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Displaying items by tag: Lough foyle

A newly built 150m oil tanker which ran aground close to the mouth of Lough Foyle earlier this morning has been refloated.

As Afloat reported earlier, the 11,826 tonne Thun Liffey was leaving Lisahally terminal in Derry for Milford Haven when the incident occurred at about 9am. 

The ship grounded on the “Tuns” sandbank, running between the mouth of the Foyle and Magilligan Point. 

No pollution and no injuries have been reported. However, several tugs were dispatched to assist the vessel in refloating on the incoming tide.

The ship has returned to Derry, and it is expected it will be inspected for any damage before it is authorised to leave port again.

The Thun Liffey was built this year (2020) and is sailing under the Netherlands flag.

It had steamed frequently between Derry and Milford Haven this month, and had already discharged its cargo.

It was due to have berthed in Milford Haven at 10 am on Wednesday morning (Dec 30).

Published in Ports & Shipping
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Focusing her attention to the transport heritage on “God’s Side of the peninsula”, Rosie Moulden, Manager of the Inishowen Maritime Museum in Greencastle, revealed the first recorded steamer trip on Lough Foyle took place in 1816.

Speaking to Derry Now, Rosie said: “On August 25, 1816, a Clyde based steamer took an excursion of 30 passengers from Derry to Greencastle. Unfortunately, there is no mention of her name, only that she had come from the Clyde earlier in the month.

“There are reports that a steamer was brought from Glasgow to Derry to provide towage services for barges between Derry and Strabane. She was also used to provide towage services on Lough Foyle and is mentioned as having towed McCorkell’s ship, ‘Marcus Hill’, down-river to Greencastle to catch a fair wind for her outward passage. The ‘Marcus Hill’ was operated by McCorkell’s between 1815 and 1827.

“There may have been two steamers offering towage on the Lough at that time. The ‘Britannia’ was a wooden-hulled paddle steamer, built in Port Glasgow, in 1815.

“In 1820, she made an excursion voyage from the Clyde to the Giant’s Causeway. In 1821, she made another four-day excursion voyage from the Clyde, calling at Derry, Culmore, Redcastle, Moville and Greencastle,” said Rosie Moulden.

The ‘Britannia’ was then bought by Alexander A Laird and Company for the Glasgow and Londonderry Steam Packet Company.

It began a regular Glasgow to Derry service in 1822, with additional calls at Culmore, Quigley's Point, Moville, Greencastle and Portrush.

For more on the Foyle's historic paddle steamer era and photos click here.

Published in Historic Boats

The Loughs Agency is now inviting interested parties to apply for a licence to fish the 2020/2021 native oyster fishery in Lough Foyle.

Applicants will be required to submit a completed application form by post only (standard delivery, not recorded delivery) due to coronavirus restrictions to:

Loughs Agency Headquarters
22 Victoria Road
Derry~Londonderry
BT47 2AB
Northern Ireland

Applicants are also asked not to send additional documents or payment, only the application.

The licence fee is £150 or €166 with fees payable on receipt of licence.

Anyone who held a licence to fish the Lough Foyle native oyster fishery last season will receive an application pack via post.

If you do not receive a pack or you did not hold a licence last season but wish to apply this year, please either download a form or contact +44 (0) 28 71 342100 (lines open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) to receive a hard copy via post.

Interested parties must have completed applications with the Loughs Agency on or before Friday 31 July. No late applications will be accepted.

Published in Fishing

The Loughs Agency’s elicence website is now back online and anglers can purchase licences for the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

Anglers are individually responsible for compliance with their government’s advice and guidance. Anglers should keep up to date with the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland.

Loughs Agency offices remain closed and the normal licence distributor network is also still under lockdown conditions. Therefore, anyone wishing to purchase a licence should do so through the elicence website.

For anglers requesting carcass tags when they purchase a licence online, these will be posted to your address. Anglers should take this into account when purchasing.

For anglers purchasing a Loughs Agency endorsement licence, please ensure you have already purchased a full season licence or concession licence from DAERA or a full season or district licence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Loughs Agency carryout checks with our colleagues in DAERA and IFI to validate licence purchases.

If you require a Loughs Agency permit for Foyle, Finn or Greenbraes, please contact the Loughs Agency on +44 (0) 2871 342100 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

Illegal fishing or pollution concerns can be reported through the Loughs Agency’s Waterwatch reporting tool online or through the 24-hour response line on +44 (0) 2871 342100.

If you require any further assistance, call the Loughs Agency at the above number during normal weekday office hours or email [email protected]

Published in Angling

The postponement of the Clipper Race 2019 – 20 will have a huge effect on the City of Derry where the fleet was due to have its penultimate stop-over at the end of July. Derry City and Strabane District Council say the decision by Clipper Ventures to postpone the Clipper 2019-20 Race is “disappointing news but understandable” considering the current COVID-19 situation being faced across the globe.

As Afloat reported previously, crews were quarantined in the Philippines in mid-March.

The Mayor, Councillor Michaela Boyle said the decision to postpone the Race is the right one in the current climate. This postponement will have an impact on the timing of future races. As the 2019-20 edition’s remaining three legs will be resumed in approximately ten months when the circumnavigation will be completed, the next full edition of the Clipper Race will start in the summer of 2022.

And, again in light of the COVID -19 crisis, the Foyle Maritime Festival of which the Clipper event was a huge part, has also been postponed. Councillor Boyle commented “By working together and looking out for one another we can all do our bit to limit the spread of this virus and protect our local community by taking the necessary precautions to stay safe,”

The economic value of the Festival would have been expected to be substantial, with the 2018 event attracting 220,000 people and bringing in £2.20 for every pound invested by the Council. There were over 84 craft and eleven Clippers on the pontoons and quays in the heart of Derry.

