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Displaying items by tag: Shannon Navigation

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on and users of the Shannon Navigation that Jons Civil Engineering will be carrying out works on Carrick-on-Shannon bridge on Friday 7 and Monday 10 June.

Navigation will be restricted to one arch of the bridge and masters of vessels should proceed with additional caution in the area, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

Tarmonbarry’s lifting bridge on the Shannon Navigaton has finally reopened after an extended closure for essential maintenance, Waterways Ireland has confirmed.

Diversions had been in place since early February when the bridge in Co Roscommon was closed for works that eventually required procuring specialist parts from abroad.

The news will come as a relief to southern Shannon boaters who say they have been prevented from participating in rallies in northern reaches due to the closure.

“This has had disastrous consequences for boating on the Shannon so far this season,” one boater told in recent days. “To date [there has been] very little activity on Lough Ree as boats cannot get down from Carrick, etc, nor can the southern boats make it up north.”

Elsewhere on the inland waterways, Levitstown lifting bridge in Co Kildare on the Barrow Navigation has also reopened following maintenance works.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and users of the Shannon Navigation that that the Spencer Harbour public jetty and amenity area, and the areas of Lough Allen immediately upstream and downstream of the harbour, will be closed from Monday 20 to Friday 24 May due to planned site preparation works for the construction of the new slipway.

The cross-border body of Ireland’s inland waterways regrets any inconvenience that this may cause and thanks its customers for their cooperation in relation to this matter.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that water levels in all areas north of Lough Ree are now at Ordinary Summer Level.

Water levels on the Shannon Navigation south of Lough Ree are approaching Ordinary Summer Level.

Levels are expected to continue to lower in the coming weeks, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Masters of vessels, particularly those with deep drafts, are advised to navigate with additional caution and to remain within the navigation at all times.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland wishes advises masters of vessels on and users of the Shannon Navigation that the Office of Public Works’ hydrometric section is holding a water flow measurement regatta next Wednesday 15 May.

The event will take place from 8am to 3pm for a distance of 200 metres from the floating pontoon located at the Red Bridge on the River Inny near Ballymahon in Co Longford.

Masters of Vessels and users of the Inny River are requested to proceed with additional caution during the event, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on and users of the Shannon Navigation that in-river works for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant outfall pipe will take place from Tuesday 7 May to Friday 7 June downstream of Killaloe/Ballina.

Two isolated danger buoys will mark the extremity of the in-river works which will extend from the Ballina side into the river for around 70 metres.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed at slow speed (5 knots, no wash) with additional caution in the vicinity of the works and to follow the instructions of the safety boat crew.

Elsewhere, boaters on the Shannon-Erne Waterway are advised that the waterfront jetty in Leitrim village is now owned and managed by Waterways Ireland, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways.

This jetty is located upstream of the slipway on the northern side of the waterway. The Shannon Navigation Bye Laws apply to this jetty as of 17 April 2023.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on and users of the Shannon Navigation that the closure of Tarmonbarry Bridge will be extended until at least Monday 27 May.

This further delay is due to additional repair works requiring specialist components being manufactured and delivered from international suppliers.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says the parts required are essential to the safe operation of the bridge.

A diversion route remains available via the Camlin River with additional staff being deployed to Clondra Lock to aid vessel movements along the Camlin.

Waterways Ireland says it regrets any inconvenience that this may cause and thanks its customers for their cooperation in relation to this matter.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on and users of the Shannon Navigation that the Gaelforce Great River Swim will take place between Tarmonbarry and Ballyleague next month.

Around 500 swimmers will participate in the swim event in Lanesborough on Saturday 18 May.

The Shannon Navigation between Tarmonbarry lock and Ballyleague bridge will be closed on the day between 9am and 2pm. Tarmonbarry lock and Cloondara Canal lock will also be closed and vessels will be prohibited from proceeding upstream from Ballyleague bridge during thus time.

A series of large bright green and red buoys branded with Gaelforce will be positioned along the swim route on the evening of Friday 17 May and will be removed after the swim on Saturday 18 May, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on and users of the Shannon Navigation that the lifting bridge at Tarmonbarry in Co Roscommon will now reopen on Friday 3 May.

This extension of the bridge’s closure since February is a result of additional repair works required following a bridge strike.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says it apologises for extending this closure “but the additional work is essential to ensure the bridge is safely operational in advance of the bank holiday weekend”.

A diversion route remains available via the Camlin River.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that in-river works for the construction of the Killaloe Bypass upper bridge superstructure are progressing as planned and will continue until October 2024.

As previously reported on, the bridge is being constructed around 1km downstream of the current Killaloe–Ballina bridge.

A buoyed navigational channel continues to be provided for 100 metres either side of the in-river works.

The following plant and equipment will be operating on or overhead the navigation during the upper bridge works:

  • 600t crawler crane set up on the east shore
  • Stabilising crane barge (30m x 23m x 1.88m)
  • 100t crawler crane
  • Tugboat/pusher boat
  • Dumb barge (23m x 9m) and mobile elevated work platforms
  • Safety boat
  • Landing pontoon and gangways

From next Tuesday 2 to Friday 19 April, the final steel girders will be lifted into position in the central spans of the bridge.

This is a heavy lift operation and deemed high-risk work, requiring calm waters for operation of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP) on barges.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed at slow speed (5 knots, no wash) with additional caution in the vicinity of the works, and to follow the instructions of the safety boat crew as there are hazards such as bridge piers, steel piles and mooring lines to navigate.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways thanks its customers for their cooperation in relation to these works.

Published in Inland Waterways
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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.


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