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Birdwatchers in Northern Ireland will want to be at the Mount Stewart lookout on 2 October for a special 'bird's eye view' of the return of thousands of Brent geese from colder climes.
The News Letter reports that the free event from 2-4pm at the entrance to Mount Stewart on Strangford Lough will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the geese - arriving after epic journeys from as far away as the Canadian Arctic - and the work done by the National Trust to protect the waders and wildfowl that make Northern Ireland their home for the winter.
As much as 75 per cent of the world population of light-bellied Brent geese spend the winter months at Strangford Lough, which is recognised as a Ramsar site - a designation given to wetlands of international importance.
For more details on the special birdwatching event, contact Hugh Thurgate at +44 7900 678411.

Birdwatchers in Northern Ireland will want to be at the Mount Stewart lookout on 2 October for a special 'bird's eye view' of the return of thousands of Brent geese from colder climes.

The News Letter reports that the free event from 2-4pm at the entrance to Mount Stewart on Strangford Lough will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the geese - arriving after epic journeys from as far away as the Canadian Arctic - and the work done by the National Trust to protect the waders and wildfowl that make Northern Ireland their home for the winter.

As much as 75 per cent of the world population of light-bellied Brent geese spend the winter months at Strangford Lough, which is recognised as a Ramsar site - a designation given to wetlands of international importance.

For more details on the special birdwatching event, contact Hugh Thurgate at +44 7900 678411.

Published in News Update
Time may be running out for Scotland's only resident pod of killer whales, the Scotsman reports.
The four males and five females have been studied at their home in the west of Scotland by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group for almost 20 years.
The marine mammals have been sighted at various times since 1981 by members of the public in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
But since 1992 the group - known as the West Coast Community - has failed to produce a single surviving calf.
Marine biologist Dr Andy Foote said: "It's probably too late to save this group. I do believe that they will become extinct in our lifetime which is very regrettable since not many people even know that such a distinctive group of killer whales exist just off our coast."
Dr Foote believes possible contaminants in the waters off Scotland's west coast could be one reason why the pod is not successfully breeding.
The Scotsman has more on the storty HERE.

Time may be running out for Scotland's only resident pod of killer whales, the Scotsman reports.

The four males and five females have been studied at their home in the west of Scotland by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group for almost 20 years.

The marine mammals have been sighted at various times since 1981 by members of the public in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

But since 1992 the group - known as the West Coast Community - has failed to produce a single surviving calf.

Marine biologist Dr Andy Foote said: "It's probably too late to save this group. I do believe that they will become extinct in our lifetime which is very regrettable since not many people even know that such a distinctive group of killer whales exist just off our coast."

Dr Foote believes possible contaminants in the waters off Scotland's west coast could be one reason why the pod is not successfully breeding.

The Scotsman has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

An exciting new six-part T.V. marine wildlife series 'Farraigí na hÉireann' (Seas of Ireland), the first to be dedicated entirely within our shores and also produced at home is to be broadcast by TG4 next Tuesday (20th Sept) at 8pm.

The series which took almost two years to produce was commissioned for TG4 and is the work of underwater cameraman, Ken O'Sullivan and Katrina Costello who set-up Sea Fever Productions based in Lahinch, Co. Clare.

'Farraigí na hÉireann' explores the fascinating journey through the beautiful underwater world around Ireland encountering an enormous diversity of wild and colourful creatures. From playful dolphins, giant basking sharks and exotic jellyfish to the recently discovered cold water coral reefs in deep Atlantic waters.

It also examines the changing nature of our relationship with the sea and it's creatures from the original subsistence coast folk of 9,000 years ago and the traditions they have handed down, to the 'super-trawler' fishing fleet and the current state of our oceans.

