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In an urgent need to address gaps in maritime and air security, and the threat posed by cyber attacks, they feature prominently in submissions made to the country's first national security strategy.

A total of 60 submissions have been made in a public consultation launched by the newly-established National Security Analysis Centre.

The NSAC, based within the Department of the Taoiseach, is drawing up the State's first-ever National Security Strategy.

While the submissions have not yet been published by the department a number are available on the websites of bodies that have made them

In its detailed submission, the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO) said the threats to Ireland's national security range from energy security, espionage and extremism to hybrid warfare, major pandemics, nuclear contamination and terrorism.

The submission, authored by Brigadier-General Paul Pakenham (Retd), said that ISIS is “likely to reemerge in the short to medium term”.

It said the concept of military neutrality was “flawed and outdated” and that cyber-enabled attacks and hybrid warfare “do not respect Ireland's military neutrality posture".

ARCO said a “substantial increase” in investment in defence capabilities is required, pointing out that Ireland has the lowest defence spend in the EU, at 0.3% of GDP (average 1.3%).

It said the trans American-European sea and air lanes are in “close proximity” to Ireland and that Ireland's significant reliance on sea lanes presents a potential risk.

The Irish Maritime Forum, an independent professional body, also looked at on sea lanes of communication.

It wants an increased focus, by boosting the Naval Service, to protect Ireland's maritime domain, which is the largest in northwest Europe, with 92% of Ireland's area being underwater.

“We are a small trading nation living on an island and 99% (by volume) of everything we import or export is transported by sea," it said.

“The sea and air traffic between northern Europe and the USA passes close to our shores and through or above waters over which we have jurisdiction or for which we have responsibility.”

Much more from BreakingNews.ie here.

Published in Navy

#Angling - Almost one in every 10 people in Northern Ireland went fishing in the last 12 months - but 70% of NI residents said they had no interest in the sport.

These statistics were among the key findings in a new report on attitudes to angling by adults in Northern Ireland, using data from the Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey conducted this past April.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, among the other findings were that almost a fifth of the population used to go fishing but no longer so do, while some 4% of the populace have never fished before and would like to try.

Most respondents cited their lack of interest in putting them off angling as a pastime, while 19% said they did not have enough free time.

But 12% said better information on how to fish would encourage them to take out a rod and reel.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#MCIB - The families of two fishermen found dead at sea off the Skerries last April may never uncover the circumstances that led to their demise. But the official report into the incident indicated that the absence of lifejackets was a significant contributing factor.

Ronan Browne (26) and David Gilsenan (41) were reported missing on the evening of 1 April after failing to return from a trip tending to lobster pots.

Their vessel, Lady Linda, was found the following morning upturned in an oil slick off Clogherhead with no sign of the crew.

It wasn't until a week later that their bodies were discovered caught in the vessel's fishing gear some five miles east of Clogherhead, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Post-mortem results found that both men died from drowning, with Gilsenan also showing signs of hypothermia.

With no eyewitnesses to the incident, the report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) indicated a number of possible causes from eqiupment malfunction or shifting of lobster pots on deck, to the wave height and weather conditions on the day, which were reportedly deteriorating when the boat left port.

It also said that Browne and Gilsenan "were lifelong friends, both men were experienced and qualified marine engineers in the fishing vessel industry. Both men were experienced in boat handling and fishing and had worked together on many occasions."

But the report emphasised the lack of personal flotation devices (PFDs) on board, and noted that emergency equipment was stored under the deck and not easily accessible.

The MCIB's recommendations include a review of the code of practice for fishing vessels under 15m to establish "revised stability critera" and ensuring that all boats are fitted with automatic radio beacons that deploy upon capsize.

In a separate incident, lack of proper maintenance led to an unlicenced boat taking on water off Co Kerry last August.

The Claire Buoyant was carrying one crew, five passengers and 21 sheep from Beginish Island to Ventry when the vessel began to lose stability.

Skipper Eoin Firtear - who the MCIB described as having "limited sea-going experience" - and his five passengers were rescued by passenger ferry. All sheep were jettisoned overboard, with 18 eventually recovered.

The report reminded that the carriage of livestock should only be undertaken in appropriately certified vessels.

Published in MCIB

#RIVER CORRIB - A consultant’s report on Wolfe Tone Bridge in Galway could clear the way for a new crossing of the River Corrib, according to The Connacht Sentinel.

Galway City Council has confirmed that the €400,000 report will look at the possibility of a new bridge for vehicular traffic downstream of the existing span.

“Given the age of the current structure, we have to look at plans for the construction of a new bridge and the retention of the existing crossing as part of a walkway over the Corrib," said the council's director of services Ciarán Hayes.

“There is no doubt that such a walkway, as part as an overall regeneration plan for the area, would be a most welcome addition to the amenity infrastructure of this historic part of the city."

