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#DUBLIN PORT-The former Dundalk Port Company grab-hopper dredger Hebble Sand (1963/757grt), which has been laid-up in Dublin since last Summer, was sold to new owners a month ago, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She remains berthed at the Bulk Jetty, Alexandra Basin, where she arrived from the Co. Louth port on 14 July, two days after the assets, liabilities and operations of Dundalk Port Company were transferred to Dublin Port Company by an order of statutory instrument. Against this background, Dublin Port Company decided to divest in the business of dredging resulting in placing the veteran vessel for sale.

During her career in Drogheda, she was the only dredger to be operated and owned by a port company apart from the suction-trailer dredger Lough Foyle (1979/868grt) operated by Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners.

Hebble Sand, registered in Dundalk has retained her original name since her launch from Richard (Shipbuilders) of Lowestoft for British Dredging. She has been kept in good condition considering a career nearing five decades. To read some of her last contracts undetaken outside her homeport, click HERE.

From a distance some people have mistaken Hebble Sand (PHOTO) to the last of the  'Guinness ships, as she bores a resemblance to the final custom-built stout tanker Miranda Guinness ( PHOTO), taken on her farewell sailing. The vessels shared a similar red funnel and black funnel, a roomy sized superstructure painted in cream above and a dark blue hull. To read more about the last of the brewery tanker-fleet click HERE.

Published in Dublin Port

#LECTURES-Paddy Barry will be presenting "Searching for Saints –Skelligs to Iceland" the second of five Winter talks in a programme organised by the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association (DBOGA). The talk takes place this Tuesday evening at 8pm in the Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club, Ringsend in Dublin Port.

Those wishing to attend may wish to arrive a bit earlier so to avail of the PYBC's clubhouse facilities, which overlooks its marina in the centre of the port, opposite Alexandra Basin.
The venue is located on the South Bank, Pigeon House Road, Ringsend which can be accessed from the Sean Moore Road that connects the Merrion Strand Road (from the south) and the East-Link Toll Bridge (from the north).

For further information on the DBOGA lectures and more click HERE. In addition information about the PYBC Tel: (01) 668 9983 or logon to www.poolbegmarina.ie/

Published in Boating Fixtures
#PORTS AND SHIPPING-The 74,258 gross tonnes Figaro, a large car truck carrier (LCTC) capable of loading 7879 cars or 432 trucks, which was launched this year, docked at Dublin Port today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Figaro arrived into Dublin Bay off the Baily Lighthouse, having appeared over the horizon from the Kish Lighthouse after a voyage from Tarragona, Spain. She originally set sail at the start of October from Kwangwang in South Korea and since then made en route calls to three other ports of the South East Asian state in addition to Aqaba in Jordan, Derince in Turkey and Voltri in Italy.

She is operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines (WWL) and was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. The new vessel's principle dimensions are (length: 227.8m, beam: 32.26 and a draft of 11.3m) and she has a deadweight (metric tonnes) of 30,900.

The Swedish company together with subsidiaries and partner's, operates a fleet of about 135 vessels. Of these, Wallenius owns or charters around 35. They can carry up to 8,000 cars, or a combination of cars, trucks, cranes, large rolls of paper and rubber or large turbines. They have also transported parts for wind turbines, luxury yachts, complete train-sets and aircraft wings.

Figaro's docking in Dublin today was at berth 33, which is the centre berth of three lining Ocean Pier which has a quayside totalling 410m long. The pier is within Alexandra Basin and is to the east side of this dock which is approached from the port channel opposite the Poolbeg Marina.

After Dublin she continues her global schedule to Bremerhaven (16 Nov), Zeebrugge (23 Nov), Southampton (24 Nov), Baltimore, USA (3 Dec), Savannah, GA USA (6 Dec), Manzanillo, Panama (11 Dec), Auckland (29 Dec), Brisbane in the New Year (2 Jan) and two days later is expected to dock in Port Kemble also in Australia.

Earlier this year the world's largest ro-ro carrier Tonsberg (PHOTO) also part of the WWL fleet, docked in Dublin having entered service in March. She has a cargo volume of 138,000 cubic metres, some 10% greater than the largest ro-ro vessels in service including her fleetmate the Figaro.

The 74,622grt vessel is the first of four Mark V class on order from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan. They are capable of handling handle high and heavy cargo such as excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders and harvesters. Her sister Parsifal followed in September and the final pair of the quartet are due for delivery in 2012.

Published in Ports & Shipping
#MARINE RESCUE EXERCISE-By coincidence two separate emergency exercise practise drills took place yesterday off Dalkey Island, the first involved a 12,921dwt tanker in broad daylight while the second exercise involved lifeboats under pitch-dark conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The tanker Cumbrian Fisher (PHOTO) had arrived in the afternoon, anchoring unusually close to the island, to the south-east off The Muglins Lighthouse (to read more click HERE). While waiting for a berth in Dublin Port, she engaged in a lifeboat-drill practice which involved launching an orange-coloured fully enclosed lifeboat which was lowered into the water from the vessels' stern cradle-crane.