To read more about the series visit www.seafeverproductions.com and www.tg4.ie

Published in Maritime TV
Hundreds of experts will be showcasing their work in marine science, weather and astronomy in Galway next Friday 23 September, the Galway Advertiser reports.
The special family-oriented Sea2Sky event - organised by NUI Galway in tandem with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria - aims to educate the public about the wonders around us, from Ireland's marine wildlife and habitats to the stars and solar system.
The two main venues at Galway Atlantaquaria and Leisureland in Salthill will host various scientific demonstrations on the day, while the promenade between the two will be lined with amateur astronomers and their telescopes.
One of the highlights is sure to be the chance to see the remote submarine used by scientists to explore hydrothermal vents in the north Atlantic this summer.
The full programme of events is abailable at www.sea2sky.ie.

Hundreds of experts will be showcasing their work in marine science, weather and astronomy in Galway next Friday 23 September, the Galway Advertiser reports.

The special family-oriented Sea2Sky event - organised by NUI Galway in tandem with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria - aims to educate the public about the wonders around us, from Ireland's marine wildlife and habitats to the stars and solar system.

The two main venues at Galway Atlantaquaria and Leisureland in Salthill will host various scientific demonstrations on the day, while the promenade between the two will be lined with amateur astronomers and their telescopes.

One of the highlights is sure to be the chance to see the remote submarine used by scientists to explore hydrothermal vents in the north Atlantic this summer.

The full programme of events is abailable at www.sea2sky.ie.

Published in Marine Science
The infamous Celtic Mist is set to be used to track one of the most elusive marine animals in Irish waters.
The Irish Examiner reports that one of the first duties of the yacht under its new ownership by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will be to track down the blue whale, the last of which was spotted off the Irish coast in 2009.
"We’ve made two sightings of the blue whale on the shelf edge but with the Celtic Mist we will be able to go out there for a few weeks and sit there and wait for them," said the IWDG's Dr Simon Berrow.
"Hopefully we will find some more when we bring the Celtic Mist out there. They are very rare."
The blue whale is regarded as the largest animal to have ever lived on earth. They also have an average lifespan of well over 100 years.
As previously reported by Afloat.ie, Celtic Mist was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG earlier this year to assist in its marine conservation work.
The yacht competed in a leg of the 2011 Tall Ships Race from Waterford to Scotland before moving to its new home in Co Clare, where it will be refitted for its new life as a research vessel.

The infamous Celtic Mist is set to be used to track one of the most elusive marine animals in Irish waters.

The Irish Examiner reports that one of the first duties of the yacht under its new ownership by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will be to track down the blue whale, the last of which was spotted off the Irish coast in 2009.

"We’ve made two sightings of the blue whale on the shelf edge but with the Celtic Mist we will be able to go out there for a few weeks and sit there and wait for them," said the IWDG's Dr Simon Berrow. 

"Hopefully we will find some more when we bring the Celtic Mist out there. They are very rare."

The blue whale is regarded as the largest animal to have ever lived on earth. They also have an average lifespan of well over 100 years.

As previously reported by Afloat.ie, Celtic Mist was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG earlier this year to assist in its marine conservation work.

The yacht competed in a leg of the 2011 Tall Ships Race from Waterford to Scotland before moving to its new home in Co Clare, where it will be refitted for its new life as a research vessel.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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
Beachgoers in Wales have been urged to watch out for leatherback turtles who have come to the Irish Sea attracted by the rising numbers of jellyfish.
There have already been a dozen sightings of the endangered marine creatures off the UK coast this year, according to the Marine Conservation Society.
“There are so many jellyfish this year, with lots and lots of reports, particularly in the Irish Sea – it’s turtle heaven, there’s so much food for them,” said MSC biodiversity programme manager Dr Peter Richardson.
The society is hoping to identify any hotspots where they can run protective measures.
The leatherback turtle can grow up to 3m long as weigh as much as a tonne. They are often mistaken for floating logs, said Dr Richardson, but "once you see their large reptilian head, massive flippers and ridged leathery shell you can’t mistake them for anything else".
The Western Mail has more on the story HERE.

