Displaying items by tag: fisheries
#Angling - Proper management of farm watercourses – whether large rivers or small streams – is critical to ensuring high levels of biodiversity, according to a new leaflet jointly produced by Teagasc and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).
Speaking at the launch of Minding our Watercourses last week, Catherine Keena, countryside management specialist with Teagasc, emphasised the importance of farming in harmony with nature and biodiversity.
“The marketing of Irish farm produce relies on our ‘green’ environmental image," she said. "Watercourses contribute significantly to biodiversity, often being the most valuable habitat on the farm.”
IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne acknowledged the important role of farmers in the management of watercourses. “Smaller streams, even where no fish are apparent, are critical to the biodiversity of the catchment," he added.
There are 29 species of freshwater fish found in Ireland's waterways, with 14 native species present since the last Ice Age.
The leaflet shows there are different places for different species and life stages within watercourses: salmon and trout spawn on gravels in winter; lamprey spawn on gravels in late spring and summer; coarse fish lay their eggs in weedy parts of the channel; salmon and trout use riffles in the first year and move to deeper water as they grow larger; and juvenile lamprey live buried in silty margins of watercourses.
The new leaflet details best practice management of watercourses. Fencing and providing an alternative source of water is recommended as this avoids damage to the river bank and bed, reduces siltation, prevents fouling with pathogens and prevents the escape of nitrogen and phosphate.
Allowing native trees to grow along watercourses stabilises banks, creates a natural buffer zone, provides valuable habitat for flora and fauna, controls in-stream temperature and weed growth and provides shade and shelter for livestock. Buffer strips alongside watercourses intercept silt, nutrients and improve bank stability.
Farmers are reminded to watch out for and report invasive plant species which smother out smaller native species, which die back to leave large bare areas in winter, resulting in soil erosion.
Fish and their spawning grounds are protected under the Fisheries Acts (1959-2010). In-stream works should not be carried out without prior consultation and the approval of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
If maintaining watercourses, the advice is not to disturb the non-working bank slope; retain vegetation at the water’s edge; leave the working bank slope intact; remove vegetation and silt material from the open channel only; not to remove stone or gravel place spoil along the bank outside the bank-full line, spreading thinly; and leave a buffer of 20 metres at the downside end of a drain to act as a silt trap.
#seafisheries – The impact of commercial fishing in more than 11,500 square kilometres (7,000 square miles) of English coastal waters is being reviewed to make sure that habitats and species are not damaged by fishing.
This area for further assessment covers about one-third of the sea within six miles of English beaches where there are 89 separate European maritime sites (EMS) protected under European Union law from damage caused by existing or future fishing.
Rob Clark, chief officer of the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (SIFCA) said today (October 7) that the revised approach to the management of commercial fishing within these maritime sites would ensure EU rules are fully met and inshore fisheries are sustainable.
"Building on existing management measures will ensure that all existing and potential commercial fishing is subject to an assessment of their impact on the sites," he told the annual conference of the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) in Liverpool.
Revised management rules would meet EU directives which called for seabed habitats and species in them to be restored to a "favourable conservation status" and for activities which would "significantly disturb or deteriorate them" to be prohibited.
An existing matrix-type approach showing the effect of fishing gears on conservation objectives is being used to enable regulators to decide if priority management measures should be introduced to protect a site, or whether further assessment was necessary.
Fishing activities have been classified as red, amber, green or blue according to the potential or actual impact of fishing gear on a site.
IFCAs have already introduced byelaws restricting potentially damaging fishing from some 5,680 square kilometres of the most important near shore areas classified as red risks, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) expects measures to address amber risks to be in place by 2016.
Mr. Clark said there was still a significant amount of work to be done by the 10 IFCAs and their partners covering the whole English coast, to deliver the government's commitments for lower risk fishing activities in these areas.
Amber risks would be at sites where there was doubt whether conservation objectives would be achieved because of its sensitivity to a type of fishing. The effect of that activity would need to be assessed at each site affected and management action taken based on the assessment.
#inshorefisheries – Following the launch of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) earlier this year by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. and the recent agreement on the terms of reference for the forum; BIM are now seeking members to take part in the Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs). Each RIFF will feed into the National Inshore Fisheries Forum and will link with the existing infrastructure of the Fisheries Local Action Groups or FLAG's programme. There are six FLAG's established in coastal regions around Ireland.
