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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) investigated a pollution incident that occurred last weekend on the Carrowbeg River in Westport, Co Mayo.

IFI received a number of calls to the hotline number and had a report from the landowner where the pollution incident occurred last Saturday 16 January.

Fisheries staff responded to the report of what’s understood to be an accidental detergent discharge into the Carrowbeg River that afternoon.

The Carrowbeg River is the main river that runs through Westport town and has an abundant indigenous brown trout population, as well as being is an important amenity to the local community.

IFI officers attended the scene and worked with the landowner to identify the source and to carry out immediate remedial works.

IFI says its staff continue to monitor the site and carried out kayak and drone surveys of the catchment area over the weekend to assess implications for the fishery. Surveys to date have not found any evidence of a fish kill resulting from the incident.

IFI says it has had “subsequent engagement with the landowner regarding remediation works to be undertaken at the site” and is liaising with with Mayo County Council’s Environmental Section on analysis of samples from the affected stretch of river.

Patrick Gorman, Galway director in the Western River Basin District at IFI, says: “Inland Fisheries Ireland urges members of the public to be aware of the environmental risk posed to their local waterbodies should such discharges be made into road or car park drain networks.

“Members of the public can report suspected pollution or poaching incidents to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s 24-hour confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling

A farmer from Beaufort in Co Kerry was convicted and fined €3,300 plus costs following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

In a hearing at Caherciveen District Court on Thursday 10 December, Judge David Waters convicted Raymond Breen under Section 173 (d) of the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 for carrying out works in the Gaddagh River which damaged sensitive spawning beds.

While a charge of obstruction was struck out, Judge Waters commented that he could not ignore the defendant’s behaviour when considering the appropriate penalty.

The Gaddagh River, a tributary of the River Laune and in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), is an important spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon, a species protected under Irish and European law.

The court heard evidence that an inspection carried out by IFI fisheries officers discovered substantial amounts of spawning gravel removed from the river and stock-piled along a 250m section of bank.

Heavy machinery tracks were recorded across the riverbed, the protected spawning gravels and on both banks.

Evidence was given that the engine of a tracked earth-mover at the site was hot when discovered but the driver could not be located. The scene was described in court as a “working site”.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “This is a serious environmental crime. The removal of gravel from spawning beds will directly impact our already endangered Atlantic salmon stocks by drastically reducing usable spawning gravel.

“We urge all landowners to take responsible action and to contact their advisors or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works that may damage watercourses on or adjacent to their land.”

Published in Angling

Volunteers from Bundoran RNLI were part of a multi-agency operation to rescue a man whose small boat ran aground on rocks in Ballyshannon yesterday afternoon (Sunday 20 December).

The man raised the alarm from his boat which had run aground off the island of Inis Saimer just before 1pm, and Malin Head Coast Guard requested the launch of Bundoran’s lifeboat as well as the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118.

However, it was determined that sea conditions would render it unsafe for the inshore lifeboat to get across the bar at the end of the Erne Estuary.

Instead, four lifeboat crew travelled by road to Ballyshannon where an Inland Fisheries Ireland patrol boat was already close to the casualty vessel.

Together the fisheries officers and lifeboat volunteers evacuated the man from his boat and brought him safely to shore and the into the care of paramedics.

In the meantime, the Bundoran lifeboat was transported by road under Garda escort to Ballyshannon, where it was launched and towed the casualty boat away from the rocks.

Bundoran lifeboat helm Michael Patton said: “This was another good outcome with the cooperation of our colleagues at Rescue 118, Inland Fisheries [Ireland], the National Ambulance Service and the Garda Siochana.

“We were glad to be able to get the man safely off the boat and return his boat to him.

“He was also wearing a lifejacket, and we would remind anyone taking to the water that this is an essential piece of equipment anytime you set sail.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Ahead of the new salmon season on Friday 1 January, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) reminds anglers to adhere to public health advice when planning their fishing.

And the State body responsible for Ireland’s freshwater and inshore sea fisheries has confirmed that no prize will be offered for the first salmon catch of 2021, in order to discourage anglers from congregating.

Under current guidance, inter-county travel is permissible until Wednesday 6 January, after which people may not leave their own county for non-essential travel. Angling is non-essential and does not qualify.

Whenever fishing, anglers are encouraged to maintain social distancing, wash hands frequently, wear a mask when around other people and not to share vehicles with people from other households.

IFI offices are closed over Christmas, and licences will not be sent out between Christmas and New Year. With current postal delays, anglers are advised to shop now to get their licence before Christmas. Anglers are encouraged to buy licences online.

