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Displaying items by tag: legislation

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has today (Thursday 11 November) announced the publication of the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) (Amendment) Bill 2021, which provides for a number of amendments to the legislation that underpins the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Changes will facilitate the appointment of new members to the board and are aimed at supporting its independent functioning as the State’s marine casualty investigative body.

The move follows a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in July 2020 concerning the independence of the MCIB, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

“The bill is being progressed to ensure the continued independent functioning of the MCIB in the immediate term as the marine investigative body in the State and to meet international and EU requirements to have an independent marine casualty investigative body in place,” Minister Ryan said.

Separate to the bill, the Department of Transport said it is reviewing organisational structures for marine casualty investigation in Ireland which may lead to further legislative change.

However, as the minister noted: “There is an immediate need for the current bill to fill board vacancies and in particular to ensure that the quorum requirements for board meetings are met.”

The text of the bill is available on the Oireachtas website and a Regulatory Impact Analysis on the bill is available from Gov.ie.

Published in MCIB
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Dun Laoghaire-based Senator Victor Boyhan has welcomed the Government’s decision to publish the full text of the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum today.

As previously reported today (Monday 16 August), the Bill seeks to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire maritime area.

Senator Boyhan, a former director of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, notes that the Bill provide for planning permissions to be administered by An Bord Pleanála and the Coastal Local Authorities.

“I will be seeking clarity and assurances on fees to make valid planning observations and submission to the planning process and the right to third-party appeals at a reasonable cost,” he said.

“No one should be locked out of the opportunity to appeal a planning decision — citizen engagement is an important part of any planning process and one I would greatly encourage.”

Published in Coastal Notes

The Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum have been published today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The publication was approved at Cabinet on 29th June 2021 and confirmed by An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD on 1st July 2021, alongside Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD, Eamon Ryan TD and Peter Burke TD when they launched previously at the Commissioners for Irish Lights Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire Harbour.

This legislation intends to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire Maritime Area. The constituent elements of this system are:

• A forward planning regime for the maritime area;

• A new streamlined development management system for the maritime area incorporating consenting for the occupation of the maritime area (Maritime Area Consents and licencing) and a new planning consenting regime (to be implemented by coastal local authorities and An Bord Pleanála);

• The establishment of a new agency, the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) to manage the occupation of the maritime area and to enforce the provisions of the new regime.

Commenting on the Maritime Area Planning Bill, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said: “My Department is leading an extensive marine management reform programme, the likes of which the State has never seen. The Maritime Area Planning Bill, which Cabinet has approved, is further evidence of this Government’s intent to modernise the State’s approach to marine management. It will represent a giant leap forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals and targets.”

Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said: “Ireland’s ocean area is home to an amazing array of marine life. Our offshore wind resources represent a real opportunity for us to break free from fossil fuels and reach our ambitious climate goals. My department has been closely involved in the development of this legislation, which will create a streamlined planning and consent regime. We are determined that as we develop our resources, we do so in a way that protects and restores our marine environment and its biodiversity.”

Published in Coastal Notes

A Wicklow TD with a background in fisheries science and environmental law has introduced a bill that would afford stronger protections to basking sharks in Irish waters, as TheJournal.ie reports.

The Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2021 tabled by Dáil deputy Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally or recklessly injure, disturb or harass the second-largest fish in the world’s oceans.

Experts estimate that as much as one-fifth of the global population of basking sharks may be found in Irish waters, though remarkably little is known about their lives — something researchers from Trinity have set out to discover by tagging a number of them off West Cork.

“We have a deep cultural connection to this animal and it is often a symbol of our indigenous maritime life,” Whitmore told the Dáil on Thursday (13 May).

However, the endangered marine wildlife giants are not a protected species in Ireland like cetaceans (dolphins, porpoise and whales) and seals.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sharks

#Registration - Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has surprised Ireland's sailing and boating community by announcing the passing of a Vessels Registration Bill as a priority for 2013.

The proposed legislation is among five transport bills included in the minister's priorities for the year ahead, as published by his department yesterday.

Stakeholders are currently awaiting confirmation from the minister as to the contents and scope of the bill, which would be put forward for public consultation before being published at some point this year.

Legislation for the registration of vessels as been in drafting stages for a number of years, and submissions have been received by previous Governments relating to areas the bill would likely cover such as insurance, VAT avoidance and identification of vessels for search and rescue purposes.

According to a source close to Afloat.ie, among the proposals for the bill is that any vessel entering UK and Ireland waters must inform the coastguard of the names of their passengers and the port of arrival.

"Without boat registration, that is a near impossible task to manage," said the source.

Almost all other EU countries have boat registration legislation except for the UK and Ireland – and pressure is being applied in Britain to bring such registration into law through the UK Border Agency.

Among the stakeholders broadly in favour of vessel registration is the Irish Marine Federation (IMF), which has long called for a mandatory State scheme for identifying recreational vessels in Ireland.

At present all registration of vessels of all sizes, from small sailing boats to container ships, is conducted under the Register of Shipping Act 1955.

Published in News Update

#ANGLING - Minister for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd has confirmed that there is no proposal for the extension of the salmon draft netting season.

In response to concerns expressed by the angling community and highlighted by Derek Evans in The Irish Times last week, Minister O’Dowd emphasised that conservation and management of salmon and sea trout is key to protecting our valuable natural resources.

