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Displaying items by tag: Irish Water

A court has heard that Malahide Marina was flooded with enough sewage to fill more than two Olympic-size swimming pools in a pollution incident last year, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Irish Water pleaded guilty to offences under the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 following the malfunction of a treatment plant in the north Co Dublin town on 28 April 2018.

The company was fined €1,500 and ordered to pay €850 for expenses and €5,000 towards legal costs.

Brendan Kissane, inspector for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which brought the case, told the court that the incident occurred after one of the plant’s three pumps had been removed, and the other two failed four days later on a day when the facility was not staffed full-time.

This resulted in raw sewage overflowing from tanks in the facility into the nearby marina.

It was also heard that the pump failure was not detected until the day after the pollution incident, a Sunday, and the pollution continued until a temporary pump was installed the following day.

TheJournal.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

The presence of a murky substance and discolouration in the water surrounding Bullock Harbour and Dalkey, Irish Water claim does not emanate from their waste treatment plants.

As the Dublin Gazette reports locals voiced their concern on the quality of the water during the week with images posted online showing a black substance floating to the top of the bay.

In a statement, Irish Water said: “Irish Water has investigated this issue and can confirm that the discolouration at Bullock Harbour is unrelated to the wastewater treatment process.

“All wastewater assets in the area are operating as normal and no incidents have been reported.”

Green Party county councillor Ossian Smyth says that “seawater is tested weekly at nine points along the coast from Shankill to Blackrock.

More on the story can be read here 

In addition Afloat adds a Harbour Masterplan prepared by the local council concerning Bullock and neighbouring Sandycove is currently available for consultation. 

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council invite any interested parties or individuals to make submissions and observations in respect of the Bullock and Sandycove Harbours Draft Masterplan 2019 noting the closing date is Monday, 19th August. 

Click the download of the draft Masterplan and the link to an online survey to make submission.  

Published in Dublin Bay

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted Irish Water for two separate pollution incidents which occurred in Cavan last summer.

On Thursday 6 June, Judge McLoughlin twice convicted Irish Water at Cavan District Court under the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for allowing harmful substances to enter the water on two occasions in June last year.

Over 600 fish were killed as a result of one pollution incident while an important habitat for spawning and young fish was damaged as a result of the other.

The court heard evidence from fisheries inspector Cormac Goulding that on 19 June 2018, staff from IFI noticed that the river downstream of the Ballinagh Treatment Plant in Cavan was in very poor condition.

The water was cloudy and the river was covered in sewage fungus and algal growth.

Following an investigation, it was discovered that untreated sewage was being discharged from the water treatment plant and at the pumping station further downstream.

Irish Water issued a report to IFI in response to the prosecution which revealed that their computerised monitoring system had been offline for six days, which meant that no alerts had been received about the problem.

The effluent was being discharged into aquatic habitat suitable for spawning or young trout.

Judge McLoughlin fined Irish Water €3,000 and total costs of €4,679 were awarded to IFI.

A separate pollution incident occurred a few days later on 25 June 2018 in Cavan Town River.

Judge McLoughlin heard evidence from Ailish Keane, senior environmental fisheries officer at IFI, about how the pollution incident resulted in the death of hundreds of fish including 687 native brown trout.

An investigation found that the fish kill was caused by the release of sewage effluent into the river from an overflow culvert located under Farnham Street Bridge.

Irish Water were again convicted and fined €4,000 plus costs of €4,346.

Milton Matthews, director of the North Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “In both cases in Cavan, harmful material was discharged into local rivers and in Cavan town this resulted in a large kill of over 600 native brown trout, of all age classes.

“As it can take years for a waterbody to recover to its former condition following pollution incidents, it is crucial that robust management systems are in place to prevent avoidable incidents which can have a serious impact on our wild fish and their natural habitat.

“The restoration of the aquatic habitat and the maintenance of water quality is vital if we are to enable wild fish populations to recover naturally.

“We are working to protect, conserve and develop our natural fisheries resource which is of significant recreational and economic value to communities in Cavan and across the country.”

Published in Angling

Almost 30 sewage schemes across Ireland fall short of EU directives on wastewater treatment, as The Green News reports.

