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Displaying items by tag: Turbot Island

New residents of a Connemara island, which was once depopulated, have put an offshore exhibition together for the Clifden Arts Festival.

Four artists on Turbot Island are hoping their work will be viewed on the island, and have organised a ferry timetable from Clifden Boat Club for “InisturbART”, as the event is called.

Turbot or “Inishturbot” is a few miles west of Clifden and south of Omey, and its population of 60 was relocated to the mainland in 1978, four years after three islanders died in a currach capsize.

Patrick O’Toole (58), Patrick Stuffle (48) and Michael Wallace (62) were on their way home to Turbot from watching the All-Ireland football final in Clifden in September 1974 when the incident happened.

Driftwood painted by Dutch island resident Stefan FrenkelDriftwood painted by Dutch island resident Stefan Frenkel

Latterly, seasonal visitors bought property, and Covid-19 transformed Turbot into a refuge from the pandemic.

Among those who found themselves extending their seasonal stay and adapting to island life were Dutch couple Stefan and Hanneke Frenkel, both of whom have worked in advertising and interior design.

They were inspired by the island environment, and the enforced quarantine during the early stages of the pandemic, to develop their creative skills.

Hanneke Frenkel’s sea mats and carpets, woven from rope washed up on the shoreline, caught the eye of the curators of the Irish pavilion at this year’s Venice Architectural Biennale.

Collecting sea rope off Turbot island for the artists' exhibition for Clifden Arts Festival.JPGCollecting sea rope off Turbot island for the artists' exhibition for Clifden Arts Festival

Her husband Stefan has transformed pieces of fish boxes, ropes, nets, buoys, rubber ducks and other beachcombing material into paintings which reflect “small events on Turbot”.

David Wilkinson has recorded his experiences in coming to the west over several decades in a book entitled Island Journal: One Year and a Day. He first came as a child as his parents had a holiday home on Inishlacken, close to Roundstone.

Also participating in the group exhibition is Dublin maths teacher and musician Peter Knox, who spends much of the year now on Turbot. Several years ago, he adapted a poem about the 1974 drownings, which was written by local man Joseph O’Toole, into a song.

The piece entitled “Turbot Men” was recorded on video. Knox has also created a private art gallery in his island home.

The four artists say that living on the remote island has allowed them to “embrace the challenge of limited entertainment” by “unleashing their imagination, resourcefulness, and love for island living in a range of art projects for their group exhibition”.

They have put together a three-and-a-half hour tour on Turbot for Clifden Arts Festival participants, and there will be three ferry crossings a day from Clifden Boat Club on September 16th, 19th and 24th, with tickets at 20 euro.

Another Connemara island, Omey, will be venue for an illuminated procession by landscape theatre specialists LUXE which will celebrate the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society’s centenary as part of the arts festival programme.

Christy Moore, Clare Sands and Johnny Óg Connolly are among musicians performing at Clifden, while Séamus Ó Flatharta (voice and whistle), Caoimhe Ní Fhlatharta (voice and fiddle), Pádraic Keane (uilleann pipes) and the ConTempo Quartet (viola, violin, and cello) will present “Stolen Hearts,” a new piece by Grammy Award winning composer Bill Whelan.

The festival’s extensive arts trail includes work by Seán Ó Flaithearta in Clifden Court House and Connemara Muses, an initiative led by 16 female artists.

Talks and readings will include sailor and explorer Kevin Cronin, speaking on his new book, In Search of Franklin: An Irish Connection, and James Morrissey, author of Real to Reel:Garech Browne and Claddagh Records.

Michael Viney’s last book completed before he died will be launched by Irish Times group managing director Deirdre Veldon on September 24th .

The Clifden Arts Festival will be opened by broadcaster, uilleann piper and musical historian Peter Browne on September 13th, and it runs until September 24th.

More details here

Published in Island News
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Turbot “new” islander Hanneke Frenkel is hosting an exhibition of her “sea carpets” made from ocean flotsam and jetsam as part of this year’s Clifden Arts Festival in north Connemara.

