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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#WaterSafety - Water safety chiefs have yet again underscored the dangers of swimming in unsupervised areas after a teenager drowned in Co Derry yesterday afternoon.

The Irish Times reports that the 15-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital by police helicopter after getting into difficulty when he fell into the River Roe.

The as yet unnamed teen is the seventh drowning victim on the island of Ireland during the current heatwave.

Last week alone saw five drownings of young people, prompting Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech to make a public appeal for awareness of the dangers of swimming in areas without lifeguards, especially in open water.

“One of the reasons we’re losing all these youngish people is because a whole generation haven’t learned to swim in open water,” said Leech, who added that 32 per cent of victims have consumed alcohol.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#BelfastLough - A 31-year-old man from Newtownabbey has been fined a total of £600 (€697) for assaulting a police officer and exposing himself at a beach on the shores of Belfast Lough.

As UTV News reports, Belfast Magistrates Court heard that Robert John Stewart was "stoned out of his head" during the incident at Hazelbank Park in which he winded one PSNI officer and dropped his shorts to others when he ran away to the nearby beach.

His defence lawyer told the judge that he "unreservedly apologises" for his behaviour in what was "a drunken episode".

UTV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Belfast Lough

#RNLI - RNLI Bangor's lifeboat launched at 4pm on Friday (12 July) to assist with the medical evacuation of an unconscious sailor from a 26ft yacht.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crew had the lifeboat launched and quickly located the yacht in Ballyholme Bay, on the southern shores of Belfast Lough.

Crews from other vessels in the vicinity also quickly responded to the Mayday call; they had been able to come alongside the yacht and had administered first aid to the injured sailor. Once medically stabilised, the sailor was taken onboard the Bangor lifeboat.

Fine weather conditions allowed the lifeboat to proceed at full speed back to Bangor, were the injured sailor was transferred into the care of waiting paramedics.

Dr Iain Dobie, a volunteer crewman with RNLI Bangor, praised the actions of all crews involved.

"When the call for help went out we are pleased that crews from other vessels close by had quickly responded and provided vital medical assistance. They did a fantastic job, by the time we arrived the gentleman was conscious."

He added: "We all wish him a full and speedy recovery."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Angling - The use of prawns and shrimp as bait in salmon angling could be banned in Northern Ireland under proposed restrictions on salmon and sea trout fishing, as Farming Life reports.

Aside from the bait regulations, Stormont is also putting forward a ban on commercial salmon netting and the introduction of a catch-and-release scheme for sport anglers in an effort to reverse dwindling salmon numbers in Ulster's inland waterways.

The moves come following an earlier voluntary ban on offshore salmon fishing in an effort to bolster wild salmon stocks which were last year feared to be "around dodo levels".

Similar restrictions were proposed this year for the River Suir - although anglers in Enniscorthy won support from Inland Fisheries Ireland last year in their call to lift a shrimp bait ban on their downstream fishery on the River Slaney.

Ulster Angling Federation chair Jim Haughey has urged angling club officials across Northern Ireland to study the consultation document published by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure with a view to making informed submissions on the proposed changes.

Farming Life has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Rescue - Castlerock RNLI lifeguards rescued a family of six after they got into difficulty on the town’s seaside beach in Co Derry yesterday (7 July).

Senior RNLI lifeguard Gordon Clark was patrolling busy Castlerock beach when at he noticed a person in the water waving for help a short distance to the right of the flagged zone on the beach around 5.30pm.



The family of six – including a man, woman and four children – were all on bodyboards when they got caught in what appeared to be a flash rip, a strong current running out to sea.



After radioing for assistance, Clark swiftly entered the sea with a rescue tube. He was quickly joined in the rescue operation by his RNLI lifeguard colleagues Jenny Thompson and Ray Cunningham. 



Clark and Thompson proceeded to safely ferry the children, followed by their parents, to the shore, where they were checked over to ensure they hadn’t taken on any water. All were safe and well.



Speaking following the rescue, Mike Grocott, RNLI lifeguard manager for Northern Ireland, said: "Rip currents often catch people out because they can be difficult to spot, and research shows that most people don’t know how to identify one. They are a major cause of incidents that the RNLI’s lifeguards deal with each season.



"Anyone who gets caught in a rip should try to remain calm, raise their arm in the air to signal for help like the family member did today. If they feel they can swim, they should swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, and then head for shore."



With temperatures expected to soar this week, Grocott reminded people to be mindful of the RNLI’s key safety recommendations – choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark the safest area to swim and are an indicator that lifeguards are on duty.

Published in Rescue

#MarineWildlife - An Irish marine research vessel has returned from an Atlantic Ocean voyage with tales of exotic new wildlife in the depths southwest of Ireland.

