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Displaying items by tag: diving

#Diving - A man has died after a suspected heart attack while diving in Killary Bay yesterday afternoon (27 October), as the Irish Independent reports.

Family have paid tribute to 52-year-old Gerry Deane, who was with friends on a diving trip at Ireland's only fjord when they got into difficulty as the Galway and Mayo region was lashed by strong winds and heavy rain.

Emergency services were notified around 1.30pm when Deane failed to resurface. He was pulled from the water shortly after and airlifted by Irish Coast Guard helicopter to Galway University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

"He died doing what he loved," said Deane's cousin, Castlebar Rugby Club president Michael Cunningham. "He had been diving for many years but had stopped for a while and went back to it in the last two years."

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving
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#Diving - The UK's biggest event for diving enthusiasts, the annual NEC Birmingham Dive Show has established a remarkable reputation for covering every aspect of the sport in the most innovative and exciting ways.

And this year's show, running tomorrow Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October, is surely no exception.

At DIVE 2013 you'll find plenty to interest, enjoy and inspire – in an exhibition hall boasting around 300 exhibitors, plus two try-dive pools, special features and free talks by diving's leading experts.

As ever the show - organised by DIVER Group, the same team behind the London International Dive Show - gives visitors the chance to socialise with friends from around the world; browse or buy diving equipment, training courses and holidays; and gain inspiration from seeing what other divers have been getting up to.

Whether you're an experienced diver or just starting out, DIVE 2013 is the only place to be this weekend.

For more on the event see the DIVE 2013 website HERE.

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#NewsUpdate - TheJournal.ie reports that Naval Service divers yesterday recovered a body from the sea off Co Clare during the search for a missing fisherman.

As reported Monday on Afloat.ie, the Latvian national was angling with friends near Fanore when he was swept off the rocks by an unexpected wave.

A major search and rescue operation was launched soon after but interrupted due to adverse weather and sea conditions on Sunday evening and Monday afternoon.

However, divers retrieved a body from the water some two hours into the resumed search yesterday morning (Tuesday 8 October). Formal identification of the remains is pending.

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#Diving - A giant glass-sided water tank will be a feature of the new diver training facility that's currently under construction at Webster's Lock in Carlow town, as the Carlow Nationalist reports.

The new diving school on the River Barrow will be the new permanent home of the Carlow/Graiguecullen Sub Aqua Club and has been more than three years in the making.

According to the Irish Independent, phase one of the project is set to be completed by the New Year, and will see the old lock house transformed into a state-of-the-art training facility, with the glass-sided tank allowing trainees to watch divers in action from a viewing gallery.

When completed, the scheme will also include special lighting to facilitate night dive training, copious storage space and a compression zone.

It's hoped that the new centre will facilitate year-round training for divers across Ireland, both recreational divers and those aspirating for professional certification - the latter invaluable when volunteer divers are required for search and rescue efforts.

The Carlow Nationalist has more on the story HERE.

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#Jellyfish - In less welcome jellyfish news, the Irish Independent reports that a female diver was airlifted to hospital after being stung in the face by a jellyfish off Skerries at the weekend.

The injured woman had been diving yesterday morning (1 September) in shallow waters off the North Co Dublin town with a party of five, three of whom raised the alarm when they lost sight of the other two.

Skerries RNLI were requested to launch by the Dublin Coast Guard, and after a short time searching they located the missing divers on the shore at a local swimming spot called the Springers.

The lifeboat crew found one of the women was in need of urgent medical assistance, suffering from severe hypothermia and jellyfish stings to the face.

Medical transfer to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda was decided as the best option, and the casualty was soon airlifted from nearby Red Island on board the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.

Speaking after the call-out, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: "This was a perfect example of how well our volunteers and all the other emergency services work together to ensure that casualties get the best possible care and in the quickest possible time."

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#Diving - The Guardian reports that British police are investigating the death of a diver off the coast of East Anglia yesterday (30 August).

The deceased was one of two divers from a group of seven who got into difficulty off Lowestoft in Suffolk during a recreational diving trip.

The other diver was taken to hospital but police said he was likely to be discharged.

A police spokesperson added that the dead man is not thought to be local, and that the authorities are trying to trace his next of kin.

