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Mariners off the South-East Coast of Ireland are advised of subsea cable survey operations currently under way, subject to weather conditions.

The survey was scheduled to begin this past Thursday 26 November and continue for at least eight days and up to two weeks.

It follows a route south-west from the 2m contour at Ballyteige Bay before veering south to the 12-nautical-mile limit.

The DNV-classed wind farm service and survey support vessel Fastnet Pelican (Callsign 2FNX7) is conducting this survey using a multibeam echo sounder and sub bottom profiler as well as a towed array with a sidescan sonar and magnetometer.

The vessel will have active AIS and will display all relevant lights and shapes.

Due to restricted manoeuvrability, other vessels are asked to maintain a distance of at least one nautical mile from the Fastnet Pelican.

Full details of this survey, including all relevant coordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 54 of 2020, a PDF of which can be downloaded below.

Published in Marine Warning

The people of Ireland are being invited to share their views on Irish coastal seascapes.

And the feedback gathered will inform Ireland’s Seascape Character Assessment Report, a key technical study for the National Marine Planning Framework.

The new survey follows an online poll this past summer to help classify and describe the essential character of Ireland’s coastal areas and communities.

The responses gathered have informed a draft assessment on which the Marine Institute is now seeking public input — from today, Wednesday 7 October, to Friday 30 October.

“Seascapes are very much about the relationship between people and place and how humans have settled and interacted in and along our coastline — from the earliest inhabitants on this island right up to today,” said Caitríona Nic Aonghusa, manager of marine spatial planning at the Marine Institute.

“By identifying, classifying and describing our seascape character in a holistic way, we can provide a baseline to better inform the planning and management of our seascapes.”

In addition to the public survey, a series of online workshops will be held for those interested in further discussion of the draft assessment.

These will take place next week, on Monday 12 October from 2pm–3pm and Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 October from 8pm–9pm. To attend any of these online workshops, email [email protected]

And to celebrate and raise awareness of International Landscape Day on Tuesday 20 October, the Marine Institute is also encouraging people across the island of Ireland to share photographs of seascapes on social media.

Post your photos of Ireland’s seascapes on that date on social media with #IrishSeascapes and tag the Marine Institute on Twitter or Facebook.

Published in Coastal Notes

Iceland has selected Galway as the European landing location for international telecommunications cables.

Farice, a company fully owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It has been undertaking preparatory work for a new submarine fibre cable from Iceland to Europe since early 2019.

A survey ship named Ridley is now exploring suitable seabed approaches from Galway out to the boundary of the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The 58-metre Ridley Thomas (IMO: 8112744) is a Research/Survey Vessel built in 1981The 58-metre Ridley Thomas (IMO: 8112744) is a Research/Survey Vessel built in 1981

Farice chief executive officer Thorvardur Sveinsson said that “after careful consideration of many factors, Galway was selected by Farice as the European cable landing location”.

“The Icelandic landing site will be on the Reykjanes peninsula with the final location to be decided during the winter 2020/2021,” he said.

“ This coupled with Galway’s reputation for business, education and hospitality will lead to a win-win situation. The enhanced global activity provided by the system will be a catalyst for attracting high tech business to the city and the regions,” he said.

The company said the project could result in a new submarine fibre cable between Iceland and Ireland becoming operational within two years from financing being secured.

“Ireland has many important attributes that make it attractive as a destination for this new cable from Iceland, over and above the relatively short distance between the two countries,” Mr Sveinsson explained.

A map showing the new cable route between Iceland and Ireland that could be operational within two yearsIreland is at the nexus of new trans-Atlantic connections - A map showing the new cable route between Iceland and Ireland that could be operational within two years

“Ireland is at the nexus of new trans-Atlantic connections, is a centre of choice for European operations for many international businesses and has a rich and diverse pool of skilled labour in its workforce. Ireland has thus firmly established itself at the forefront of the development of Europe’s digital infrastructure and as such is an important connection point for a new submarine cable between Iceland and Europe,” he said.