The €400,000 allocation for the report commission will comes from the National Roads Authority and Department of the Environment budget for regional and local roads in 2012. The report is expected to be carried out later this year.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MCIB - The death by drowning of a South Dublin boatman may have been avoided had he been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, according to investigators.

The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) into the death of Aidan Fennell off Dalkey Island on 12 October 2010 found that an epileptic episode could have caused him to fall overboard from his rowboat and become disorientated once in the water.

Fennell, 43, was considered a competent boatman and a strong swimmer used to cold water, though was prone to seizures where he could not control his muscles and lost sense with reality, on occasion becoming unconscious.

On the afternoon of 12 October last year Fennell had launched his boat from Coliemore Harbour in fair conditions, intending to ferry a German family to Dalkey Island. When they pulled out of the trip, Fennell decided to row to the island on his own, with no flotation devices on board.

He was last seen by friend Kevin O'Farrell at 2.50pm. Around half an hour later, O'Farrell became concerned as to Fennell's whereabouts when he had been out of sight for some time.

After notifying the Irish Coast Guard, the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat and coastguard helicopter Rescue 116 were dispatched to search the area. Fennell's boat was located before 4pm washed on the rocks at the southeast end of Dalkey Island, and his body was found in the water close by some 10 minutes later.

No injuries were found on Fennell's body, suggesting that he went into the water before his boat washed up on the rocks.

The report concluded that if he had fallen overboard in normal conditions "it is considered likely that he could have swum to his boat, or clung on to the oars.

"However, if he had suffered an epileptic episode... he would have had great difficulty in staying afloat, in particular without having the buoyancy assistance of a life jacket."

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 46 reports of stranded whales and dolphins in Northern Ireland are among the thousands recorded across the UK over the last six years, according to BBC News.

A new study co-ordinated by the Zoological Socoety of London (ZSL) shows that some 3,500 cetaceans were stranded on the British coastline between 2005 and 2010.

Though year-on-year figures have fallen overall, is presumed that many more strandings have gone undetected.

Many were found to have died of disease or starvation – particular harbour dolphins.

But human activity such as fishing, shipping and chemical pollution also poses a significant threat to marine wildlife in the waters around the British Isles, said Rob Deaville of the ZSL.

The public is being encouraged to report stranded marine mammals to help create a more accurate picture.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The Irish Examiner reports that the families of two fisherman who drowned off Malin Head last November disagree with the findings of the official investigation into the tragedy.
Eddie Doherty, 65, and his nephew Robert McLaughlin, 41, died after their small fishing boat F/V Jennifer capsized and sank off Glengad on 1 November last year.
The official report released last week by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that a combination of high winds in the area and unstable weight on the boat due to the crab pots it was carrying most likely caused the vessel to list to an angle from which it could not be recovered.
But Eddie Doherty's widow said she disagreed with this conclusion.
"With Eddie’s experience and his regard for safety the load would have been spread evenly over the deck of the boat and therefore this would not have had an adverse affect on the stability of the boat," said Marian Doherty.
The full MCIB report is available to read HERE.

The Irish Examiner reports that the families of two fisherman who drowned off Malin Head last November disagree with the findings of the official investigation into the tragedy.

Eddie Doherty, 65, and his nephew Robert McLaughlin, 41, died after their small fishing boat F/V Jennifer capsized and sank off Glengad on 1 November last year.

The official report released last week by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that a combination of high winds in the area and unstable weight on the boat due to the crab pots it was carrying most likely caused the vessel to list to an angle from which it could not be recovered.

But Eddie Doherty's widow said she disagreed with this conclusion.

"With Eddie’s experience and his regard for safety the load would have been spread evenly over the deck of the boat and therefore this would not have had an adverse affect on the stability of the boat," said Marian Doherty.

The full MCIB report is available to read in full HERE.

Published in MCIB
A public consultation on the future of Cork Harbour is open until 15 July.
Copies of the 300-page Cork Harbour Study are currently available at Cork County Council offices and online at www.corkcoco.ie, The Southern Star reports.
The study outlines possibilities for the long-term future of the coastline in and around the harbour, including but not limited to the development of disused or under-used areas, and sustainable patterns of settlement and industry.
Ideas the report puts forward for public debate include a new marina for Cobh, more shoreline pedestrian and cycleways, a new container terminal at Ringaskiddy and initiatives for marine-related employment.
"A balance between the development and amenity roles of Cork Harbour is only likely to be maintained if there is public support for this," said outgoing Cork Mayor Kevin Murphy. "Greater use and better public access to its amenities and recreational facilities will make this more likely."

A public consultation on the future of Cork Harbour is open until 15 July.

Copies of the 300-page Cork Harbour Study are currently available at Cork County Council offices and online at www.corkcoco.ie, The Southern Star reports.

The study outlines possibilities for the long-term future of the coastline in and around the harbour, including but not limited to the development of disused or under-used areas, and sustainable patterns of settlement and industry.