The RIFFs will comprise of no more than 12 members.
A minimum of 8 members will represent the inshore fisheries sector and will be appointed on the basis of:
their ability to represent the views of the inshore sector
their knowledge of inshore fisheries, fish stocks, and fishing methods, and
their capacity to engage on fisheries management issues.
In addition, the FLAG will aim to ensure that the membership is representative of the FLAG region's geographical coverage and the characteristics of the region's inshore fleet and fisheries. Applicants must demonstrate support within their respective sector for their nomination to a forum. The balance of the membership will include stakeholders from marine sectors other than fisheries, such as seafood processing/sales, marine leisure, marine tourism, environmental NGOs and community organisations.
Should the FLAGs consider a sector or area is lacking in representation the FLAG reserves the right to approach appropriate individuals or organisations to seek members.
If you are interested in applying for membership of the RIFFs, please e-mail Caroline Curraoin in BIM [email protected] or send your application by post to FLAG Co-ordinator, BIM, , P.O. Box 12, Crofton Rd., Dun Laoghaire , Co. Dublin. Full details on the terms of reference for the National Inshore Fisheries Forum are available on www.bim.ie
The closing date for all applications is Friday, 29th August 2014.
#Angling - More than €400,000 has been made available to conserve and develop Ireland's inland fisheries resource by Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd, as he announced the opening of applications for the 2014 Salmon Conservation Fund(SCF), Midland Fisheries Fund (MFF) and new Co-op Funds.
The three Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) schemes facilitate clubs, fishery owners, commercial salmon fishers and other organisations to undertake works to improve habitat, stocks, access, invasive species management, angling, etc under its supervision and direction.
IFI says these works are important in maintaining and improving capacity within the inland fisheries resource which is estimated to contribute €755 million annually to the Irish economy.
Announcing the schemes, Minister O’ Dowd said: "The inland fisheries sector is fortunate to have such an engaged stakeholder cohort and I am pleased to be able to support IFI in making these funds available to them to allow for ground up, managed sustainable development.
"Unfortunately the Co-op Funds Scheme is only a once-off opportunity, while the other funds will have to be reviewed on an annual basis.
"I encourage all those interested in fisheries to investigate the possibilities under the various schemes to conserve, develop and promote the resources in their care for the betterment of angling, the inland fisheries resource itself and Ireland's economy."
The new Co-op Funds, which will be available for 2014 only, comprise the various funds remitted to IFI on the dissolution of the Trout and Coarse Fish Development Societies. The funds will be distributed back to the regions from which they came. A total of €160,000 is available, with over €130,000 specifically for the old Southern Regional Fisheries Board area.
The Salmon Conservation Scheme is now seven years in existence and has allocated funding to 145 salmon projects all around Ireland. A total of €200,000 is available for distribution under the scheme in 2014.
The Midland Fisheries Fund, which ran as a pilot scheme in 2013, has seen nine projects undertaken in the midland area developing angling resources, supporting scientific research and conserving fisheries habitat. A further €50,000 is available under this scheme for 2014.
#fisheries – The Government has issued a statement on the proposed new Inland Fisheries Bill. The Minister of State, Fergus O'Dowd, along with representatives from the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) recently briefed Oireachtas members on the comprehensive review of all extant fisheries legislation that is currently taking place.
This review is being undertaken with a view to formulating proposals for a new Inland Fisheries Bill. The aim of the proposed new Bill is to ensure that the sector is underpinned by a robust and modern legislative code.
The consultation process began last Spring when stakeholders were invited to submit their views on a range of policy objectives to be included in the new Bill. As part of this process Minister O'Dowd, DCENR and IFI attended a number of well attended public information meeting held throughout the country.
The Minister and officials from DCENR and IFI set out possible proposals that might be contained in the new draft Bill and invited all stakeholders to make submissions as regards proposals they would like to see included.
As part of the consultation process 70 submissions were received from interested stakeholders, a significant proportion of which recognised the need to fund the development of the sector.
The briefing for Oireachtas members was arranged to address concerns voiced in the public domain and on social media, specifically those centering around the proposed funding of the development of the angling sector.
It was made clear that no proposal relating to the possible introduction of a "rod licence" had been surfaced and that it is not intended to make such a proposal.