“It is often perceived that international telecommunications are carried out by satellite. This is a common misconception and in reality, the vast majority of global communications is carried on fibre optic cables and particularly sub-sea cables,” he explained.

“The capacity of such cables is quite incredible and a single pair of fibre strands could satisfy the demands of most of Galway city,” he said.

“Due to the very high capacity of modern systems, subsea fibre cables are incredibly small in size (approx. 25mm diameter) and are very fast and non-intrusive to install. The overall benefits greatly outweigh the short-term inconvenience during the installation,” he said.

“The presence of the Farice system landing in Galway will provide direct high capacity links to Iceland but also to Northern Europe via Denmark and the UK and will greatly increase capacity and connectivity in Galway city and the regions,” he added.

The company currently operates the FARICE-1 cable between Iceland and Scotland with a branch connection to the Faroe Islands and the DANICE submarine cable between Iceland and Denmark.

A third submarine cable Greenland-Connect links Iceland to Canada and US. The Icelandic government said the fourth cable would “increase further the security and resiliency of Iceland’s international telecommunications.”

The new cable could cost up to €2 million during the research phase, with the actual laying estimated last year at around 32 million US dollars.

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

A new survey from the Irish Maritime Administration (IMA) of the Department of Transport encourages feedback regarding its communication with stakeholders and service users.

Marine Notices are one method used to communicate important information by the IMA and its divisions, which include the Marine Survey Office, Maritime Transport Division, Maritime Safety Policy Division, Marine Mercantile Office, Maritime Service Division and the Irish Coast Guard.

“The survey is an opportunity for you to provide helpful feedback and will assist the IMA to improve how communicate sand engages with its many and varied stakeholders and service users,” the administration says.

The IMA survey can be found HERE.

Published in News Update

RYA Northern Ireland is calling for women across Northern Ireland to give feedback on its Women on Water programme.

The governing body hopes to find out what boaters want through a development survey, which will help to shape future programmes.

The Women on Water initiative began in 2016, allowing over 500 female participants to get on the water and 12 clubs supporting the programme.

RYA Northern Ireland’s active clubs co-ordinator Lisa McCaffrey said: “To expand the Women on Water programme we want to find out about our boaters aspirations.

“We are calling on as many female boaters as possible to complete the 10-minute survey so that we can find out exactly what will work best.

“The programme has been extremely successful over the last three years and we are now working on progressing Women on Water with the aim of developing our female workforce. We hope to provide a programme that helps support the development of RYA coaches/officials and instructors.

“This is an exciting opportunity to assist our boating community with increasing their skills and qualifications.”

Over the last three years, participants of the Women on Water programme have had many achievements, including:

  • A Women on Water Leader Group who organise and run a Women on Water Festival and help to support the development of the programme at clubs across Northern Ireland.
  • At Strangford Lough Yacht Club, six women completed the Women on Water programme in June 2018 and went on to win the regatta series at their club in the same year.
  • Two Women on Water graduates were due to take part in their first GP14 class World Championship in 2020.
  • One participant is going on to become an Advanced Powerboat Instructor.
  • Many of the graduates regularly volunteer at their clubs on committees, as well as being race officials and providing event support.

McCaffrey added: “RYA Northern Ireland is asking for any female that is involved in boating in Northern Ireland to take part in the survey, whether you have been a lifelong boater, completed a Women on Water programme since 2016 or a sailing course, we want to hear from you.”

Click HERE to complete the Women on Water survey for RYANI.

Tagged under

A new online survey aims to deepen our understanding of Ireland’s ‘seascapes’.

Commissioned by the Marine Institute, the survey seeks responses from the public that will help identify classify and describe Ireland’s the essential character of Ireland’s coastal areas and communities.

The end results, including a final report and maps, will support the implementation of the National Marine Planning Framework.

“Seascapes are an important part of our sense of identity and culture,” the Marine Institute says. “Our experience of the character of seascapes includes coastal and marine history, folklore, art, nature and recreational and commercial activities that take place on and close to the sea.

“Seascapes can also include views from land to sea, from sea to land and along the coastline. When we describe seascape character, we are essentially talking about a sense of place — what makes one part of our sea and coast distinctive and different from another?

