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Displaying items by tag: East Cork

A four-day shark festival with a €250,000 prize fund is set to put Ballycotton on the sea angling map later this year.

In his latest Angling Notes for The Irish Times, Derek Evans says the Ballycotton Big Fish from 12-15 September will be the biggest festival of its kind in Europe.

The event is the brainchild of Ballycotton-born Pearse Flynn, an experienced deep-sea angler who was determined to attract the world’s top competitors to an East Cork town already renowned for its big fish records.

Prizes are set to be awarded for biggest shark landed, as well as for the boat that lands the greater number of sharks ever the course of the tournament.

But only big spending anglers need apply, as the entry fee is a whopping €5,000 per head.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Lifeboats - Youghal RNLI is looking for new volunteer crew members to join its search and rescue service in East Cork.

The lifeboat station will be hosting an open day at the lifeboat station in Youghal this coming Sunday 27 January between 2pm and 5pm where interested candidates can visit to find out more.

Youghal currently has approximately 20 volunteers but is now calling on new volunteers to come forward and find out how they can get involved.

Speaking ahead of the open day, Derry Walsh, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We are looking for anyone aged 17 years and over who is willing to offer some of their free time to join the RNLI.

“Every volunteer receives first-class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Lifeboat crew members need to have a reasonable level of fitness, have good eyesight and not be colour-blind.

“Anyone who would like to volunteer but feels they would not meet the requirements for lifeboat crew should in no way be put off, as shore crew also play an essential role in the launch and recovery of the lifeboat when it goes on service.”

If you cannot make the open day but are still interested in finding out more, contact the station directly or email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Three men were rescued from their pleasure boat off an East Cork island on Thursday afternoon (26 July) when it began taking on water.

BallycottoRNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat at around 1.40pm to to the scene east of Capel Island, where the men on board the 26ft pleasure boat had issued a Mayday to the Irish Coast Guard.

Youghal RNLI was also requested to launch their inshore lifeboat, while the coastguard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117 was also tasked.

Youghal was first on scene and placed two volunteer crew members onboard the boat with a salvage pump. Ballycotton RNLI and its crew arrived shortly after and transferred a larger salvage pump onto the vessel from their all-weather lifeboat.

The three casualties were transferred onto the Youghal lifeboat and brought ashore where they were assisted by Youghal Coast Guard. Ballycotton RNLI took the casualty vessel under tow and brought it ashore.

“This launch had the potential to be extremely serious for the casualties,” said Ballycotton RNLI coxswain Eolan Walsh, “but due to the collaboration with our colleagues at Youghal RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard, we had a safe outcome. We would like to wish the three men involved well following their ordeal.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Youghal’s long-awaited harbour pontoon is now open for business in what’s expected to be a major boost for the East Cork town.

Mooring fees are €10 per day or €25 a week, applicable to all users — whether casual, commercial or sailing club members.

Preliminary rules for users have been posted on the pontoon, and the necessary key fobs are available from Youghal Town Hall.

There was some confusion last month over the status of the facility, which was installed in early May but without an official opening date, prompting concern among some boaters.

Meanwhile, Youghal’s first full-time harbour master is expected to take up their role next month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Irish Marinas
Tagged under

Youghal in East Cork has been appointed its first full-time Harbour Master.

According to the East Cork Journal, the move is expected to boost Youghal as a destination for boating visitors in tandem with the new harbour pontoon.

Cork County Council advertised for the ‘full time and pensionable’ post last December, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The new Harbour Master, who is expected take up their role next month, will also have responsibility for the coastline to nearby Ballycotton.

The appointment comes on the heels of new council bye-laws that give Harbour Masters and proposed ‘harbour constables’ greater authority to deal with mooring fees, abandoned vessels and criminal activity.

Youghal has been the focus of a spate of outboard engine thefts in recent weeks.

The East Cork Journal has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

#EngineThefts - Gardaí have warned boaters in East Cork over a spate of outboard engine thefts along the coast in recent weeks, as the Evening Echo reports.

Five of such engines have been reported stolen from vessels in Youghal and Lower Aghada the last three weeks alone — with the loot likely to be sold abroad on the black market.

The Evening Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Youghal - The components for Youghal’s new marina pontoon have arrived, and the amenity is currently being installed in the East Cork town.

Preparation for the new embarkation pontoon began last November with pile driving works in the harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The pontoon marks the fruition of longstanding community efforts to build a marina for the town — and is hoped to “bring a welcome boost to our capability as a destination for marine tourism”, according to the Build a Marina in Youghal page on Facebook.

Published in Irish Marinas
Tagged under

A few weeks ago I rounded Ballycotton Island on the East Cork coastline, sailing beneath the iconic, dramatic black lighthouse which towers 195 feet above sea level. It was erected in 1851, the construction led by the renowned engineer George Halpin who, as Inspector of Lighthouses, established 53 of them and modernised another 15.

As the wind died away our Sigma 33, SCRIBBLER, needed the reaching spinnaker hoisted to get across Ballycotton Bay to the finish line off the small harbour’s pier wall. It was the re-establishment of the annual race from the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven to Ballycotton.

That distance is about a nautical mile and, relaxing afterwards over refreshment in the village, I heard the tales of how Lightkeepers on the island, in the days before modern communications, kept in touch with their wives living ashore…. by semaphore, the signalling system invented by Frenchman, Claude Chape, in 1792 as a “visual telegraph,” using crossbars with pivoting arms on top of towers. Napoleon used it to communicate strategy to his armies. The British Royal Navy developed naval flag semaphore which they used to defeat the French at the Battle of Trafalgar.

But it is unlikely that either Chape, Napoleon or the British, envisaged semaphore helping a Lightkeeper to elope with another Lightkeeper’s daughter…This story I narrated, subsequent to the race, on a documentary about Ballycotton Lighthouse and its Keepers produced by Community Radio Youghal Programme Director, Justin Maher, in which Ballycotton Historian, Derry Keogh, a guide with the community project, Ballycotton Lighthouse Tours, revealed another use for semaphore:

Listen to the PODCAST below.

• Tom MacSweeney presents THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme

Published in Tom MacSweeney

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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