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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

RTÉ News reports that one man has died as the search continues for a second man after a fishing vessel is understood to have sunk off Hook Head last night (Saturday 4 January).

A man in his 60s was recovered in the early hours of this morning (Sunday 5 January) but died at University Hospital Waterford.

The Irish Coast Guard and RNLI lifeboat crews are involved in the search for a second individual believed to have been on the trawler south of Dunmore East.

Published in Fishing

It’s hoped that five of the 23 Irish Coast Guard units whose boats were pulled from service over lifejacket safety issues could resume operations within days, as BreakingNews.ie reports.

Last month all coastguard rescue boat operations were suspended as the IRCG launched a probe into a malfunction of its standard issue lifejackets.

Community rescue boats, RNLI lifeboats and the Naval Service were called upon to provide cover for the 23 stations around Ireland that have been affected. The suspension does not apply to the IRCG’s shoreline and cliff rescue teams.

Management has now told volunteers that a new lifejacket, the Crewsaver 380N, is being introduced on a phased basis to replace the potentially affected Rescue 400.

Subject to testing and other operational requirements, this could see rescue boats back in service at the ‘priority’ stations of Mulroy and Greencastle (Co Donegal), Drogheda and Kilkee as soon as this Thursday 5 December. BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Coast Guard’s Dun Laoghaire unit has been chosen to pilot drone operations covering the East sector.

Training is set to commence early in the new year using DroneSAR, a software platform developed by a Donegal-based team to employ commercially available drones as part of search and rescue missions.

Once this training has been completed, the coastguard crew say they will be available to assist with missing person searches.

The news comes just months after the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency announced its own 12-month drone trial to support its search and rescue actions on the Essex coast.

Published in Coastguard

Extra pressure will be put on the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter rescue services this winter as the State’s air ambulance plans to shut down for 16 days between now and next February.

As RTÉ News reports, “mounting staffing and training problems” will force the Air Corps to ground the Athlone-based AC112 air ambulance it has been using since 2012 for a total of 16 days — four each month from now until February.

The Department of Defence confirmed in a statement that the coastguard “will provide reserve cover to the national ambulance service” in line with the establishment of the Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) in 2015.

The Irish Community Rapid Response air ambulance based in Rathcoole, Co Cork will also be available “and the potential for it to provide increased support is also being explored”.

The statement added: “The priority is to provide the best service possible using all available resources during the four-day periods each month when the Air Corps are not available for EAS taskings.

“This interruption is regrettable but necessary from a safety and governance perspective.”

The coastguard’s helicopter fleet was previously trialled as an air ambulance service, and subsequently engaged in night-time cover.

But the arrangement was scaled back two years ago over concerns with pilot doing double duty for patient transfers.

Published in Coastguard

All Irish Coast Guard rescue boat operations are suspended as of yesterday (Friday 15 November) as the organisation launches a probe into a malfunction in its standard issue lifejackets.

RTÉ News reports that the coastguard’s rescue boats in 23 stations around Ireland have been withdrawn from service amid concerns over the Rescue 400 lifejacket used by its personnel.

“Specifically, the 275N section of the lifejacket failed to fully function when activated,” said an email to IRCG officers in charge as seen by media yesterday.

The suspension does not affect the Irish Coast Guard’s shoreline and cliff rescue teams.

Community rescue boats, RNLI lifeboats and the Naval Service are reportedly providing on-the-water cover in affected areas.

Published in Coastguard

Four people have been rescued from an island off the Sligo coast after their vessel washed up on rocks.

Bundoran RNLI’s volunteer crew launched to the incident at Inishmurray Island yesterday afternoon (Sunday 3 November) along with the Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118, which airlifted the casualties to hospital

The RNLI says the lifeboat made efforts to recover their boat from the rocks but due to a three-metre swell, it was decided to leave it in place.

Later, volunteer helm Rory O’Connor said: “The four casualties were lucky on this occasion and we are thankful that they alerted the coastguard when they did. This was another callout with a good outcome.”

Published in Rescue

A motorboat that became propped up on pot buoys in Baltimore Harbour at the weekend made a direct call for help to the local RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat which was returning to base nearby.

The incident occurred on Saturday evening (7 September) after the Baltimore lifeboat had just completed a training exercise with the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

Lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “The skipper of the motorboat realised immediately that he needed assistance and as he had been watching the lifeboat and helicopter demonstration minutes before, he knew that the quickest way to alert the lifeboat was to call them directly on channel 16 on his VHF.”

Within minutes the all-weather lifeboat — with coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Emma Lupton, Ronnie Carthy, David Ryan, Jim Griffiths, Ryan O’Mahony and Eoin Ryan — was alongside the 33ft motor vessel.

Another motorboat skippered by former lifeboat crewman Torsten Marten was also nearby at the time, and he was drafted to assist in transferring two lifeboat crew to the casualty vessel rather than having to launch the lifeboat’s Y-boat.

The casualty boat was then secured alongside the all-weather lifeboat and brought to the safety of Baltimore’s North Pier.

Callanan reminded all boaters: “It is vital for anyone going to sea to always carry a means of communication such as a mobile phone or VHF in order to raise the alarm should they require help.”

The callout came on the eve of Baltimore RNLI’s centenary celebration yesterday (Sunday 8 September), at which it named its new Atlantic 85 inshore vessel 100 years to the date since the arrival of its first ever lifeboat.

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI launched on Thursday night (5 September) to tow a razor fishing boat with two on board that struck rocks off Red Island and damaged its steering.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

RTÉ News reports that 15 young people were rescued from the sea off Donegal yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 13 August).

Ten were airlifted to hospital in Letterkenny after the group got into difficulty while swimming by the pier at Magheroarty in north-west Donegal, according to the Irish Coast Guard.

Several emergency calls were reportedly made by onlookers at the scene, where the Mulroy coastguard unit and Tory Island ferry Queen of Aran also stood by to assist.

A spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard acknowledged the fortunate outcome, and singled out the crew of the Sligo-based SAR helicopter Rescue 118 “for their efficient response to a difficult challenge”.

Published in Rescue

A man was taken to hospital with hand injuries by Irish Coast Guard helicopter after a Mayday call on a yacht off Kilmore Quay on Saturday (29 June).

The local RNLI lifeboat crew were en route to another vessel that had requested a tow when the call came in from a 12m yacht some 13 miles south-west of the Co Wexford village.

It was reported that as the yacht’s crew were adjusting a sail, a piece of rigging had parted and seriously injured the skipper’s hand.

The lifeboat arrived just after the Waterford-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 117, whose crew determined the best course of action was to transfer the casualty to the lifeboat for pain relief.

He was subsequently winched to the helicopter and flown to Waterford University Hospital for further treatment.

Published in Rescue

Greencastle, Co Donegal’s Irish Coast Guard team were tasked by the IRCG emergency operations centre at Malin to a rock climber who got into difficulty at Hell’s Hole on Malin Head on Tuesday evening (28 May)

The climber was trapped 45 metres down the cliff in a dangerous location, the cliff face being unpredictable with loose rocks and particularly so during hours of darkness.

Despite these challenges, the coastguard cliff team successfully rescued the climber.

If you see someone in difficulty, on the cliffs, coast or water, do not hesitate to dial 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Coastguard
Page 7 of 34

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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