Crew kitted in similarly bright orange coloured sea safety-survival suits entered the lifeboat before it plunged into the water. The activity was observed through the binocular-scope which overlooks Coliemore Harbour with excellent views across the sound to Dalkey Island, Dublin Bay and Howth Peninsula.

The binocular-scope does not require payment to operate and was unveiled in 2008 in memory of local resident the late Dr. John de Courcy Ireland, the 'father' of maritime Ireland (to read more click HERE). He was for 26 years a honorary secretary of the local RNLI station in Dun Laoghaire and a staunch campaigner of Irish maritime affairs.

Each Monday a routine lifeboat practice is conducted by the 47ft Trent class ALB (all-weather lifeboat) RNLB Anna Livia (info and PHOTO). Last night's drill also involved the new D-class ILB (inshore lifeboat) RNLB Réalt na Mara which was named earlier this year by Kathy Kenny, wife of RTE presenter Pat Kenny.

Under the cover of darkness the crew of the ILB Realt na Mara simulated an 'injured casualty' on the island where the casualty was prepared to be taken off by stretcher from the island's small harbour. From there the casualty was transferred to the larger RNLB Anna Livia which lay offshore. During the exercise, powerful searchlight beams from the ALB provided essential light to assist in the transfer operation.

Asides the lifeboats, there is plenty of wildlife to observe on the rocky outcrops at Maiden Rock, Clare Rock and Lamb Island, which forms the second largest island after the main island of 22-acres, where a resident herd of goats have been part of the local community for over 200 years.

As for the South Korean built Cumbrian Fisher, she too has close connections with these waters as she was named in Dublin Port in 2005. She is a frequent caller to Dublin bringing bulk liquid products from the oil refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire which is a major supplier, serving the demands of the capital.

Dublin Port has two oil jetties which cater for four tankers, where bitumen, chemicals, liquid petroleum gases, molasses and oil are handled on a 41-hectare zone with storage for 330,000 product tonnes to include 6,000 tonnes of LPG. In addition aviation fuel is frequently delivered to the terminal to satisfy the constant demand for aircraft using Dublin Airport.

Cumbrian Fisher alongside her sister Clyde Fisher where built for James Fisher & Sons and in recent years they have tended to take anchorage off Dalkey Island and off the Nose of Howth. In comparison the vast majority of vessels anchor in Dublin Bay which is divided into quadrants for the purposes of anchorage allocation.

Before the completion of the South Wall in Dublin Port, which considerably improved safer access of vessels entering the River Liffey, it was the relative deeper and sheltered waters of Dalkey Sound which were used instead as Dalkey acted as the principle port for Dublin between 14-17th centuries.

Vessels would convey cargoes which were taken to and fro by lighter to the coast where it was carried by horse and cart to nearby Dalkey before onward travel across the exposed plains to Dublin City.

To learn more about Dalkey's medieval maritime heritage with its relationship with the capital of Dublin in addition the use of Dalkey Quarry in the construction of (Kingstown) Dun Laoghaire Harbour, visit the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre.  To read more go to www.dalkeycastle.com in addition to further information about Dalkey including the local community council newsletters click HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
# CRUISE SHIPS - Dublin Port's 'draft' masterplan which was unveiled to the public today, includes a proposal to develop the first dedicated cruise terminal in the capital port. A site at North Wall Quay Extension has been chosen to handle larger vessels capable of berthing and the location would be closer to the city-centre, writes Jehan Ashmore.
With the increasing demand of the cruiseship sector to Dublin and Irish ports in general, the port recognises the need to further develop future growth prospects and the wider strategic importance to the city. This year the port handled over 85 cruise callers with 130,000 passengers visiting the capital which accrued to €50m to the local economy and €700,000 in direct revenue to the port.

In order to facilitate this growth, the draft proposes switching existing berths used by large cruiseships away from unattractive cargo-docks in Alexandra Basin's West and East and at Ocean Pier. Up to three alternative locations were examined and the port agreed that the option identified in the Dublin City Council's Area Plan of the North Quay Extension is the optimum location.

Before any such development, it would require relocating an existing roll-on roll-off terminal (No.3), which is currently in use by P&O Irish Sea for their Dublin-Liverpool service. The company operate three sailings daily on the central corridor route.

The new facility could accommodate two large cruise ships simultaneously and would be much larger than the 43,524grt The World, the luxury resort vessel operated by Residensea, which docked at the North Wall Extension in 2010 (for report click HERE).

The location is on the doorstep to the East-Link Bridge and the neighbouring O2 Arena and Point Village developed by Harry Crosbie, who called for the relocation of cruise callers to be sited upriver.