The Minister, DCENR and IFI welcome all proposals for developing the angling sector in Ireland and how this may be funded. In this regard, it is intended that further comprehensive stakeholder consultation will take place prior to any finalisation of the proposed Inland Fisheries Bill.
Please find attached a non-exhaustive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, which is to address the issues which have been raised publicly by stakeholders.
#fisheries – Following a recent meeting with the Environment Agency (EA) the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) has highlighted the importance of the agency employing a strong body of fisheries professionals. The institute says this will enable the agency to deliver its statutory duty to maintain, improve and develop the nation's freshwater and inshore fisheries and to meet the needs of fishing rod licence holders.
The meeting was one of several under the heading of 'Refresh' which the agency has held with stakeholders following a year-long review of its fisheries service.
The IFM is concerned that with a gradual loss over time of expertise, direction and managerial support, the EA's fisheries function is now inadequately resourced and lacks technical vigour and leadership.
"Healthy fisheries are a barometer of how we are interacting with the water environment and we applaud the agency for reviewing its fisheries service," said John Gregory, executive officer of the IFM.
"Clearly the agency's directors have recognised inherent problems in the fisheries function and are looking to improve it."
The IFM asks the Environment Agency:
1. To strengthen its commitment to fisheries in its 2015-2020 corporate plan so that it can maintain, improve and develop fisheries for all.
2. To strengthen its regional fisheries leadership.
3. To support a more robust programme of skills development for its fisheries professionals.
4. To ensure a strong service to rod licence holders particularly by investing in still waters, and
5. To ensure that wherever possible, fisheries management decisions are based on sound science.
#MarineScience - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and University College Dublin (UCD) jointly sealed a Memorandum of Understanding at UCD’s Ardmore House on Monday 7 October expressing their commitment to a continued rich and productive liaison in research.
Over the past 50 years, scientists from UCD and the fisheries service have worked in collaboration in producing research that has covered an extraordinary range of projects – from aquatic plant to macro-invertebrate and fish stock studies.
In recent years the boundaries have expanded even further with collaborative micro-satellite DNA studies of fish stocks being undertaken.
“With the current limited public purse, this agreement will ensure a greater degree of symbiosis between these two organisations resulting in increased productivity, avoidance of duplication and strategically focused research,” said Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd, who presented both bodies with commemorative plaques to mark the occasion.
“It is my hope that this academic research, when coupled with applied research and practical application, will serve to increase our understanding on the inland fisheries resource though the use of novel technologies like DNA, environmental DNA and the development of bio-controls.”
The minister went on to stress the importance of the MOU in providing graduates and postgraduate with exposure to applied science and an opportunity to contribute to our understanding of the freshwater resource and to support its management, conservation and protection.
IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “I am confident that the MOU signed here today will act as an impetus to move forward with future collaboration in development of research techniques and projects to support the conservation and development of the natural resource that is inland fisheries.
“I see a vital role for IFI in supporting the development and education of the next generation of scientists into whose hands the future of this resource will be placed and I wish to acknowledge the great work undertaken by those who have brought us to where we are today – management of fisheries on the basis of sound science.”
Dr Mary Kelly-Quinn of UCD’s School of Biology and Environmental Science added that the MOU “will provide great opportunity for collaborative research with an industry partner. Our students will benefit enormously from unrivalled training in applied research and interaction with senior scientists dealing with emerging issues in aquatic and fisheries science.
“More so than ever before we appreciate the importance of building linkages with industry to ensure that we produce graduates that are able to enter the workforce and contribute to economic recovery through sustainable use of our countries resources.
“Today’s announcement is a step towards a greater goal which sees the development of a Centre for Fisheries Research here in UCD with the support of IFI.”
That's the situation according to the Sunday Independent, which also highlights the "major problem" of salmon poaching by "Irish criminals".
And the Independent says a number of similar cases are due to be heard before Irish courts over the coming months.
Meanwhile, poaching of salmon is hitting the headlines across the country - from the south, where two men were recently prosecuted for illegal fishing of spawning salmon in Co Limerick, to the north, where intimidation of fisheries staff is reportedly a problem.
In better fisheries news, The Guardian says cod stocks in the North Sea could be in for a revival, after a survey by the Marine Stewardship Council and others suggested that effective management could soon see the species certified as 'sustainable'.