Anglers are also reminded that many kelts are present in rivers at this time. These thin and coloured salmon, if caught, must be handled carefully and returned immediately to the water.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has reopened its sales of salmon and sea trout angling licences for the 2021 season.

E-licences can now be purchased online and will be delivered along with a logbook straight to your phone or computer. Gill tags will be dispatched by post.

There is no price change for salmon and sea trout angling licences this year and licence fees will remain the same across all classes, including those for juvenile anglers.

Anglers are legally required to be in possession of a licence and logbook when fishing for salmon or sea trout. Online licences must be printed off along with the logbook and in the possession of anglers while fishing.

For anglers who require tags on or before Tuesday 5 January, online licences must be purchased on or before Monday 21 December.

Alternatively, angling licences will be available to purchase from approved licence sales distributors from the end of December/early January.

For those anglers who do not require tags in advance of 5 January, online licences and logbooks will be available from the IFI online shop throughout the Christmas period.

Anglers are advised to comply with Government guidelines specific to the region in which they live and wish to travel to. IFI has published updated advice for anglers, who are also reminded to check before travelling as due to Covid-19, working arrangements for distributors and fisheries may have changed.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell said: “We are happy to announce the opening of 2021 licence sales for salmon and sea trout angling. We would like to use this opportunity to recognise the contribution salmon and sea trout anglers make to the sustainability of the resource by paying their licence fee and supporting the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation, and Protection Fund as a result.”

The costs for salmon licences will remain as follows:

  • All Districts (ie all Regions) Annual: €100
  • Juvenile (under the age of 18 years) All Districts Annual: €10
  • One District, Annual: €56
  • All districts, 21 Days: €40
  • All districts, 1 Day: €20
  • Foyle Area Extension: €80

IFI also reminds all salmon and sea trout anglers to return their 2020 angling logbook and unused gill tags as soon as possible, even if there is no catch recorded.

Anglers are asked to make the return via the business return envelope which was supplied at the time of license purchase. Otherwise, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office address on their licence/logbook.

These returns will provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks for the future.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recently installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on its headquarters in CityWest, Dublin.

A total of 156 PV panels were installed on the main office roof and a further 154 were installed on the warehouse roof.

In 2019, IFI carried out audits on its largest energy-consuming premises and the two properties in CityWest showed the highest consumption of energy.

The solar PV panels will work to generate a portion of IFI’s electricity needs and will help reach the organisations energy reduction target of 33% by the end of 2020.

This climate action initiative is one among a host of other initiatives that IFI have introduced to help reduce the organisation’s overall emissions.

Last year it introduced energy-efficient vehicles with a view to achieving a 24% reduction in the C02 emissions from its fleet.

IFI also introduced new state-of-the-art RIBs to halve its energy usage on sea protection patrols. The use of kayaks and bikes are also maximised for patrol on coasts and inland waterways.

Environment and Climate Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who also has responsibility for inland fisheries, said: “I want to acknowledge Inland Fisheries Ireland and the changes the organisation is making to contribute to Ireland’s climate ambition and the reduction of emissions by 7% annually.

“Renewable electricity is a central element of the Government’s action on climate disruption and Inland Fisheries Ireland are leading by example and working to decarbonise the organisation.

“Through these initiatives emissions will be cut, helping to improve the environment for us all.”

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell added: “As an environmental agency, we are aware of the critical nature of climate change and the impact it is having on our fisheries resource.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland as a public body has a responsibility to engage actively in initiatives to help take steps towards Ireland being a low carbon, climate-resilient economy.

“These newly installed solar PV panels on two of our highest energy-consuming premises will ensure that these buildings will have a combined total of circa 24% yearly energy savings.

“To maintain ecological integrity within our fisheries resource we must pave the way towards environmentally friendly ways of carrying out the work we do as an organisation.”

Published in Angling

A Co Galway dairy has been fined €1,000 following a successful prosecution for river pollution by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

At a sitting of Ballinasloe District Court on Thursday 1 October, it was heard that on 24 October 2019, IFI staff noticed a discharge of polluting matter entering the Deerpark River from Arrabawn Dairies, Kilconnell, Co Galway.

Results from samples showed higher-than-recommended levels for a number of parameters, including biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), ammonia and suspended solids.

Judge Gearty convicted Arrabawn Dairies under Section 171 of the Fisheries Acts and Section 4 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts.

Fisheries Assistant Inspector Arnold Donnelly gave evidence emphasising the polluting nature of the discharge and that it was particularly unfortunate that the discharge occurred at a time of year when fish spawn in the river.

Judge Gearty fined the company €1,000 and awarded costs of €2,659 to IFI.