“Often this relates to natural influences such as the rock type, depth of sea and coastline, the force of the sea and how humans have settled and interacted in and along our seascapes – from the earliest inhabitants on this island right up to today.”

Minogue and Associates have been commissioned to carry out the study and get a better understanding of how Irish people value the coast and seas.

The short online survey aims to capture thoughts and comments about the seascapes that you are familiar with, and asks you to indicate on a map where these are. The survey is completely anonymous and the information will be used only to identify draft Seascape Character Areas.

Additionally, the research team hopes to facilitate small, online group-based discussions on the draft areas over the month of July, using online resources. Register your interest (name/interest/organisation) by emailing [email protected]

Published in Coastal Notes

The first and second leg of 2020’s Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey will be carried out from next weekend off the West, South West and South Coasts of Ireland by the Marine Institute, in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations.

As with previous years, IAMS 2020 — which will run from Sunday 23 February to Wednesday 18 March — is a demersal trawl survey consisting of approximately 110 otter trawls (60 minutes) in ICES areas 7b, 7c, 7g, 7h, 7j and 7k.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign: EIGB) which will be towing a Jackson demersal trawl during fishing operations and will display appropriate lights and signals.

Commercial fishing and other marine operators are requested to keep a three-nautical-mile radius area around the tow points (indicated below) clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period outlined above.

Further details of the survey, including co-ordinates of the survey stations, are included in Marine Notice No 07 of 2020, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

IAMS 2020 survey stations

Published in Fishing

There has been a 'positive' response to a company survey according to the Isle of Man Steam Packet.

As Manx Radio reports, more than 7,000 people took part after it was launched at the end of last month.

The Company is trying to gain a better understanding of passenger views on travel services and on-board facilities.

Results from the survey will be taken into account during the design of a new vessel, which is due to replace the Ben-my-Chree over the next 2-3 years.

Published in Ferry

Keen to encourage more people of all ages to discover and enjoy angling as a sport and pastime, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is looking to gather the views of the public around fishing via an online survey.

IFI says its findings will help inform a Novice Angler Strategy which will aim to increase participation across all types of angling.

The survey looks to discover the barriers novice anglers could experience when it comes to fishing, and to find out their perceptions and experiences of fishing to date.

It also will survey existing anglers around the type of fishing they practice and examine how angling clubs recruit and interact with novice anglers.

“We know that there are fewer people fishing than there were in previous decades and we want to find out why and how we can interest them in this lifelong hobby,” says Suszanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development.

“Fishing is a sport which is suitable for all ages and abilities. In today’s society, outdoor recreational activities are more important than ever from a health and well-being perspective, and in Ireland we are uniquely placed with the breadth and quality of our fisheries resource which is available to all to enjoy.

“The information and views of the public are very important to us and will help to make angling better for everyone.”

The online questionnaire takes only around 15 minutes to complete, and all who take part will be in with a chance of winning one of three €50 vouchers for fishing equipment.

Published in Angling

The Marine Institute’s Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS) department will undertake a survey of herring off the West and North West Coasts from 1-10 December.

This survey is the fourth in a time series that is hoped will be developed into a long-term index of spawning/pre-spawning herring in ICES area 6a S/7b, for use in stock assessments in the future.

The overall 6a survey (6a N and 6a S/7b) is part of a collaborative partnership between Ireland, the Netherlands and UK (Scotland) that aims to improve understanding of the individual stock components of herring in 6a and 7b.

Next month’s survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Voyager (callsign EIQN) using a towed body with two split-beam transducers (38 kHz and 120 kHz). The vessel will be trackable online during the survey.

In total around 1,100 nautical miles of cruise track will be undertaken with a mixture of parallel (spaced at 7.5 and 3.5 nm) and zig-zag transects. The vessel will display appropriate lights and signals.

Night operations will involve the towing of the two split-beam transducer. Fishing will take place opportunistically during daylight hours.

Contact details and co-ordinates of the relevant survey areas are included in Marine Notice No 50 of 2019, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Fishing
Page 1 of 7

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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