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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

Industrial action by Irish Coast Guard search and rescue pilots scheduled to begin yesterday (Thursday 24 January) has been called off to allow for further talks, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Pilots have sat down with coastguard helicopter operator CHC Ireland a number of times this week to find a resolution to a long-running dispute over rostering hours.

In a letter to the Labour Court yesterday, Brendan O’Hanlon of trade union Fórsa, whose branch Ialpa represents the pilots, wrote: “Following local last-minute discussions designated to avert the pending action, it has been agreed to defer any action to allow further engagement.”

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
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The Irish Times reports that helicopter search and rescue pilots with the Irish Coast Guard are to take industrial action from Thursday (24 January) in a dispute over rostering hours.

Brendan O’Hanlon of trade union Fórsa, whose branch Ialpa represents the pilots, said the issues had been an “ongoing problem” for 18 months and that the SAR service “is over-reliant on overtime in order to maintain the level required”.

CHC Ireland, which operates the service, says it has the full compliment of coastguard pilots needed to operate.

From noon on Thursday pilots are set to engage in work-to-rule action, meaning they will work a fixed pattern of six days of work, including three 24-hour shifts, followed by three days off.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
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A reptile feared to be a venomous turtle-headed sea snake was found on a beach on the East Cork coast on Thursday 3 January, as the Irish Examiner reports.

However, minds were put at ease when the dead snake spotted by the local coastguard on Youghal Beach turned out to be a California kingsnake — a non-venomous species that had likely been kept as a pet.

It’s not yet known now the 1.5-metre snake came to be on the beach. The Irish Examiner has more here.

Published in Coastal Notes

Irish Coast Guard teams across Ireland have responded to incidents related to the extreme conditions brought by Storm Diana over the last two days.

Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard was tasked at lunchtime on Tuesday (27 November) to extract a member of the public that had walked out the South Bull wall during stormy conditions.

The safest option in that situation was the casualty to take shelter until the tide dropped.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 November), the team was called out to the Shankill shoreline close to Shanganagh Water Treatment plant to reports of a vehicle submerged in water with person a trapped.

Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard were tasked immediately along with Rescue 116 from Dublin Airport and Dun Laoghaire RNLI. While crews were responding to the incident, the casualty was rescued by his colleagues. All crews were stood down.

Shortly after, Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard was tasked to another incident at the town’s East Pier, where members of the public were stranded due to waves breaching the pier wall.

On arrival, Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard members identified a few members of public on the pier and advised them to relocate to a safer location.

Elsewhere, Crosshaven Coast Guard was tasked several times, starting on Tuesday evening with a person who had fallen overboard from a yacht and had been in the water for almost an hour.

The casualty was evacuated to Crosshaven RNLI’s lifeboat station, while the coastguard crew refloated their vessel that had gone aground.

Crosshaven was tasked again yesterday morning to recover a yacht after it broke its mooring near Drakes Pool. A tow was quickly established and casualty vessel brought to safety to a Royal Cork Yacht Club mooring.

The Irish Coast Guard strongly advises the public to stay away from exposed beaches, cliffs and piers, harbour walls and promenades along the coast during storm conditions.

Remember to Stay Back, Stay High and Stay Dry.

If you see someone in difficulty in the sea, or on the shore dial 999/112 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Coastguard

The Clare Herald reports on a helicopter medevac from the Queen Mary 2 off the Irish coast earlier this week.

Rescue 115 from the Irish Coast Guard was involved in the evacuation of an elderly woman to University Hospital Limerick from the luxury ocean liner on Monday afternoon (19 November).

The incident came just over a year after an elderly man with a suspected heart problem was evacuated from the same liner off West Cork.

Published in Coastguard

Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard has issued an appeal against the use of sky lanterns ahead of next week’s Hallowe’en celebrations.

Sometimes called Chinese lanterns, the airborne paper lights carry a flame inside and are often used at social occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

But the lanterns pose a risk to aviation, as well as a nuisance to rescue services which have responded to countless false alarms over presumed emergency flares.

The burning lanterns also pose fire and health risks to land and livestock.

Anyone planning to use such lanterns needs prior permission from the Irish Aviation Authority, which also restricts launches to no more than 50 lanterns.

Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard has the relevant contact details on its Facebook page.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit is looking to recruit and train three new volunteers in 2019.

If you live very locally to the North Co Dublin coastguard unit and are highly available, interested volunteers must attend an information evening at the West Pier coastguard station on Wednesday 24 October.

This meeting is mandatory if you wish to be considered for one of these three trainee positions.

To register your attendance email [email protected]

Recently Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard put out their own call for potential new volunteers to join South Co Dublin unit.

Published in Coastguard
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#Coastguard - Do you live in or around Dun Laoghaire and have time to volunteer? Do you drive? Are you aged between 18 and 65?

If so, you may be the right fit for Dun Laoghaire Coastguard, which is currently running a recruitment drive.

Send the unit a message via Dun Laoghaire Coastguard's official Facebook page with your details for further information about the important lifesaving role.

#SAR - The report of a team appointed to review “oversight” in Ireland’s search and rescue aviation operations has been published.

Among its short-term recommendations is that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) “formally and clearly assigns” the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) “with responsibility for the legal and safety oversight” of civil aviation SAR.

In the medium term, it is recommended that the IAA be directed to develop “clear and unambiguous” regulatory material for SAR “that is appropriate to the scale and complexity of the national aviation system”, and that roles and responsibilities are “assigned appropriately … [with] a consistent, shared understanding”.

The report says it is “evident that the regulatory arrangements for search and rescue are a hybrid of maritime and aviation depending on which assets are deployed and in what circumstances.”

But it also stresses that Ireland “is not exceptional” in this regard, and that its recommendations show “learnings which will be relevant to other jurisdictions”.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has considered the report and accepts in full its 12 recommendations.

The review was conducted as a direct response to the Air Accident Investigation Unit’s (AAIU) interim statement in March as its own investigation into the Rescue 116 incident remains ongoing after more than a year due to its “depth and breadth”.

An international team of aviation and SAR experts worked on the report, which was completed in early August and submitted to the AAIU along with a series of follow-up actions to ensure full implementation of the its recommendations.

The AAIU says it has had an opportunity to consider the report in the context of its “wide-ranging investigation into the R116 accident and is happy that its publication does not jeopardise any other element of its ongoing investigation.”

As the report states, the review did not examine the specific circumstances in relation to the Rescue 116 accident and as such, there is no intention to establish any causal link between their findings and the accident.

Speaking upon the publication of the report today (Friday 21 September), Minister Ross said: “I have instructed that all necessary steps be taken without delay to ensure speedy implementation of all of the recommendations.

“As the report explains, search and rescue oversight and regulation is a complex matter, and international regulation is still endeavouring to keep pace with practice on the ground.

“However, we now have an opportunity in Ireland — and a blueprint – to make meaningful improvement to our current oversight structures, and in doing so set a benchmark for other jurisdictions.”

The minister said he will continue to provide updates to the AAIU on the progress in implementing these actions.

The report is available as a PDF to read or download from the DTTAS website HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue - A night angler was rescued after falling from a cliff on Galway Bay in the early hours of yesterday morning (Saturday 8 September), as BreakingNews.ie reports.

Doolin Coast Guard’s cliff rescue specialists joined emergency services near Black Head Lighthouse after 1am, while the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 was also tasked.

The cliff rescue crew faced difficult conditions as they located and secured the casualty for airlift to University Hospital Galway.

BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
Page 9 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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