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#SomethingFishy - Pupils at Scoil Chroí Naofa in Bunninadden, Sligo have been named the national winners of Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Something Fishy competition for 2016 at an event in Sligo’s Clarion Hotel yesterday (Wednesday 12 October).

The winning group of 24 children from the school’s senior class take home the National Something Fishy Award and €700 for their animated short on the life cycle of the salmon – selected by an independent judging panel comprising fisheries officers and education staff.

Along with their teacher Adrian Ormsby, the class edited and produced the digital and artistic photo story during the previous school term.



The ‘Something Fishy’ programme is an educational initiative of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre, which allows students to learn about fish and the environment in a local context.

The 2016 programme saw 3,776 children taking part in 118 schools and 11 education centres nationwide. Students were invited to submit project entries into the competition with this year’s entries addressing the theme ‘Focus on Learning’.

“The standard of entry to this year’s Something Fishy competition was particularly high and it is fantastic to have so many children engaged on our fisheries resource,” said IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne.

“Something Fishy gives children an opportunity to learn valuable lessons about the importance of protecting and conserving the aquatic environment but perhaps more importantly, they are also empowered to share their learnings with their peers via digital projects which can be enjoyed by all.”

Bernie Burke, principal of Scoil Chroí Naofa, described the win as “a fantastic achievement by the students involved who have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the programme.

“They have discovered the magical world within our waterways and enjoyed learning all about the aquatic environment. I would like to congratulate each of them and their teacher Mr Ormsby on all their hard work.”

Since the inception of Something Fishy in 2005, some 50,000 children have participated in the initiative which aims to promote interest and understanding in fish and their habitats.

As part of the educational programme, IFI fisheries officers visit schools and provide classroom-based assistance, with a full range of resources for teachers and children also available on the Something Fishy website.

Together, they explore the themes of fish, habitats, angling, water environment and the protection and conservation of Ireland’s rivers and lakes.

Aside from school-based learning, fisheries officers take students into the field to give them some practical experience of their work.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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Published in News Update

#Jellyfish - Mauve jellyfish have stranded in what could be record numbers in Co Clare.

Thousands of the species Pelagia noctiluca, also known as the mauve stinger, have beached at Fanore since last Friday (30 September) as photographed by local man Liam McNamara.

"This is the first time I've experienced mauve jellyfish in such numbers and I've been beachcombing for 40 years,” McNamara told Independent.ie.

"I'm not sure what's going on with our seas but definitely lots more jellies around.”

The surprising incident comes just days after hundreds of Portuguese man o’ wars began stranding at coastal spots along the Wild Atlantic Way between Kerry and Donegal in what’s thought to be the largest infestation in over a century.

Irish Water Safety says unusually warm sea temperatures have brought what are typically tropical species in droves to Irish waters.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#RNLI - Ballycotton RNLI launched around 1pm yesterday afternoon (Thursday 29 September) to aid a dolphin stranded in shallow water on Silver Strand beach near the East Cork village.

A member of the public who was on scene had tried to assist the dolphin back to sea, but when they were unable to do so they alerted the Ballycotton lifeboat.

Ballycotton’s inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew were quickly on scene, with the all-weather lifeboat on standby due to the offshore breeze and calm weather conditions.

Upon arrival, coxswain Eolan Walsh entered the water, guided the marine mammal into deeper water and shepherded it back out to sea.

Speaking after the callout, Walsh said: “Similar to a previous launch last summer, this dolphin appeared to be quite young and may have been separated from its pod.

“We would like to commend the member of the public who assisted the dolphin initially. We were happy to help and bring the dolphin into deeper waters.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - Sightings of the deadly Portuguese man o’ war along the West Coast have prompted calls for caution among coastal users, especially surfers and other beachgoers.

TheJournal.ie yesterday reported that as many as 15 of the toxic sea organisms that resemble jellyfish had been spotted on various beaches in Co Mayo and Co Clare.

Further sightings have been made along the Wild Atlantic Way as far south as Co Kerry and as far north as Donegal, according to The Irish Times, which carries Dr Tom Doyle’s warning for the public to steer clear of any specimens they might discover washed up on the shore.

The marine biologist with NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute emphasised that the creatures harbour seriously painful stings in their blue tentacles that have even killed three people worldwide.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - A young pilot whale was saved by a group of quick-thinking Wexford men after stranding on a beach at Kilmore Quay, as the New Ross Standard reports.

When Neil Bates spotted the 3m whale at Ballyteige Burrow and saw its blowhole move, he enlisted two other local men, John and Michael O'Flahery, to help refloat the animal.

And while it was it some distress for a time, it was soon out of the shallows and swimming in the direction of Hook Head.

In other marine wildlife news, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is seeking to recruit a new general manager, based out of the Shannon Dolphin Centre in Kilrush, Co Clare.

Details are on the IWDG website HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#OceanWarming - Warming oceans are not only throwing marine ecosystems into disarray, but are also encouraging the spread of water-borne bacteria and viruses around the world, a new study warns.

The Irish Examiner reports on new findings from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which says the world is "completely unprepared" for the consequences of ocean warming, which have already been seen as fish and marine mammal species move into cooler northern waters.

Coming in their wake, however, are tropical pathogens such as Vibrio vulnificus, related to the cholera bacteria, and potentially toxic algal blooms that could enter the food chain – comprising what scientists are calling the "greatest hidden challenge of our generation".

Rising sea temperatures are already wreaking havoc on corals off East Africa in the Indian Ocean, and affecting the breeding success of seabirds, ocean reptiles, jellyfish and plankton – the foodstuff of large baleen whales and basking sharks, which frequent Irish shores.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has warned the public to stay away from the carcass of a minke whale that has washed up on Killiney Beach.

According to TheJournal.ie, the carcass of the 13m female minke whale was seen floating off Greystones yesterday and Shankill earlier today (Friday 19 August).

In what's an unusual occurrence for the East Coast, the carcass has washed up on a rocky stretch made even more treacherous by high spring tides – and it may also pose a risk of infection to curious beachgoers.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Holidaymakers on the Loop Head Peninsula sprang into action to rescue two common dolphins stranded on a nearby beach, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Visitors staying at Doonaha's Green Acres caravan park used buckets of water to keep the mother and calf wet and tarps to help lift them into deeper waters off the rocky shore before a team from Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation arrived.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has reiterated the need for localised stranding plans after the death of two common dolphins that stranded in Mayo's Blacksod Bay in late July.

Aoife Foley of the IWDG writes that the two dolphins were part of a pod of five that were spotted close to the shore at Mullaghroe Beach on Saturday 23 July.

A team from the Broadhaven Bay Marine Mammal Monitoring Programme joined local marine biologist Machiel Oudejans to move the dolphins, which did not appear to be injured or in obviously poor health, back into deeper waters and out to sea.

However, the following afternoon a member of the programme team saw that two of the marine mammals had stranded on the same stretch of beach, which Foley says is "notorious for common dolphin strandings in Blacksod Bay".

Despite best efforts, by Tuesday 26 July one of the animals had died and the other had to be put down by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 6 of 53

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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