Ideas the report puts forward for public debate include a new marina for Cobh, more shoreline pedestrian and cycleways, a new container terminal at Ringaskiddy and initiatives for marine-related employment.

"A balance between the development and amenity roles of Cork Harbour is only likely to be maintained if there is public support for this," said outgoing Cork Mayor Kevin Murphy. "Greater use and better public access to its amenities and recreational facilities will make this more likely."

Published in Cork Harbour
The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board into the loss of a kayaker in Castletownshend last year has found the death was caused by hypothermia and heart failure due to a pre-existing condition.
Didier Heneault, 56, died while kayaking with his wife Margaret near Horse Island, after his kayak overturned in choppy water.
The French couple, who were experienced kayakers, had set off from the League near Raheen Town in Co Cork on the morning of 30 May 2010, paddling south east.
On the western side of Horse Island, Mrs Heneault turned and saw that her husband was in thw water about 10m from his kayak. She tried to assist him in climbing out of the water back into the kayak but was unsuccessful.
Mrs Heneault used a safety rope to keep her husband afloat, but after 10 minutes he became unresponsive.
Some hours later passing kayakers heard Mrs Heneault's calls for help and assisted in towing the couple back to shore at Horse Island, where they gave Mr Heneault CPR. They were joined shortly after by the Baltimore Inshore Lifeboat and the Toe Head coastguard unit.
Mr Heneault was transferred to a waiting ambulance at Castletownshend pier where he was treated by paramedics before being taken to Cork University Hospital. There he was pronounced dead at 4.50pm.
The report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) said the post-mortem gave the cause of death as cardiac failure due to hypertensive cardiomyopathy following immersion in cold water and associated hypothermia, with a medical history of hypertension.
The report also recommended that lifejackets should be used instead of buoyancy aids when offsore kayaking, where the risk of capsizing is greater. A lifejacket of 150 Newtons or more would have kept Mr Heneault's head above water at all times, it said.

The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) into the loss of a kayaker in Castletownshend last year has found the death was caused by hypothermia and heart failure due to a pre-existing condition.

Didier Heneault, 56, died while kayaking with his wife Margaret near Horse Island, after his kayak overturned in choppy water.

The French couple, who were experienced kayakers, had set off from the League near Raheen Town in Co Cork on the morning of 30 May 2010, paddling south-east. 

On the western side of Horse Island, Mrs Heneault turned and saw that her husband was in thw water about 10m from his kayak. She tried to assist him in climbing out of the water back into the kayak but was unsuccessful. 

Mrs Heneault used a safety rope to keep her husband afloat, but after 10 minutes he became unresponsive.

Some hours later passing kayakers heard Mrs Heneault's calls for help and assisted in towing the couple back to shore at Horse Island, where they gave Mr Heneault CPR. They were joined shortly after by the Baltimore Inshore Lifeboat and the Toe Head coastguard unit.

Mr Heneault was transferred to a waiting ambulance at Castletownshend pier where he was treated by paramedics before being taken to Cork University Hospital. There he was pronounced dead at 4.50pm.

The report into the incident by the MCIB said the post-mortem gave the cause of death as cardiac failure due to hypertensive cardiomyopathy following immersion in cold water and associated hypothermia, with a medical history of hypertension.

The report also recommended that lifejackets should be used instead of buoyancy aids when offsore kayaking, where the risk of capsizing is greater. A lifejacket of 150 Newtons or more would have kept Mr Heneault's head above water at all times, it said.

Published in MCIB
The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published its annual canoeing and kayaking report for 2010.
Among 456 incidents involving canoes or kayaks across the UK, which include nine fatalities, many were due to people underestimating weather and tidal conditions.
The report highlighted that many canoe and kayak owners in Britain do not wear essential safety kit such as buoyancy suits or lifejackets, do not include contact details in their craft, and are not a part of the CG66 small boat safety scheme which enables the coastguard to easily identify them.
There have also been increased reports of kayakers getting into difficulty which turn out to be kayakers fishing offshore. The MCA urges any kayakers doing so to contact the coastguard to avoid wasted searches.
The report is available to read and download HERE.

The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published its annual canoeing and kayaking report for 2010.

Among 456 incidents involving canoes or kayaks across the UK, which include nine fatalities, many were due to people underestimating weather and tidal conditions.

The report highlighted that many canoe and kayak owners in Britain do not wear essential safety kit such as buoyancy suits or lifejackets, do not include contact details in their craft, and are not a part of the CG66 small boat safety scheme which enables the coastguard to easily identify them.

There have also been increased reports of kayakers getting into difficulty which turn out to be kayakers fishing offshore. The MCA urges any kayakers doing so to contact the coastguard to avoid wasted searches.

The report is available to read and download HERE.

Published in Canoeing
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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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