Beachgoers in Wales have been urged to watch out for leatherback turtles who have come to the Irish Sea attracted by the rising numbers of jellyfish.

There have already been a dozen sightings of the endangered marine creatures off the UK coast this year, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

“There are so many jellyfish this year, with lots and lots of reports, particularly in the Irish Sea – it’s turtle heaven, there’s so much food for them,” said MSC biodiversity programme manager Dr Peter Richardson.

The society is hoping to identify any hotspots where they can run protective measures.

The leatherback turtle can grow up to 3m long as weigh as much as a tonne. They are often mistaken for floating logs, said Dr Richardson, but "once you see their large reptilian head, massive flippers and ridged leathery shell you can’t mistake them for anything else".

The Western Mail has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The wealth of marine wildlife inhabiting the shallow waters around the Irish coast is highlighted in a new book.
Ireland's Hidden Depths, published by Sherkin Island Marine Station, features photography by Paul Kay, who has studied the marine wildlife of West Cork for almost 30 years.
The book features more than 200 of his photographs, illustrating "a wealth of massively diverse and amazing marine life, glorious kelp forests and spectaucular underwater scenery."
Matt Murphy, director of Sherkin Island Marine Station, said that he hopes the book will give readers "a new perspective on the sea and encourage a sustained interest in its wonder and potential".
The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

The wealth of marine wildlife inhabiting the shallow waters around the Irish coast is highlighted in a new book.

Ireland's Hidden Depths, published by Sherkin Island Marine Station, features photography by Paul Kay, who has studied the marine wildlife of West Cork for almost 30 years.

The book features more than 200 of his photographs, illustrating "a wealth of massively diverse and amazing marine life, glorious kelp forests and spectaucular underwater scenery."

Matt Murphy, director of Sherkin Island Marine Station, said that he hopes the book will give readers "a new perspective on the sea and encourage a sustained interest in its wonder and potential".

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The public will have greater access to see shipping activity in the Port of Dublin, when a new boat-based tour of the country's busiest port starts tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Titled the River Liffey & Port Tour, the 45-minute excursion is a partnership between Sea Safari Tours and the Dublin Port Company. Tours will operate from the pontoon where the M.V. Cill Airne floating river-restaurant and bar venue is berthed at the North Wall Quay. Cill Airne was built in the Liffey Dockyard nearly fifty years ago, where she forms part of the tours audio commentary covering the history and the present day.

In addition to cruising this stretch of the River Liffey alongside the 'Docklands' quarter, the tour RIB boat will pass downriver through the East-Link toll bridge where visitors will get closer views of the variety of vessels and calling cruise liners from other ports throughout the world.

There will be five daily tours beginning at 10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm.Tickets cost €15.00 for adults, €12.50 for students and the charge for senior citizens and children is €10.00.

In addition Sea Safari operate a 'River Liffey' only tour, a Dublin Bay 'North' and 'South' tours which visit Howth Head, Baily Lighthouse, Ireland's Eye and to Dalkey Island and Killiney Bay, where both bay tours provide a chance to spot local marine wildlife of seals, porpoises and sea birds.

Published in Dublin Port
Basking sharks have dominated recent sightings of large marine wildlife, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
The largest shark species in Irish waters accounted for a whopping 43% of sightings submitted to the IWDG's ISCOPE database between 22 April and 1 May.
Other marine species spotted include minke whales (14%), bottlenose dolphins (10%) and sperm whales (2.5%).
April's unseasonably warm weather and calmer seas brought more people out to the water, which may account for this rise in figures.
Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Basking sharks have dominated recent sightings of large marine wildlife, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The largest shark species in Irish waters accounted for a whopping 43% of sightings submitted to the IWDG's ISCOPE database between 22 April and 1 May.

Other marine species spotted include minke whales (14%), bottlenose dolphins (10%) and sperm whales (2.5%).

April's unseasonably warm weather and calmer seas brought more people out to the water, which may account for this rise in figures.

Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 53 of 55

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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