hailed this week for its potential as a 'shark park' reserve, with all the makings of a major marine wildlife tourist attraction.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Common dolphins stranded in a Kerry river last weekend were saved by the quick actions of local people, as The Kerryman reports.

Trapped by the fast receding tide at the mouth of the Cloghane Estuary on the Dingle Peninsula last Saturday (20 June), the group of dolphins were fortunate they didn't have to wait long for the community to spring into action.

Following a report from local woman Shelia Mulcahy, Louise Overy of Dingle Oceanworld and her sister Tabitha co-ordinated efforts that involved area fishermen and landlubbers alike, keeping the dolphins wet till enough people arrived to help move the protected marine wildlife back into deeper waters.

The Kerryman has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Writing in today's Irish Times, Michael Viney reminds that our friendly relations with dolphins are not always what they appear to be.

Indeed, he repeats the warnings of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) Dr Simon Berrow, who stresses that the "smile" on the face of a dolphin is most often misleading.

Recent experiences with the likes of Dusty and Clet on the West Coast prompted Dr Berrow, speaking at a conference in the Netherlands, to recommend a campaign to discourage swimming with wild cetaceans.

At best, such an initiative might avoid such terrible incidents as what happened to Valerie Ryan in Doolin last summer.

But it could also turn around what some experts believe to be a change in the nature of the sociable wild dolphin, one that might be the cause of injuries or even death among the species.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under
Page 3 of 10

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.

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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