#fisheries – This morning the Irish Presidency delivered on one of its highest priorities as it secured agreement on the EU's new Common Fisheries Policy. Minister Coveney, in welcoming the agreement stated that "At the very beginning of Ireland's Presidency I set out an ambitious and demanding work programme, as I believed it was imperative that reform of our fisheries had to happen now. Having led months of intensive negotiations, I am delighted that we have now agreed on a policy which is practical, implementable and one which places sustainability firmly at its core. It is a policy which will provide for a vital, vibrant industry and healthy fishing stock long into the future".
The main achievements under the new Common Fisheries Policy will be as follows:
With the new policy we have to set quotas that fully respect scientific advice. This will lead to healthy fish stocks and higher quotas as fish stocks are managed at maximum sustainable yield levels. From an Irish perspective the so called "Hague Preferences" have been protected which give additional quotas to Ireland each year for critical traditional stocks around our coast such as cod, haddock and whiting.
Discarding of fish stocks will no longer be allowed. This ends the old policy which forced fishermen to waste food by discarding fish at sea. The new policy will result in higher quotas for our fishermen.
The new policy puts fishermen at the core of developing technical and conservation measures to protect juvenile fish and vulnerable fish species with a completely new regionalised decision making approach. This is a big change as up to now decision making was centralised in Brussels.
A commitment to develop and strengthen biologically sensitive areas, with spawning grounds and high populations of juvenile fish. This will protect and allow for
additional protections for the sensitive fishing grounds off the south and west coast of Ireland known as the "Irish Box".
Retains ownership of fish quotas as a public asset and removes the threat of privatisation of quotas and their concentration in large foreign companies. This will protect the family owned fishing vessels around our coast.
On ending discarding, Minister Coveney said "this complex element has been one of the most contentious and difficult to agree given the many different perspectives on how such a ban would work in practice. What we have agreed this morning is to deliver a new fishing policy which strives to help restore our fish stocks and protect the fishermen and communities which depend on fishing for their livelihoods."
The reform, when taken as a whole, delivers on not just a discards ban but also provides the means for new ways of sustainable fishing, a more transparent and competitive market, as well as empowering fishermen by giving them a central role in decision making for their fisheries.
The agreement was reached between the Irish Presidency, European Parliament and the European Commission and will now go to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for final approval.
#MarineScience - Irish companies and researchers have distinguished themselves by developing innovative maritime services using satellite derived data in areas as diverse as marine renewables, fisheries protection, aquaculture and tourism.
That was the message from Dr Volker Liebig, director of Earth observation programmes with the European Space Agency at the opening of a conference on 'Space Innovation - Powering Blue Growth' at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork last week.
Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock, who opened the two-day event, said: “There are over 40 Irish companies currently engaged in ESA programmes, many of which are directly addressing global challenges such as climate change, sea-level rise, maritime surveillance and marine environmental monitoring.
"This is a growing industry and one which will guarantee high-quality jobs for Irish people and benefit our economy into the future.”
The conference - jointly organised by the ESA, the European Commission (DG Maritime Affairs), Enterprise Ireland, University College Cork’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre, the Irish Coast Guard and the Irish Naval Service - focussed on the contribution of space to maritime policy implementation; showed how new scientific results and innovative services assist in achieving targets set by the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (IMP); and assessed how the ESA space development activities and the IMP can contribute to economic growth in Europe.
Geoffrey O’Sullivan, representing Marine Institute CEO Dr Peter Heffernan, said that the conference "ably demonstrated that Space Remote Sensing had a very positive contribution to make towards developing our blue economy.”
Examples given included fisheries management (including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing); environmental assessment; detection of oil spills and harmful algal blooms; site survey for offshore renewable energy and aquaculture platforms; search and rescue; and maritime domain awareness (MDA).
O'Sullivan added that the Conference "validated the SMARTOCEAN (ICT and the Sea) Strategy being promoted by the Marine Institute, in identifying clear opportunities for Irish researchers and SMEs to harness their significant ICT and marine research skills and drawing on 'Big Data' provided by satellite sensors to develop of range of new products, services and applications relevant to local and global markets.”
Closing the conference, Marine Minister Simon Coveney commented that “increasing maritime situational and domain awareness is paramount in promoting a more inclusive approach to maritime development in delivering both the EU Blue Growth Strategy (2012) and Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan (Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth) launched in 2012.
"Space based systems,” he said, “are a key component of an integrated and sophisticated maritime surveillance network.”