Last week the Loughs Agency visited local primary schools in the Foyle and Carlingford areas as part of the Salmon Ambassadors programme.

The programme, which forms part of the legacy of 2019’s International Year of the Salmon, will see the agency working with eight schools (six in Foyle and two in the Carlingford catchmen) to connect pupils with their local river habitats, and use the lifecycle of the salmon to teach them about the broader themes of biodiversity and ecology.

Loughs Agency education officer Michael Cosgrove said: “Through the Salmon Ambassadors we hope to create an informed generation that will value salmon as they should be valued and most importantly, value the environment we share with the ‘King of the Fish’.”

In their journey to becoming a Salmon Ambassador, pupils will learn about issues effecting the Atlantic salmon from local to global level and reflect upon how modern lifestyles have an impact on local wildlife.

Through a range of activities in class and on the banks of local rivers, pupils will be encouraged to take ownership of wild places and wild things so that they can be better conserved for future generations.

Allan Bogle, community engagement officer, said: “Wach school will also look after around 100 salmonid eggs until they hatch. This a participative education programme which is really hands-on so that each pupil can connect with the salmon and their local river.”

Over the next few months, 163 pupils will undertake a range of activities as they research the migration routes, threats and life cycle of the salmon, before presenting their findings and results at a salmon conference in June.

The Loughs Agency has organised two morning seminars around the theme of maritime heritage in the Foyle and Carlingford areas later this month.

The first will take place at Greencastle Golf Club next Friday 22 November from 9.30am to 12.30pm, while Carlingford Marina will host its seminar the following Friday 29 November at the same times.

Both events will include contributions from Patrick Fitzgerald, a professional historian with a long career in researching genealogy and uncovering the story of migration through the centuries, who will take attendees on a journey of migration through the Foyle and Carlingford loughs.

The Greencastle seminar will also hear from Gerald Crawford, former secretary of the Foyle Fisheries Commission, who will tell the story of commercial salmon fishing across two decades Fishing for Salmon in the Foyle.

Retired mariner Seamus Bovaird will be presenting on paddle steamers on Lough Foyle, while Edward Montgomery, secretary of The Honourable The Irish Society, will speak about the society and the Foyle fisheries, and Wes Forsythe, a career archaeologist with an interest in the Foyle area, will presenting on ;Salt and the Sea;.

In Carlingford, Brendan McSherry, Louth County Council’s heritage officer with a passionate awareness of Carlingford Lough, its shores, hinterland and communities, will present on Carlingford Lough, a barrier or a highway?

Kirstin Lemon, geologist by profession with a broader intent to inform communities about their geology and the influence on their culture, will speak about ‘Mountains, Myths and Maritime: a UNESCO Global Geopark in Mourne Gullion Strangford’.

Finally, Liam Campbell, a researcher with an intense interest in exploring the development of cultures within distinct catchments, will present on the ‘Culture of the Catchment – Source to Sea’.

Admission is free free of charge for both events, however tickets must be obtained through Eventbrite to ensure a place at the Foyle and Carlingford seminars respectively.

In other heritage news, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has published its report on the public and sectoral meetings held earlier this year on Heritage Ireland 2030, Ireland’s national heritage plan.

Among the issues raised at the sessions in Kilkenny and Galway in February were a lack of joined-up thinking across Government departments with relation to heritage issues, and a recognition of the need to understand heritage in a holistic sense encompassing everything from regional traditions to built heritage and wildlife.

Collective work between scientists and the angling community for the survival of salmon in the cross-border catchments of Foyle and Carlingford was to the fore at the recent conference in Omagh hosted by the Loughs Agency.

Stark warnings over the decline of the species were heard along with presentations from the likes of Dr Diego Del Villar, who discussed the new SeaMonitor project that is currently studying the seas around Ireland, Northern Ireland and western Scotland, and will in time help produce a salmon management plan for the River Foyle.

The Loughs Agency says it will soon launch a public consultation to gauge the views of the public in managing the salmon fishery.

John McCartney, Loughs Agency director of conservation and protection, said: “We value the input and opinion of the public when reviewing our salmon management programme. I would encourage everyone take time to consider and respond to the questions.”

Published in Angling

#Fishing - The UK Government has been accused of “coasting” on plans for Britain’s and in particular Northern Ireland’s fisheries post-Brexit, as the News Letter reports.

MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee have written to fisheries secretary Michael Gove for solutions to “the crushing shortage of labour, illegal oyster farming in Lough Foyle and Ireland’s continued suspension of fishing rights under the Voisinage Arrangement.”

The Voisinage Arrangement has existed since the mid 1960s and allowed for mutual access to vessels from the Republic and Northern Ireland up to six miles off the coast of each country.

But the arrangements was suspended in the Republic in 2016 after the Supreme Court ruled that it had not been properly incorporated into Irish law.

The committee have also demanded immediate “timescales” to resolve territorial claims on Lough Foyle, which have not been a practical issue since both countries have been EU member states.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Oysters - Unauthorised oysters farms have exploded in number on Lough Foyle amid a continued dispute over its ownership, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The estuary between the counties of Donegal and Derry remains a point of contention as Brexit looms, with both the UK and Irish governments claiming dominion over its waters.

As a result, there has been a proliferation of unregulated oyster farming that could be worth £20 million or €22.89 million each year, according to the Loughs Agency.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on this story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under
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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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