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Displaying items by tag: diving

#Lusitania - A Dungarvan diver has recovered a telegraph machine from the wreck of the Lusitania off West Cork, as The Irish Times reports.

Eoin McGarry retrieved the treasure trove under licence from the Heritage Minister and on behalf of the wreck’s owner, multi-millionaire US businessman Gregg Bemis, who hopes to restore it for display locally.

The find completes a diving operation that began this past summer with the retrieval of part of the bridge telegraph — which Bemis and McGarry plan to return for in the new year.

Last month marked 81 years since the discovery of the Lusitania wreck site off the Old Head of Kindle, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Diving

#Diving - A new commercial catamaran is part of a Portstewart-based diving firm’s efforts to compete with popular dive tourism destinations abroad, as the News Letter reports.

Diving is ‘big business’ for the Aquaholics Dive Centre, which provides services for big-name film and TV productions such as Game of Thrones alongside its training, sea safari and diving holiday offerings.

And it’s the tourism that such visibility brings to Northern Ireland that the company aims to capture, with its new boat just the ticket to explore more of the Causeway Coast’s impressive diving sites.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

#Lusitania - Yesterday (Thursday 6 October) marked 81 years since the discovery of the wreck of the Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale, more than 20 years after the ocean liner was lost.

And less than three weeks from now will mark the 81st anniversary of the first brave diving expedition to the wreck site, according to Coast Monkey.

A far cry from the SCUBA gear and technology used by modern-day divers, Jim Jarrett made his descent in an enormous Tritonia diving suit.

The JS Peress design resembles something out of the sci-fi movies that would come out of Hollywood decades later.

But it was necessary to enable Jarrett to withstand the incredible pressures at the wreck site some 93 metres below the surface.

Coast Monkey has more on this remarkable story HERE.

Published in Diving
Tagged under

#RNLI - Courtmacsherry RNLI's all-weather lifeboat was called out at 2.45pm yesterday afternoon (Sunday 2 October) as three divers and their support boat sought help as their vessel got into difficulties near Black Head off Kinsale.

The lifeboat was quickly away with a crew of seven and was on scene at 3.15pm to join Kinsale RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard boat from Oysterhaven.

As the divers and their boat were being brought back to shore, another call came from Valentia Radio of an injured crew person on board a sailing vessel off Kinsale Harbour.

Both the Kinsale and Courtmacsherry lifeboats assisted in the transfer of the female casualty to Kinsale Pier, where an ambulance was awaiting to take her to Cork University Hospital.

Conditions at sea today deteriorated from early afternoon with a Force 5 to 6 wind and a strong sea swell.

The cew on the Courtmacsherry lifeboat yesterday were coxswain Sean O'Farrell, mechanic Stewart Russell, Ciaran Hurley, Mark Gannon, Dara Gannon, Dean Hennessey and Evan O'Sullivan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Diving - TheJournal.ie reports on the death of a diver who got into difficulty off Clogherhead in Co Louth on Monday (29 August).

Clogherhead RNLI and the local Irish Coast Guard unit were called to the scene around 5.30pm on Monday afternoon, with the Dublin-based Rescue 116 winching the casualty from the water.

He was subsequently airlifted from Port Oriel to Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where he was pronounced dead yesterday morning (Tuesday 30 August).

The Irish Mirror has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

#CliffsOfMoher - Gardaí are investigating after divers discovered a body in the sea off the Cliffs of Moher yesterday afternoon (Sunday 14 August).

Members of the Burren Sub Aqua Club made the grim find around 3pm while on a diving exercise beneath the cliffs, as The Clare Herald reports.

At the same time, coastguard volunteers were called to assist a man on the cliff path above who was feared to have suffered a heart attack or stroke.

The Clare Herald has more on these stories HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Diving - A man has died after getting into difficulty while diving off Ardmore in Co Waterford yesterday afternoon (Sunday 12 June).

Youghal RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked to the incident between Goat Island and Ram Head near Ardmore, Co Waterford before 4.30pm.

On arrival they found a man in the water who they recovered onto the lifeboat, and immediately administered casualty care.

Working with Helvick Head RNLI, who were also on scene, the casualty was winched onto the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and brought to Waterford University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, as the Irish Examiner reports.

A spokesperson for Helvick Head RNLI that a second diver who had been with the deceased had managed to swim to shore to raise the alarm, allowing for a swift emergency response.

Commenting on the callout, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager Fergus Hopkins said: "This was a difficult callout for everyone concerned and our thoughts are with the family of the man who was taken from the water this afternoon."

Published in Diving

#Killary - The Irish Times reports on the death of a mussel farmer in a diving incident in Connemara at the weekend.

Marty Nee, who started a farm for rope-grown mussels in the area with his wife Catherine 16 years ago, died after getting into difficulty while diving in Killary Fjord on Saturday evening.

The loss of the 48-year-old Renvyle resident – a regular supplier to the annual Connemara Mussel Festival – has shocked the local community, according to Galway Bay FM.

Published in News Update

#Diving - The UK Coastguard received a call just after 4.10pm yesterday afternoon (9 April) from a member of public reporting that a diver had not surfaced as expected in Strangford Lough near Ringhaddy, Co Down

Coastguard rescue teams from Portaferry and Bangor, the Portaferry RNLI lifeboat, the PSNI helicopter and the Irish Coast Guard's Rescue 116 helicopter based at Dublin were all sent to the area for the search.

Luckily the diver was found on the shore by local residents shortly after the coastguard were altered.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter landed, with assistance from the UK Coastguard rescue teams. The diver was checked over by the on-board paramedic and after advice from a specialist doctor the diver was given the all-clear and allowed to make his own way home.

Graham Edgar, senior maritime operations officer with Belfast Coastguard, said: “This is a great outcome for all involved, the other diver’s in the group did exactly the right thing, they called us as soon as they realised he was missing.

"Fortunately the diver was found safe and well. We would urge all divers, as this diver did, to let someone know where they are planning to dive, when they are planning to come back and if possible dive within a group.

"Also keep a close eye on the weather and sea conditions and always dive within your limits."

Published in Diving

#Innovation - Two very different aquatic breakthroughs have been listed among Silicon Republic's top 10 Irish innovations of 2015.

Afloat.ie has previously reported on University of Limerick graduate Cathal Redmond, who took home €7,000 as a runner-up in the James Dyson Awards for his revolutionary new diving apparatus.

Redmond will use the funds to develop his Express Dive concept, a lightweight device that allows divers to refill their air supply on the goal – for a fraction of the cost of standard SCUBA gear.

Also covered this past summer on Afloat.ie was the discovery of a new habitat for coral in Irish waters.

Prof Andy Wheeler led an international team of marine scientists on the coral survey in June that ventured into the Porcupine Bank Canyon some 300km off Dingle and found an unexpected variety of life.

He added that it is "not unfeasible that there is over 100 sqkm of coral habitat that was previously unaccounted for."

Silicon Republic has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science
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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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