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Displaying items by tag: Sprat

If Fungie or any similar solo bottle-nosed dolphin had a notion to settle in an Irish harbour, they could be in stiff competition for feeding on sprat and juvenile herring.

As The Irish Examiner reports today, there is mounting concern on certain parts of the coast over the environmental impact of a small number of larger Irish-registered fishing vessels working within the six nautical mile limit.

“If we are going to take the forage fish, what is left?” Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) co-ordinator Dr Simon Berrow says.

“Catching sprat, which is a short-lived fish, and selling it for fishmeal is a race to the very bottom of the food chain,” Dr Berrow says. 

His group has called for a moratorium on sprat fishing pending further scientific research. 

Independent TD for Galway West Catherine Connolly has also called for a ban on “unsustainable fishing for sprat” 

Inshore fishingInshore sprat fishing off Atlantic coasts Photo: National Inshore Fishermen's Association

It is understood that the State’s Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has been alerted to the activities of several large vessels which are legally engaged in fishing for species like sprat and juvenile herring which marine mammals depend on.

A groundbreaking ban on trawling or seine fishing by vessels over 18 metres of length inside six nautical miles, introduced by former marine minister Michael Creed, was recently overturned as a result of a High Court judicial review.

Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue recently confirmed he is appealing the High Court ruling.

While welcoming the minister’s move, the National Inshore Fishermen’s Association (NIFA) and National Inshore Fishermen’s Organisation have both called for an interim “stay order” which would retain the ban, pending the outcome of the appeal.

NIFA member Michael Foley, a third-generation inshore sprat fisherman from Wexford, said that each year is more and more challenging for the inshore fleet. 

Mr Foley (52) pair trawls for sprat on his 13m Western Dawn with another similar-sized vessel.

“When I began fishing 37 years ago, there were small boats in every port, but now all you have is a handful of boats on pots,” he said.

The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation representing 53 vessels said it believed the process used by the minister Michael Creed for the initial inshore ban was “fundamentally flawed” and its view had been vindicated by the High Court.

It said it would continue to offer its services to the new minister to see if more research should be carried out by the Marine Institute and if a draft management plan for sprat was required.

A Marine Institute study on the impact of inshore fishing found that vessels over 18m in length spend two per cent of their trawling effort inside six nautical miles.

Read more in The Irish Examiner here

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#IrishHarbours - Concerns expressed by a number of readers to Afloat.ie over fishing activity in Dun Laoghaire's inner harbour have been assuaged by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.

Two trawlers were spotted around noon last Friday (4 December) dragging a full-sized fishing net between them around the inner harbour.

But Dun Laoghaire's acting harbour master Simon Coate has since confirmed to Afloat.ie that the boats in question were fishing with permission for sprat.

Coate added that the forage fish species comes into the harbour in large numbers on a regular basis at this time of year.

Harbour concerns of a different kind have been heard in Howth, with local TD Tommy Broughan taking the Department of the Marine to task over the lack of any timetable or specific funding for dredging the harbour area - where local yacht club users have found conditions getting worse.

In a post on his website, Deputy Broughan said he was "contacted by members of the Howth Harbour Users Action Group who are very concerned about the build-up of silt in the harbour and the damaging effect this is having on all aspects of this important harbour.

"Howth Harbour has not been dredged for decades. I understand it was last dredged in 1981 or 1982 and I do not recall a dredging programme in the harbour in many years representing the area.

"The action group reports that this neglect has led to almost 6ft of silt building up in the harbour and an operational crisis for all the fishing and leisure craft which use it."

While welcoming investment in infrastructural works at the fishery harbour centre, Deputy Broughan underlines that it is "critical that the harbour does not become unworkable as a result of the build-up of silt".

Read more on this story HERE.

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