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#WaterSafety - Irish Water Safety has described cheap inflatable boats and rafts as "floating killers", as The Irish Times reports.

Water safety chiefs have urged the public to avoid using such inflatables on open water following last month's rescue of three children who drifted more than 30km out to sea from Cloughey Bay in Co Down.

Previously, two children were rescued at Ballybunion in Co Kerry after drifting out to sea on an inflatable toy.

Other incidents include a man carried out by the current on a rubber ring from White Rocks beach at Portrush, Co Antrim and three men who set out from Tramore, Co Waterford on a makeshift raft with no lifejackets or other safety gear.

The news comes just days after Irish Water Safety announced its lifeguards had rescued some 559 swimmers on Irish beaches during the recent heatwave.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced a €2 million safety investment programme for the Coast Guard to purchase seven new boats, along with new vehicles and equipment:

€1.5 million has been allocated for 7 new Coast Guard boats as part of its boat renewal programme;
€300,000 will be used to purchase new vans for the Coast Guard's volunteer rescue teams;
€200,000 will be used to update the Coast Guard's pollution response equipment to best international standards.

Separately, Minister Varadkar is backing an Irish Coast Guard initiative to have a new European Coast Guard Secretariat based full-time in Dublin.

Speaking today, Minister Varadkar said: 'I'm very happy to allocate extra resources to the Coast Guard to upgrade its vital equipment, including seven new boats, along with replacement vans and pollution control materials. One of the new Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) has been allocated to Achill Coast Guard, and the remainder will be allocated to Coast Guard Stations around Ireland over the next 12 months, according to priority.

"Everyone who goes to sea owes a debt of gratitude to the Coast Guard, as do their family and friends. The Coast Guard responds to emergency call-outs, and saves lives, at all hours of the day and night, throughout the year. Much of the Coast Guard's work is only possible through the large network of individual and group volunteers."

Minister Varadkar also congratulated the Director of the Irish Coast Guards, Chris Reynolds, who has been elected the new Chair of the European Union Heads of Coast Guard. The annual Heads of Coast Guards of Europe's meeting will now take place in Dublin next August.

Mr Reynolds has been asked specifically to prepare the ground for a permanent Secretariat, manned by Coast Guard Officers from Member States, the EU Commission and various agencies. The Secretariat will meet in Dublin for its inaugural year, and Mr Reynolds will propose to have the Secretariat based in Dublin on a permanent basis.

Additional info:

New Delta 900 SUPER X RIBs for Irish Coastguard

The Irish Coastguard's new Delta 900 SUPER X Coast Guard RIBs are 9.00m overall and will be in service off the Republic of Ireland's coast.Jun 07, 2011 - From its early days in 1979, the Delta Power Group (builder of Delta RIBs) has grown to become one of the most successful and highly regarded designers and builders of commercial RIBs for the world market.

This enviable position has been achieved through a simple business philosophy. Delta has not burdened itself with debt to fuel growth, preferring to expand organically by concentrating on contracts that remain strictly within its targeted commercial sector, winning business from successful organisations; which in turn generates repeat orders and new contacts.

A recent Irish Coastguard contract is not for just one craft; but covers a five year programme to supply 12 highly specified boats. Delta's Military and Law Enforcement range comprises nine models and these are offered with different specifications depending on usage.

The Irish Coastguard's new Delta 900 SUPER X Coast Guard RIBs are 9.00m overall and will be in service off the Republic of Ireland's coast. Twin Yamaha F225B engines give a maximum speed of 40 knots and a cruising speed of 32 knots. Safety equipment is to MSO P6 Passenger Boat and other equipment is to MCA Category 3 rating. The extensive specification includes Shockwave mitigating seating for all the crew. And it also features Delta's standard procedure of terminating all wiring looms in fully waterproof housings with Deutsch connectors to ensure maximum in service reliability; essential, since the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean can throw up very demanding operational conditions.

In addition, Delta is one of the few major Commercial RIB builders to run the processes of laminating, tube making and outfitting completely 'in house' (on its wholly owned and secure 2.2 Acre freehold site) in 79,000 sq.ft of covered space. This ensures maximum Management and Quality Control. Delta is certified to ISO 9001: 2008 and is able to build under full survey of all the major Classification Societies.

As a result, Delta's extensive international client base now includes ERRV, Marine Police, Border Control, Customs & Excise, Navies, Special Forces, Coastguards, Search & Rescue services, Law enforcement agencies, Military and Port Authorities; to name just a few.

Published in Coastguard
The Department of Transport's latest marine notice adds two more classes of liferaft to those deemed acceptable for use on small fishing vessels that do not require SOLAS/MED approval.
The list of accepted four-person inflatable liferafts (all with SOLAS Pack) now includes the following: DSB; RFD Surviva; RFD Seasava; Viking DK; Zodiac; Eurovinyl ISO/DIS 9650; Sea-Safe ISO 9650-1 Group A Type 1; and Seago ISO 9650-1.
Vessels affected by this notice are those less than 40ft (12m) in length and carrying four or fewer persons.
A PDF of Marine Notice No 16 of 2011 can be viewed HERE.

The Department of Transport's latest marine notice adds two more classes of liferaft to those deemed acceptable for use on small fishing vessels that do not require SOLAS/MED approval.

The list of accepted four-person inflatable liferafts (all with SOLAS Pack) now includes the following: DSB; RFD Surviva; RFD Seasava; Viking DK; Zodiac; Eurovinyl ISO/DIS 9650; Sea-Safe ISO 9650-1 Group A Type 1; and Seago ISO 9650-1.

Vessels affected by this notice are those less than 40ft (12m) in length and carrying four or fewer persons.

A PDF of Marine Notice No 16 of 2011 can be viewed HERE.

Published in Water Safety

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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