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Dramatic footage has emerged of what’s purported to be a Le Boat cruiser fleet as its carried away in swollen rover waters amid severe flooding in southwestern France.

A video compilation posted on social media shows how at least one vessel was lost as it capsized after hitting a bridge, while another was apparently destroyed at a weir.

Severe flooding was reported throughout the wider region of Lot-et-Garrone after the country was hit by Storm Justine earlier this week and experienced days of torrential rain.

As Euronews reports, the town of Meilhan-sur-Garrone was almost entirely submerged as the Garrone, a major river in the region, burst its banks.

Published in Weather

The first phase of Spain’s transition towards its ‘new normal’ amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic saw boat owners yesterday (Monday 11 May) allowed to set their vessels free from moorings, as International Boat Industry reports.

‘Non-commercial cruising’ in limited groups, such as a family or people who share the same address, is limited to local waters only.

But the move will come as a relief to many recreational boaters who had been kept away from their vessels under a 50-day lockdown, one of the most restricting in Europe along with Italy.

Boat charter and rental is also permitted under the latest relaxing of regulations, with further allowances — to move outside of one’s municipality for safety and maintenance checks, for instance — expected to come with the next phase on Monday 25 May.

Neighbouring France has followed suit with its own easing of lockdown measures, which allow for navigation and mooring within 100km of home port with no more than 10 passengers on any vessel.

But the entry of vessels with a foreign flag from a port outside the Schengen zone into French territorial waters, if the destination is a port on the French coast, remains prohibited until at least next month.

And Spain’s border remains closed to all non-essential travel, with a 14-day quarantine mandated for anyone entering the country.

Published in Cruising

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that Osiris Projects were last week scheduled to begin marine survey operations off the south coast in the Celtic Sea.

The marine surveys will extend from the shoreline at two locations in Co Cork across the sea to the shoreline at two locations in northern France.

The survey was set to start on Monday 1 June 2015 to last for approximately three weeks, weather permitting. The survey will be conducted by the MV Proteus (Callsign 2HBL7).

The marine surveys will extend from the shoreline at Ballinwilling Strand (main route) and Ballycroneen Beach (alternative route), across the Celtic Sea, passing the Isles of Scilly, to the French coast west of Roscoff at Moguériec (main route) and Pontusval (alternative route).

The corridor width for each landing will be 250 metres from the high water mark to the 10-metre contour, then the corridor will widen to 500m as the route moves to France.

The survey vessel may be found running both along the corridor, and in the general vicinity of the survey corridor. The survey areas are small boxes which are shown in the detail plan HERE.

Survey operations will involve towing survey equipment on and below the water surface, up to 300m behind the vessel. All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the MV Proteus and her towed equipment a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Full co-ordinates for the relevant work areas are detailed in Marine Notice No 25 of 2015, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#Lighthouses - Check out this amazing video (care of the Irish Coast Guard's Facebook page) of daredevil lighthouse keepers changing shift off the coast of France.

With the rough seas far too choppy for boats to move in close to the rocky island beneath the lighthouse, the only option is to zip back and forth via a rope thrown from the tower secured to the vessel.

That's one job that's definitely not for the faint-hearted!

Published in Lighthouses
Tagged under

#Kitesurfing - Bruno Sroka aims to complete an epic solo journey from France to Ireland on his kitesurfing board, powered only by the waves and the wind.

As Surfer Today reports, the French kitesurfer - who already has a crossing of the English channel to his credit - has set himself the challenge next month of surfing from L'Aber-Wrac'h in Brittany to the south coast of Ireland, a distance of some 240 nautical miles.

And it will be just the first of three adventures Sroka has lined up for himself, as he aims to follow this feat with a crossing of the Mediterranean in 2014, and finally the mighty Atlantic Ocean in 2015.

Indeed, his ambitious plans do little to dispel the impression that kitesurfing is a sport for the bravest alone - even too dangerous for the Olympics!

Surfer Today has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kitesurfing

#Offshore - A fleet of 20 French yachts racing to Ireland narrowly avoided sailing into serious trouble off the Dorset coast earlier this week.