David Mc Inerney, director of the Shannon River Basin District at IFI, said: “Pollution events such as this have a very negative impact on water quality which is essential for the health of fish.

“The Deerpark River system is a tributary of the River Suck and holds excellent stocks of wild brown trout, crayfish and brook lamprey. Protection of water quality and habitats is critical to our rivers and fisheries ecosystems.”

Published in Angling

Since 2016, Inland Fisheries Ireland has awarded more than €4 million to over 200 sustainable angling projects across the country.

Now more eligible community groups and angling clubs can apply for the latest round of grant funding available to sustainable fisheries conservation and development projects, with over €1 million announced today (Friday 27 November).

Expressions of interest have been sought under two schemes funded by angler contributions: the €50,000 Midlands Fisheries Funds, which focuses on sustainable works in the midland fisheries permit area; and the €1 million Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund.

To be eligible, applicants must have contributed to the relevant fund through the purchasing of a midland fisheries permit or a salmon and sea trout licence, whether for angling or commercial purposes.

Expressions of interest (that will progress to full applications) will be accepted from this Monday 30 November, and applications and must be submitted before 5.30pm on Thursday 28 January. Decisions on applications and grants will be announced in May next year.

Further information on the grant schemes available and how to apply is available from the IFI website.

Published in Angling

A Co Cork dairy farmer has been fined €8,000 at Midleton District Court following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

On Thursday 12 November, Brian Duncan pleaded guilty before Judge Patricia Harney to polluting the Douglas River at Garryduff, Dungourney, Co Cork in April 2018.

The court heard that an initial discharge of slurry from his farmyard was followed by further reoccurrences, resulting in a number of court adjournments and hearings to allow completion of court-directed remedial works.

IFI gave evidence that the river had been severely polluted by the slurry discharges, which had rendered the riverine habitat inaccessible to spawning trout and salmon.

Evidence was also given that Duncan was running a large farm with a dairy herd in excess of 1,000 and that he had invested significantly in improving his yard facilities since the initial incident.

Judge Harney convicted Duncan under Section 171 (1) of the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Section 3 (1) of The Local Government Water Pollution Act 1977, awarding full costs and expenses of €8,139 to IFI.

While noting the remedial works, Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “Livestock manure and other organic fertilisers, effluents and soiled water have the potential to cause devastating effects on our fisheries resource.

“Good farmyard management and using preventative measures helps stop accidental discharges of polluting substances and protects the local environment, which will have a significant and lasting positive impact on valuable wild fish populations and general wellbeing in an area.

“I urge the farming community to remain vigilant to the risk of pollution from yards and slurry tanks. Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.’”

To prevent waters from being polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus when land-spreading, IFI advises farmers to refer to Good Agricultural Practice Regulations guidance on www.agriculture.gov.ie

Published in Angling

A newly published research paper co-authored by experts in Ireland highlights the importance of ferox trout to the fisheries of Lough Corrib and Lough Mask.

Ferox trout are highly prized by trophy anglers, and Loughs Corrib and Mask have recorded the majority of Irish specimens since angling records began in the 1950s.

The large, long-lived, fish-eating trout are normally found in deep lakes and are believed to be genetically distinct from normal brown trout, having evolved after the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago.

Little was known about the spawning location of Irish ferox trout compared to normal brown trout, and a radio tracking study was initiated in both catchments in 2005.

Local anglers and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) staff helped catch large ferox trout on both lakes in order to insert radio tags.

The fish were released after tagging and then tracked with help from the Irish Air Corps helicopter unit and by walking spawning streams with a radio tracking antenna to determine in which streams ferox spawned.

Scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland worked with colleagues at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research on the data collected in this study.

Results from radio tracking showed that the majority (92%) of ferox trout tagged in Lough Corrib spawned in a single spawning stream, the Cong River, while the majority (76%) of ferox trout tagged in Lough Mask spawned in the Cong canal and Cong River.

These results, as published in the Journal of Fish Biology, indicate that these streams are most likely the principle spawning locations of ferox trout in both lakes.

Dr Paddy Gargan, senior research officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland and lead author on the publication, said: “The occurrence of ferox trout predominantly in single spawning rivers in both catchments highlights the vulnerability of the ferox populations with estimates of their population size thought to be small”.

IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher welcomed the findings and said: “It was important that conservation measures, based on this research, have been introduced in the Corrib and Mask catchments continue to protect ferox trout.

“These conservation measures have reduced the number of ferox trout being killed and claimed as specimens and support the conservation of this unique trout.”

Published in Marine Science
Page 1 of 27

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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