“Recent reports that the commercial season will be extended in certain rivers are untrue and I can confirm that for the 2012 season, the commercial fishing season remains as it was in all areas, with the River Suir still on a reduced season for snap fishing," said the minister.

"I am aware that confusion can arise due to the necessary extent of regulations in place. However, I am not considering any proposal for the extension of the commercial season."

The minister reminded that Inland Fisheries Ireland is the body that enforces Ireland's "extensive" fisheries legislation.

"IFI has offices throughout the country where advice can be sought. There is also a comprehensive and regularly updated website and information is also disseminated on Facebook and Twitter," he said.

Meanwhile, IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said that the legislative code is regularly updated to ensure that Ireland's fisheries continue to be protected on the basis of information from IFI’s Standing Scientific Committee and IFI management advice.

“Only rivers with exploitable surpluses are open during the spring season and no fishery is open for commercial exploitation during this time," said Dr Byrne. "Fisheries that are classified catch-and-release or closed for salmon are now protected under bye-law 897 which prohibits the use of worms and the use of any fish hooks other than single barbless hooks.

"IFI’s priorities are maximising the return to Ireland, protecting sustainable jobs in isolated rural communities and promoting our wonderful angling resources," he added.

Published in Angling

#MARINE WILDLIFE - A meeting of the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force (NIMTF) last week brought together interests from across the spectrum to discuss the new Marine Bill and ensure it will "deliver for all sea users".

The workshop at Castle Espie on Strangford Lough last Thursday 22 March saw politicians sit down with environmentalists, fishermen and wind farm developers, and engage with those responsible for drafting the proposed legislation.

According to a statement from the Ulster Wildlife Trust, which is a member of the NIMTF, the bill "provides for the creation of a network of marine protected areas to protect marine wildlife" as well as a roadmap for a more joined-up approach to the North's marine resources.

NIMTF spokesperson Ricky Devlin said: "We now need to ensure that [the bill] addresses the full range of environmental, recreational and commercial interests such as fishing, diving, electricity generation and aquaculture."

A full report of the meeting will be available shortly from www.nimtf.org

Published in Marine Wildlife
#INLAND WATERWAYS - Minister for Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte has announced that a settlement has been reached ahead of a court case over the removal of Clondulane Weir on the River Blackwater in Co Cork.
Lismore Realty Ltd and Lismore Trust Ltd has brought judicial review proceedings against the then minister over the department's direction in 2006 requiring the removal of the weird to allow for the free passage of migratory fish in line with national and European legislation.
The removal of the weir will now proceed folliwng the settlement, which terms that the parties will bear their own costs and Lismore Realty Ltd and Lismore Trust Ltd. will pay all reasonable costs of the removal of the weir, set to take place next summer.
Inland Fisheries Ireland will act as agents of the minister and manage the removal of the structure so as to minimise the impact on flora, fauna and habitat in the river, which is in a designated Special Area of Conservation.

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Minister for Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has announced that a settlement has been reached ahead of a court case over the removal of Clondulane Weir on the River Blackwater in Co Cork.

Lismore Realty Ltd and Lismore Trust Ltd has brought judicial review proceedings against the then minister over the department's direction in 2006 requiring the removal of the weird to allow for the free passage of migratory fish in line with national and European legislation.

The removal of the weir will now proceed folliwng the settlement, which terms that the parties will bear their own costs, and Lismore Realty Ltd and Lismore Trust Ltd will pay all reasonable costs of the removal of the weir, set to take place next summer.  

Inland Fisheries Ireland will act as agents of the minister and manage the removal of the structure so as to minimise the impact on flora, fauna and habitat in the river, which is in a designated Special Area of Conservation.

Published in Inland Waterways
Proposals to create more than 100 conservation zones to protect marine wildlife and plantlife in England and Wales have been unveiled.
BBC News reports that the proposals - covering waters around the English and Welsh coastlines, including parts of the Irish Sea - will be assessed by a panel of experts before a final decision by the British government, expected some time in 2012.
The Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) will have differing levels of protection, depending on what regulators choose to prohibit and when under the provisions of the 2009 UK Marine Bill. This is to allow flexibility for activities such as fishing and recreation.
Should all proposals be approved, it would place more than a quarter of all English waters under some form of protection.
It is also hoped that this is the first step towards a network of protected waters across the whole of the UK.
Proposals for protection zones in Scotland are expected to come forward next year. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland legisative assembly has yet to pass its own marine protection laws.
BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Proposals to create more than 100 conservation zones to protect marine wildlife and plantlife in England and Wales have been unveiled.

BBC News reports that the proposals - covering waters around the English and Welsh coastlines, including parts of the Irish Sea - will be assessed by a panel of experts before a final decision by the British government, expected some time in 2012.

The Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) will have differing levels of protection, depending on what regulators choose to prohibit and when under the provisions of the 2009 UK Marine Bill. This is to allow flexibility for activities such as fishing and recreation.

Should all proposals be approved, it would place more than a quarter of all English waters under some form of protection. 

It is also hoped that this is the first step towards a network of protected waters across the whole of the UK.

Proposals for protection zones in Scotland are expected to come forward next year. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland legisative assembly has yet to pass its own marine protection laws.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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

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