The death is currently being treated as unexplained until a portmortem can take place.

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#Diving - Divers across Britain and Northern Ireland are being called on to help the RNLI with research into participation and attitudes to safety in the sport by taking part in a new online survey.

The RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take 10 minutes to complete the online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures.



The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer.

Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). 

The survey, being undertaken by Substance on behalf of the RNLI, launched on Tuesday 27 August and will run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience – is invited to take part.


To supplement the online survey, face-to-face surveys will be conducted at dive sites, charter boat launch and departure points, and at Dive 2013, the NEC Dive Show in October. In-depth interviews and focus groups will also be conducted. Divers wishing to take part in these are encouraged to contact Substance via the survey website.



RNLI coastal safety manager Nick Fecher, who is running the project, explained the reasoning behind the research.



"Diving is a hugely popular sport but accidents do happen. A total of 314 diving incidents were reported to BSAC last year and the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews have rescued 96 divers and saved 13 divers’ lives in the past five years," he said.

"By carrying out this research, we hope to understand more about how and why people dive, what they know about the risks and what safety measures they take. We’re hoping to hear from divers of all levels of experience, so we can then develop really targeted and relevant safety advice to help them enjoy their sport as safely as possible.



"Coastal safety is a key part of the RNLI’s remit of saving lives at sea – by offering important safety advice to people taking part in coastal activities like diving, we hope to prevent incidents from happening in the first place and, ultimately, save lives."

All who participate in the survey are offered the option of free entry into a prize draw, with the first prize of a DX dive computer, kindly donated by Suunto Diving UK, and a second prize of an Abyss 22 regulator, kindly donated by Mares. Winners will be chosen by Substance using a random number generator by 15 November.

Published in Diving
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#WaterSafety - Herald.ie reports that a young cousin of rugby international Jonny Sexton was "shocked but recovering well" after she was knocked out in a diving accident last week.

Fourteen-year-old Kelly Sexton was diving with friends off a 50-foot ledge at Diamond Rocks in Kilkee, Co Clare to celebrate her birthday when she apparently struck the water at an angle that rendered her unconscious.

Thankfully her friends came to her aid immediately and cared for her until she was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick by the Shannon coastguard rescue helicopter.

The incident came on the last weekend of the nationwide heatwave that saw a shocking 10 drownings around the island of Ireland.

Published in Water Safety

#CongerEel - A Galway businessman had a life-threatening encounter with a conger eel while SCUBA diving in Connemara last month, as the Connacht Tribune reports.

Jimmy Griffin, who owns Griffins Bakery on Galway's Shop Street, describes the wildlife attack as like being "hit by a freight train".

He continued: "It had me by the face and I was being tossed around like a rag doll. It hit my head really hard. My regulator was knocked out of my mouth.

"I knew something was after hitting me and biting me, but I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t get my hands around it, it was so big. I managed to wrestle it off and the pain started to set in on my face.”

The pain was from a serious bite to the side of his mouth that would have sent a less experienced diver into a dangerous panic.

The Connacht Tribune has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Diving - An Irishman who set a world record for long-distance SCUBA diving is preparing to double that incredible feat.

Christopher Healy set the Guinness World Record for the fastest SCUBA dive over a distance of 10km in October 2011 in an effort to raise funds for the Share a Dream Foundation, which raised the spirits of his son Stephen when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

The experienced diving instructor - who runs the Atlantic Diving School in Co Clare - followed a long line of Irish divers such as Declan Devine, Sean McGahern and Paul Devane who've either smashed or attempted to smash records in the field.

And Healy has since written a book, The 10K Record, about the highs and lows of his journey to breaking the record.

But this weekend he aims to double that effort - and raise more funds for Share a Dream and Temple Street Children's Hospital - by SCUBA diving an unbroken 20km route in Lough Derg.

Staring at Mountshannon Harbour at 3am this Sunday 7 July, Healy will travel underwater towards Scariff and back via Scilly Island to Killaloe, aiming to arrive around 3pm.

He will be accompanied along the way by a small flotilla of support boats to replace his air supply and record his journey for verification.

For more about Healy's 20km diving challenge and how you can donate, visit the Facebook page HERE.

Published in Diving
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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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