As The Irish Times reports, remarkable finds such as two-century-old clams and oysters, an endangered sailfin roughshark, a massive sponge and a giant hydroid - a rare relation to jellyfish and coral - were among the marine wildlife recorded by researchers on the RV Celtic Explorer in the Whittard Canyon on the Irish Atlantic margin.

Dr Louise Allcock of NUI Galway, who led the Marine Institute team on the ocean survey, said it was "part of an ongoing effort to understand Ireland's deep-sea biodiversity".

In a similar process to that used by the group who made new marine discoveries at Rockall recently, the Marine Institute team used a submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to collect images and samples from the ocean chasm that's twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Some of those samples may aid in antibacterial and pharmaceutical research, the team explained.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

In other marine wildlife news, the Belfast Telegraph fears that "chilly seas" could be keeping basking sharks at bay from Northern Ireland's waters, as the first sighting of the year was recorded last month.

Reports from various sources indicate that water temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees lower than normal for this time of year, inhibiting the blooming of plankton that are the main source of food for the second-largest fish in the sea.

And the numbers say it all, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) confirming only 19 sightings of basking sharks around the island of Ireland as of the end of May this year, compared to 84 in the same period in 2012 - although more were spotted earlier this month off Malin Head, as the video below shows:

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Angling - Ireland's recreational angling sector generates more than half a billion euro annually, according to the Minister for Natural Resources.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Minister Pat Rabbitte revealed the significant figure in a written response to a Dáil question by Tommy Broughan TD, who requested a breakdown of the number of people participating in all forms of angling in the State.

The minister went on to confirm that the angling industry "sustainably supports more than 10,000 jobs... particularly in the West of Ireland".

Minister Rabbitte's announcement comes ahead of the pending publication of an Inland Fisheries Ireland study on Ireland's angling sector. Afloat.ie will have the latest on that when it appears.

Elsewhere in Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph reports that a man has been found guilty of a number of fisheries offences at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Derek Ferguson of Larne was fined a total of £225 (€265) for unlicensed angling, unauthorised entry to fisheries and using unlawful angling methods.

Published in Angling

#RNLI - Larne RNLI rescued an unconscious man who was found a short distance from the shore at Larne Lough last night (Thursday 20 June).

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat Hannahbella Ferguson following a request by Belfast Coastguard at 10.35pm to go to the assistance of a person who was spotted lying face down in the sea within 200 metres from the shore in Larne Lough.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a flat calm sea but light was fading.



The lifeboat - helmed by Willie Evans and with crew members Dave Somerville and Pamela Dorman onboard - arrived on scene at 10.41pm and pulled the casualty on to the lifeboat. 

With the man not breathing, two crew members proceeded to perform CPR and resuscitated the casualty.



The helm brought the lifeboat into a small slipway along the promenade which was accessible due to a high tide. The casualty was subsequently handed over to the waiting paramedics and ambulance.



Speaking after the call-out, Larne RNLI helm Willie Evans praised the crew who he said had worked together to resuscitate the casualty and bring him to shore. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon 15 June to go to the rescue of a small craft which had lost power in Strangford Lough, Co Down.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted at 1.10pm following a call that there was a 5m Dory drifting after its engine had failed.



The lifeboat - helmed by Simon Rogers and with crew members George Toma, Brendan Byers and Ryan Kelly onboard - was launched at 1.20pm and was alongside the stricken vessel just off Gransha Point at 1.34pm.



The weather at the time was a slight swell, light winds and good visibility.



Once alongside, the lifeboat crew found that the Dory was taking on water. The two men were taken onboard the lifeboat and the Dory was towed into Strangford Lough Yacht Club where the men were also left off.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

 

# ROWING: Rowing Ireland has announced the appointment of Gordon Reid as a full time Belfast-based Club and Coach Development Officer.

Reid will be responsible for leading the development and improvement of the Rowing Ireland club development system within Northern Ireland, including delivery of a range of services to support clubs and coaches.

This is a new position and will add to the Coach Education and Club Development work already being done by Pat McInerney, Coach Education Officer.

Reid has been a director of Rowing Ireland, and a board member of the Ulster Branch.

“I am delighted to accept this position with its focus on working with clubs and coaches, and I look forward to helping them to develop skills, systems and to achieve results,” he said.

Hamish Adams, the chief executive of Rowing Ireland, said: “We are delighted to appoint someone of Gordon’s calibre to this extremely important role. Gordon’s administration and practical experience will be an asset to not only the Northern Ireland Club’s but rowing in general.”

Published in Rowing
Page 9 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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