According to the draft, the closer proximity to the city-centre would provide a stronger presence and a more accessible link with the city. It would also avoid the unnecessary longer bus transfers between cruise berths and visitor attractions in the city-centre and locations in counties Wicklow and Meath.

Construction of facilities for a cruise terminal would expensive as it will involve new quay walls capable of accepting large cruise vessels but this could only be done after dredging the channel to a depth of 10.5m.

The facilities of the terminal are to incorporate a reception, tourist information and interpretive centre, a dedicated entrance for pedestrians, coaches, vehicles and traffic management measures would be implemented.

In addition the site would also require the expensive exercise in re-locating ESB underwater high-voltage cables. The initial costs suggest to develop new terminal facilities and associated works would be in the region of €30m.

Dublin Port Company, state that due to the relatively low revenues generated by cruise ships, such an investment alone could not be justified, however, they could part-fund the development but additional funding would be required from other sources.

Published in Ferry
# DUBLIN PORT-The future plans of Dublin Port over the next three decades, was unveiled with the publication of the an ambitious €500m draft masterplan yesterday, and will be on display to the public, starting from today.
Viewing of draft masterplan will be made accessible to the public at the Port Centre premises on Alexandra Road and will run for a month, closing on 2nd December. The opportunity is also to facilitate the public to make supplementary submissions of the draft masterplan and the carrying out of the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA).

Prior to the launch of the draft masterplan, Dublin Port Company undertook an eight-week consultation process up to May this year, which involved community briefings and meetings from a wide range of stakeholders including business representatives, associations, state agencies, customers and local community groups. Over 220 responses were received to form the 'draft' which is now ready for the current viewing.

Once supplementary submissions are reviewed, the 'final' Masterplan will be prepared and published in early 2012 and will form a framework for future developments at Dublin Port.

Eamonn O'Reilly, CEO of Dublin Port Company said: "It's clear from the 220 responses received during the first phase of the masterplan consultation process that people care deeply about the important role Dublin Port has to play in the future development of our economy and this city".

He added, "It's important, therefore, that all our stakeholders take this final opportunity to view and input on the masterplan. From Customers, exporters and local residents to public bodies, city planners and tourist organisations, everyone's contribution is necessary to help create a shared vision and lasting legacy for Dublin Port."

To view the masterplan, viewing hours are weekdays starting today and running to Friday, 2nd December 2011 from 9.00hrs-17.00hrs at Dublin Port Company, Port Centre, Alexandra Road, Dublin 1.

Interested parties are invited to make supplementary observations on the draft masterplan in writing no later than Friday, 9th December 2011 to: The Masterplan Consultation, Dublin Port Company, Port Centre, Alexandra Road, Dublin 1. For further information including a PDF downloadable version of the draft masterplan and SEA, click HERE.

Published in Dublin Port
Since mid-October port authorities in Belfast, Dublin and Cork have been training senior managers from Afrian, Asian and Latin American ports. The training workshops are in collaboration with Irish Aid and UNCTAD's 'Train-for-Trade' (TFT) Port Training Programme.
The workshop are tailored to 25 senior managers from these global ports, which seeks to improve port efficiency and foster international trade. In addition it is to reinforce technical and managerial skills of a port community's human resources.

The Port Training Programme is comprised of a "Modern Port Management" course and a final dissertation. During this training of trainer's workshop, the senior managers will be trained as local instructors on Modules 1-4 of the "Modern Port Management" course.

On completion of the workshop which ends today, they will serve as local instructors for their respective ports, collaborating with UNCTAD specialists and transferring their acquired knowledge to the participants of the TFT Port Training Programme.

UNCTAD stands for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development which was launched in 1998. The new Train-For-Trade programme strengthens national and regional human and institutional resources for trade and investment as a key to growth for UNCTAD member countries, particularly the least developed ones (LDCs).

Published in Ports & Shipping
As ferry-passengers departed Dublin Port this morning, a flotilla of naval-ships would of been seen as they arrived off the Baily Lighthouse in Dublin Bay bound for the capital, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Leading the flotilla of the four European naval vessels was the Norwegian HNoMS Maaloey (M342), the Polish ORP Flaming (621), the Estonian ENS Tasuja (A 432) and marking the tail-end was the German FGS Überherrn (M1095).

Of the foursome, only ENS Tasuja is the odd one out, she is a diving and support vessel whereas the rest are all a combination of minehunters / minesweepers. ENS Tasuja is from the Lindormen-class and was built in Denmark in 1977. She is 44.5 meters long, has a maximum speed of 14 knots, and has a crew of 28.

HNoMS Maaloey is an Oksøy-class minehunter which has a catamaran hull constructed of  fibre-reinforced plastic which has a very low magnetic signature. She can carry two ROV's and the same number of rigid inflatable boats (RIB).