The European Court of Justice ruling from this past Thursday 28 March now means Ireland could be liable to significant fines if the problem schemes are not addressed.

Among the court’s findings were that Cork city’s strained wastewater treatment scheme was subject to more than 800 spillages of untreated sewage in 2015 alone.

Sensitive areas in Killarney, Longford, Dundalk and Tralee, among others, were also affected by untreated wastewater discharges for which the State has been reprimanded by European judges.

In addition, the State as found guilty of failing to provide for secondary treatment at a number of problem sites including Cobh in Cork Harbour, the fishing harbours of Arklow and Killybegs, and Ringsend in Dublin — the latter of which was the scene of a discharge of ‘activated sludge’ only a month ago.

The Department of Housing and Local Government says it has provided Irish Water “with the necessary resources to both tackle the deficiencies identified by the [ECJ] as well as providing the infrastructure which will underpin the future sustainable development of our country.”

Part of the State’s defence in this case were occasions of ‘unusually heavy rainfall’ that overwhelmed the country’s wastewater management systems.

Such conditions are also linked to the leeching of nitrates and phosphates from agricultural sites causing seaweed blooms in coastal areas, as highlighted by a recent academic report.

The news also comes after oral hearings began into a long-planned €500 million wastewater treatment scheme for North Dublin that faces strong local oppositions.

The Green News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

Planners are from today set to review proposals for a controversial €500 million wastewater treatment scheme in North Dublin, as The Irish Times reports.

Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport was chosen in June 2013 as the site for the sewage ‘super plant’ before Irish Water took over the Greater Dublin Drainage project from Fingal County Council last year.

The new plant — second only to the Ringsend wastewater facility in scope — would be connected to a new orbital sewer to Blanchardstown, and an outfall pipe to eject treated wastewater in the sea north of Ireland’s Eye.

Plans for the new sewage processing plant have faced strong local opposition, both from residents adjacent to the Clonshaugh site and connected works and marine professionals concerned about potential environmental risks.

Last October, Howth-based ferryman Ken Doyle expressed his fears of the knock-on effect on fish stocks from any accidental contamination of the local waters from the outfall pipe.

The planning hearing began at The Gresham hotel in Dublin this morning, and The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

This past weekend’s discharge of wastewater in the River Liffey from the Irish Water treatment plant in Ringsend is being investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

As RTÉ News reports, failure of a processing tank at the locally controversial site led to the overflow, which Irish Water confirmed was from an outfall 1km from the plant in the Lower Liffey Estuary in Dublin Bay, around 9am on Saturday (23 February).

Irish Water says the discharge of ‘activated sludge’ — which “does not pose the same risk to public health or the environment as a raw sewage discharge would” — lasted for around 20 minutes.

But drone images captured on Saturday evening showed the persistence and extent of the pollution incident beside the Great South Wall.

The Ringsend wastewater treatment plant is reportedly running at 20% above capacity as it treats two-fifths of all wastewater in Ireland.

As such, its standard discharge “does not comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment requirements”, according to an Irish Water statement which also confirmed that the EPA conducted an audit of the affected site yesterday (Tuesday 26 February).

Published in Dublin Bay

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that TechWorks Marine has deployed four trawl-resistant, bottom-mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) frames throughout Lough Swilly.

The frames deployed on Wednesday 20 February will be on the seafloor for a minimum period of one calendar month and a maximum period of two months (weather permitting).

Water sampling surveys are required to be carried out at the same time as the deployments and these are tide and weather dependent, and may cause a slight delay in recovery, hence the two-month deployment period.

The ADCPs will be measuring currents through the water column at each location over the month-long deployment. This data will be used to validate a hydrodynamic model of the area being developed for Irish Water.