As BBC News reports, UK coastguard authorities scrambled to warn the yachts via emergency broadcast that they were headed towards an exclusion zone set up for a live firing exercise at Lulworth Ranges.

"It looks like there was a slight error made by the French authorities," said a coastguard spokesperson, who confirmed that the yachts were diverted from their dangerous course after contacting the race director.

According to Practical Boat Owner, the yachts were competing in the Normandy Channel Race which began on Sunday 14 April and continues till this Friday evening.

The race route to and from Caen in northern France traverses a triangle across the Celtic Sea, past the most southwesterly tip of Cornwall, via Tuskar Rock and Fastnet Rock.

Published in Offshore

#VOR - Lorient in France completes the route for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Like last year, the Brittany port city will be the penultimate stopover for the race fleet when they sail in at some point in mid June 2015.

But rather than a return to Galway, the race will continue on to the new finish line at Gothenburg in Sweden - as announced by race organisers in February.

“This route has never really been part of any ocean race any time before,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “And when you have that element there’s a new strategy, there’s a new route, there’s new weather, there’s new challenges for the sailors.

"That is exciting, not only for us but for the sailors because no-one can claim they’ve done this before.”

The 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins on 4 October this year with the first in-port race in Alicante.

In other VOR news, Team SCA has selected the first five members of its all-woman team for the global yachting challenge.

Britons Sam Davies and Annie Lush will be joined by Dutchwoman Carolijn Brouwer and Aussie par Sophie Ciszek and Liz Wardley on the squad that marks the first female-only crew in the race for more than a decade.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#Shipping - The European Shortsea Conference will take place for the first time in France on Thursday 14 March 2013.

Shortsea 13 at La Defense in Paris is organised by the Bureau de Promotion du Shortsea Shipping (BP2S) and SPC France jointly with other European Shortsea promotion centres - and comes just weeks after the Euromaritime exposition that kicks of tomorrow in the French capital.

The conference will cover a number of hot topics related to shorts and intermodal intra-european transport, the challenges that exist and are yet to come, and what solutions can be found.

And like last year's event, hosted in Dublin by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and Coastlink, the convention will provide a platform to network, discuss and debate issues shared by European shipping partners.

Organisers say that contributors are still welcome to take part as speakers (e-mail [email protected] for more) or sponsors (contact [email protected] for details).

Registrations will open soon for those wishing to attend as delegates. Keep an eye on the Shortsea 13 blog or find more information on the European Shortsea Network at www.shortsea.info.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#FAIL - The video above shows Lolo, resident Top Gear-style maniac with French motorcycle magazine Moto Journal, taking a tumble off the quay at Port de Saint-Martin-de-Ré in western France on his Yamaha FJR 1300 and plunging straight into the deck of a dockside boat.

Luckily the hapless rider got at most some deserved bruises and a severe shaking up, which is more than we can say for his surely now written-off motorcycle. Here's also hoping that poor boat didn't suffer too much damage.

Maybe next time he'll take a bit more care when he's riding around such valuable craft!

Published in News Update

#FISHING - The Guardian reports that an alliance of EU member states plans to "hijack" a council meeting of the union's fisheries ministers today to prevent a ban on fish discards.

EU maritime affairs commissioner Maria Damanaki has stated her commitment to ending the practice, describing it as “unethical, a waste of natural resources and a waste of fishermen’s effort.”

Half of all fish in the North Sea - and up to two-thirds in other areas - are thrown back under the quota system implemented under the EU's common fisheries policy. The practice was recently highlighted by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'Fish Fight' campaign.

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has called on EU states to support Ireland's effort to deal with fish discards, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

But some member states, led by France and Spain, have dismissed the proposed ban as "unrealistic" and "too prescriptive", and will attempt to pass a declaration to allow the practice to continue indefinitely.

According to the Guardian, the charge is being led by industrial-scale fishing enterprises who want to retain the permission to discard lower value fish in order to maximise profits.

Brussels insiders say that if the declaration were to pass it would "kill the reform".

Published in Fishing
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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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