Above: The Norwegian Navy’s catamaran minehunter HNoMS Maaloey detonates a sea-mine

She is almost identical to the Alta-class leadship HNoMS Alta which provided escort duties during the official state visit of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, on board the royal yacht K/S Norge in 2006. She arrived in Irish waters, firstly calling to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, where the royal couple boarded the royal yacht at the East Pier. From there she sailed the short distance across the bay to Dublin Port and her last Irish call was to Cork.

ORP Flaming is a mine countermeasures vessel which operates in minesweeping and minehunting. The vessel is designed to trace such devices and make safe fairways for shipping. She can detect anchored mines 1600m from the ship and bottom mines located 600m below the ship's keel. In addition she can lay mines of six different types.

FGS Überherrn  is a Kulmbach Class minehunter, in service with the German Navy since commissioning in 1989. She was originally built as a Hameln Class (SM 343) minesweeper by STN Systemtechnik Nord, but was converted to the Kulmbach Class. She has an overall length of 54.4m, a width of 9.2m and a draft of 2.5m and a displacement of 635 tonnes. Armament comprises two, four-cell Stinger missile launchers firing FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles. There are a crew of 37, which includes four officers, 20 petty officers and 13 ratings.

The flotilla are moored two abreast alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay (berth No. 8), which is located on the south quays between the Samuel Beckett and East-Link Bridges. Of the four naval ships, FGS Überherrn is the first to depart on Sunday, the other vessels are to depart on Monday. The vessels will provide an opportunity to view at close quarters a variety of naval architecture design and navies from northern Europe.

Published in Navy
Portuguese-flagged Ocean Countess (1976/17,593grt) returned to Dublin Port from Vigo, this morning after completing a 10-night Iberian and Morocco cruise. She embarks on another direct cruise from the capital today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Operated by UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), Ocean Countess picked up a pilot in Dublin Bay close to the South Burford Buoy around 09.00. An hour later she berthed in the port at Ocean Pier from where passengers of the 800-passenger capacity vessel disembarked.

With a short-turn around in port, more cruise-goers will be boarding for a mid-afternoon departure, marking the start of a 13-night Canary Islands & Madeira cruise. When she heads out of the port, the first port of call is Falmouth then it's off to Leixoes (Portugal), Agadir (Morocco), Arrecife (Lanzarote), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Funchal (Madeira), Lisbon (Portugal) and Vigo (Spain) before returning to Dublin.

The vessels final end-of season cruise from Dublin is on 25 October, with a 10-night cruise to Nice (returning by air). The interim ports of call are to Falmouth, Leixoes, Lisbon, Cartagena (Spain) Palma and Mahon (Menorca). To read more about this cruise click HERE.

In addition to Dublin calls the former Cunard Countess, also called this season to Cork Harbour. It was during a call last month to Ringaskiddy that another 'Cunarder' the flagship, Queen Mary 2 was also in port on a call to Cobh. To read more of that visit click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
On a rare occasion both the Marine Institute's research vessels docked in both Dublin Bay ports today, normally these vessels operate mostly off the western seaboard and using their home-port of Galway Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 65m RV Celtic Explorer (2002 /2,425grt) made an early morning call to Dublin Port's Ocean Pier. Her smaller fleet-mate RV Celtic Voyager (1996/340grt) made a midday arrival to Dun Laoghaire Harbour's East Pier. She moored at the same berth last month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie The larger vessel has a greater range capability while the smaller vessel covers more inshore-work throughout the Irish coastline.

According to the vessels survey schedules, RV Celtic Explorer had today completed fisheries demersal surveys which started in Galway on 23 September. The near fortnight-long survey was conducted in the ICES area VI, under the direction of chief scientist, Dave Stokes.

On Friday she embarks on a herring acoustic survey which is to take place in the Celtic Sea and the south-west. This survey will be under chief scientist Ciaran O'Donnell and is to de-mobilise in Cork on 27 October. To read more about her 2011 survey programme click HERE.

Across Dublin Bay in neighbouring Dun Laoghaire, the 31m RV Celtic Voyager is currently nearing the end of a month-long hydrography survey of the Celtic Sea. The survey had started in Howth Harbour on 17 September under chief scientist Kevin Sheehan. For the time-being she remains moored in Dun Laoghaire prior to resuming survey work which will continue until the vessel de-mobilises in Rosslare in mid-October. To find out more about her remaining surveys for this year click HERE.

On the surveys outlined they are conducted on behalf of Marine Institute scientists, though the vessels are also allocated ship-time for use of third parties. These include government departments and agencies, universities, research institutes and industry. For further information on the research vessels, survey schedules etc can be found by visiting: www.marine.ie/home/Research+Vessels.htm

 

Published in Marine Science
Page 1 of 3

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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