The deployment locations as noted in Marine Notice No 5 of 2019 are (degrees, minutes, seconds) WGS84 as follows:

  • ADCP 1: 55° 12' 59.5" N, 7° 34' 37.2" W
  • ADCP 2: 55° 06' 51.9" N, 7° 29' 02.7" W
  • ADCP 3: 55° 03' 52.4" N, 7° 32' 11.3" W
  • ADCP 4: 55° 01' 17.5" N, 7° 32' 55.4" W

Each frame will have an ADCP sensor (for waves and currents), acoustic release, rigid recovery buoy, acoustic pinger and grapple line. The frames are approximately 1m2 and will remain on the seafloor for a period of up to 30 days, after which the frame will be retrieved by the acoustic release by the retrieval team of a pop-up buoy allowing for its recovery or by a grapple line recovery method.

During the extent of the deployment, ADCP frames 1, 2 and 3 will have a surface marker. The ADCP 1 and 2 will have a red in colour surface buoy and ADCP 3 will have a yellow in colour surface buoy. There will be no surface marker for ADCP 4 so vessel traffic will not need to avoid its location but should be aware of its presence.

Published in Marine Warning

#FishKill - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) prosecuted Irish Water yesterday (Tuesday 5 February) at Ballina District Court for the discharge of a harmful substance into the Ballycorrigan River on 17 May last year, causing a fish kill.

Among the fish mortalities were 100 brown trout of different age groups, three juvenile salmon and one stone loach which were killed when a cleaning substance was discharged into the river.

Judge Patrick Durcan heard evidence from Michael Fitzsimons, a senior fisheries environmental officer with IFI, that a detailed investigation was carried out following a pollution report received from the general public.

It found that the fish kill was caused by a combination of effluents arising from an uncontrolled maintenance event from Irish Water’s Ballina/Killaloe wastewater treatment plant.

Irish Water entered a guilty plea. Judge Durcan directed Irish Water to pay IFI’s legal costs of €2,290 and fined the body €2,500.

Judge Durcan stated that Irish Water did not take into consideration the environment and conditions when discharging into the river and that Ireland’s rivers are its most important natural resource.

He said that while these resources are maintained under the vigilance of Inland IFI, Irish Water needs to be vigilant, too.

Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District with IFI, said: “Irish Water co-operated fully with Inland Fisheries Ireland’s investigation and updated its cleaning protocols for the use of chemicals in treatment plants nationwide with more appropriate methods now in use as a direct result of this incident.

“Our fisheries resource is an extremely valuable asset, both from a recreational and economic perspective and it is crucial that we continue to protect and conserve it for future generations to enjoy.”

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - RTÉ News reports on concerns among anglers on Lough Derg over Irish Water’s plans to pump water from the River Shannon to supply Dublin and the Midlands.

The utility has proposed a pipeline from Parteen Basin, south of Lough Derg, to the capital in order to deal with water shortages due to leaks in the ageing infrastructure.

But the plan has come under fire from campaign groups, who claim the case for such a project is backed by “false statements and mathematical errors”.

And anglers are also fearing the worst over the scheme that would see 330 million litres pumped each day from the Shannon.

Citing difficulties experienced last summer when levels dropped by as much as two feet after a water release by the ESB at Ardnacrusha, Lough Derg anglers’ representative Joe O’Donoghue says the potential harm to boating and the Shannon ecosystem have not been taken into consideration.

Published in Angling

#Angling - At a sitting of Ardee District Court on Monday 12 March, Irish Water pleaded guilty to the discharge of deleterious matter to the River Dee on 15 May 2017.

The offence related to a poor quality discharge from a wastewater treatment plant at Ardee, Co Louth.

The River Dee rises near Bailieboro in Co Cavan and flows through Co Meath and Co Louth, where it enters the Irish Sea at the village of Annagassan.

Michaela Kirrane, senior fisheries environmental officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), told Judge Coughlan that during a routine inspection of the river on the 25 May last year, it was noted that the river appeared to be in a poor condition downstream of the discharge point from Ardee Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A series of water samples were taken and analysis confirmed that the discharge from the treatment plant was having a deleterious impact on the quality of the River Dee, an important brown trout fishery.

Irish Water co-operated fully with IFI’s investigation and remediation works were carried out. Upgrade works are currently underway to increase capacity at the wastewater treatment plant. 

Irish Water was fined €4,500 with costs and expenses awarded to IFI amounting to €4,381.61.

Published in Angling
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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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