Frenkel, who bought a cottage with her Dutch husband Stefan on Turbot island some years ago, began making the “sea carpets” from washed-up ropes when the couple were confined to the island during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As she has explained in an interview with Afloat’s Wavelengths, she cuts the ropes washed up on Turbot’s shore into loose string and uses the strings to make a pattern - with the ropes “deciding themselves what kind of carpet they want to become".

Sea Carpets Exhibition on Turbot  IslandSea Carpets Exhibition on Turbot Island

Her exhibition includes a tour of the island and the opportunity to forage for lost items in places rarely visited by tourists.

Hanneke  in her workshopHanneke in her workshop

The event is one of a number with a marine theme at this year’s 45th Clifden Arts Festival, the oldest community festival of its type in Ireland.

Turbot IslandTurbot Island

Wildlife cameraman and film maker Doug Allan spoke last week, and this week’s programme includes “The People of the Sea/ Uaisle na Mara”, featuring leading Irish language poet Nuala Ní Dhómhnaill, TG4 2020 singer of the year Lillis Ó Laoire and renowned harper Cormac de Barra.

The story behind a lament for Liam Ó Raghallaigh, a man from Erris, Co Mayo, who was drowned on his wedding day, will be recalled and performed by Ó Laoire.

He will be joined by literary critic Patricia Coughlan and Dr Fidelma Mullane at the afternoon event in Clifden’s Station House Theatre on September 23rd.

Ní Dhómhnaill’s sequence of poems on na Murúcha a thromaigh – the mermaids who became dry land creatures – is said to represent some of her most compelling explorations of linguistic and cultural trauma.

De Barra will also reference some great maritime tunes and harp airs, while Ó Laoire will explore the legend of the mermaid and will sing An Mhaighdean Mhara, a song about the mermaid made famous by Áine and Cití Gallagher of Dobhar in Donegal’s Gaoth Dobhair.

Details on Clifden Arts Festival’s full programme are on www. Clifdenartsfestival.ie

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Turbot Island's main claim to fame has been its sighting by trans-Atlantic aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown before they crash-landed at Derrygimlagh bog in north Connemara on June 15th, 1919.

Turbot or “Inishturbot” is a few miles west of Clifden and south of Omey. One very sad and memorable event in its history was the loss of islanders Patrick O’Toole (58), Patrick Stuffle (48) and Michael Wallace (62) in September 1974.

The three men were on their way home to Turbot from watching the All Ireland football final in Clifden when their currach capsized.

Trans-Atlantic aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown sighted Turbot Island shortly before they crash-landed   Transatlantic aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown say they sighted Turbot Island shortly before they crash-landed in Connemara over one hundred years ago

Four years later, the population of about 60 was relocated to the mainland.

The ruin of the old schoolhouse on Turbot IslandThe ruin of the old schoolhouse on Turbot Island

That event was remembered last year with the release of a video, accompanied by music by Peter Knox. It was based on a poem called Turbot Men which was written by a mainland resident Joseph O’Toole after the fishermen drowned.

Peter Knox (left) and Turbot islander John O'ToolePeter Knox (left) and Turbot islander John O'Toole

Dutch couple and Turbot “new islanders” Stefan and Hanneke Frenkel who financed the video weathered last year’s first pandemic wave out there. Brian Hughes of the Abbeyglen Hotel in Clifden, who hosted the video’s launch, also has a house there.

Hanneke Frenkel collecting "sea rope" to make carpets last year on Turbot islandHanneke Frenkel (above and below) collecting "sea rope" to make carpets last year on Turbot islandHanneke Frenkel collecting "sea rope" to make carpets last year on Turbot island

This week’s Wavelengths podcast also has an interview with John O’Toole, whose house the Frenkel's purchased all those years ago. O’Toole was reared on Turbot, left at the age of ten, but maintains a strong connection with the island.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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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