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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) education and outreach team have been working with Foróige to get young people angling with the Go Fishing programme.

Due to the latest public health-related restrictions on gatherings, the programme has now evolved into a “blended learning experience” that consists of a weekly online course over four weeks, followed by a local fishing trip.

Participants learn about Ireland’s inland fisheries and the benefits of angling, the biodiversity of our waterways, becoming a steward of our waterways and the environment, and the basics of angling.

IFI says the programme has been piloted with a number of Foróige groups nationwide since July. One of these was in Donegal, where a local Foróige group was taken shore fishing at Buncrana beach on Thursday 27 August.

The young participants learned how to set up a beach casting rod, attach a rig using the improved clinch knot, how to bait up using mackerel, razorfish, lug worm and use bait elastic.

The weather was reportedly “perfect for fishing” and the young anglers caught a number of dogfish. They went home at the end of the day with goodie bags and certificates of awareness having completed their course.

Foróige youth worker Orla Taylor says the IFI sessions were presented “in an engaging and well organised way, telling stories of catches and experiences they have had. This made it very real for the young people.

“The group loved the experience and are looking forward to trying more fishing.”

The online programme is designed for young people aged 12–17. Group numbers for the fishing trip are always in line with the prevailing public health advice, but up to 20 can partake in the online course.

With consideration of the current situation, all fishing field trips will now take place in 2021.

Lorraine O’Donnell, education and outreach officer at IFI, says: “We are delighted to now be able to offer an online course as part of the Go Fishing initiative.

“Being able to offer the course in an online capacity keeps the programme accessible at the current time and also means we are able to offer the programme to organisations like Foróige.

“We would like to invite any youth groups that would be interested in taking part in the new online course to please email [email protected] for more information.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland have been selected as joint winners of the Best Consultancy Partnership gong in the 2020 National Training Awards.

The award was given to IFI and the International Centre for Security Excellence (ICSE) for a QQI Level 6 conflict management course that both worked in collaboration to deliver to most of IFI’s operations staff in late 2018 and 2019.

IFI’s HR chief Roisin Bradley said: “Our operations staff work day and night in the field to protect and manage our fisheries resource. To support our staff to carry out vital work we must ensure they have the correct measures and training to enable them to work in a safe environment.

“This collaborative project between IFI and ICSE has been successful and the feedback from staff has been very positive. We are looking forward and excited to see where this journey takes us.

“I would like to congratulate our health and safety/accessibility officer Michael Cusack; Pia Fennell, our learning and organisational development manager; Sonia Peter, our HR officer; all the staff that helped along the way and the team at ICSE who created and managed the training and the process of rolling it out to staff.

“It is of utmost importance to IFI that staff can carry out the work that is necessary to protect our fisheries resource in the safest way possible.”

Tony O’Brien of ICSE added: “In my view all of the credit for this programme has to go the fisheries officers nationally who made it a success. It was a programme built by fisheries officers for their colleagues and the judges commented on the real desire by the teams to make their job better.

“The programme was successful because of the support, buy in and feedback from fisheries officers nationwide. Their hospitality and willingness to show us the challenges they face and their desire to overcome them set the tone for the whole programme.”

The National Training Awards are organised by the Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD).

Published in Angling

Anecdotal evidence suggests that coronavirus restrictions have been a boost to wild Atlantic salmon returns in Irish rivers this year, as SeafoodSource reports.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is awaiting official data to support the suggestion that decreased predation over the last six months has allowed more wild salmon to cross the Atlantic and spawn in Irish rivers.

However, even with this potential boost, the overall trend for wild salmon numbers in Ireland is one of decline — the commercial fishery seeing a 35% drop between 2007 and 2019, while rod-and-line angling catches are down 2.4% year on year over the last two decades.

SeafoodSource has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

A new funding scheme to support novice anglers of all ages and backgrounds is now open for applications.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says the €120,000 ‘Angling for All’ fund will contribute between €2,000 and €5,000 for each qualifying project aimed at getting young and novice anglers involved in the sport and pastime.

Applications are invited from all angling clubs within the Republic of Ireland as well as angling representative bodies, local community groups and not-for-profits, and both existing and planned Angling For Youth Development Ireland (AFYDI) hubs.

“Angling is not just a sport; it can offer young people new experiences and opportunities,” says IFI’s Suzanne Campion. “It can also help develop a young person’s skills, self-confidence and motivation whilst promoting physical exercise and good health.”

The closing date is Tuesday 13 October and all applications must be submitted via the IFI website.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, IFI is also currently inviting submissions for its new Novice Angling Strategy, titled ‘Let’s Fish’, which is aimed at growing angling participation nationwide.

Published in Angling

The board of Inland Fisheries Ireland has announced the appointment of Francis O’Donnell to the position of chief executive officer.

O’Donnell is currently director of the Western River Basin District. He will take up his new position in the coming weeks.

Prior to rejoining the inland fisheries service, O’Donnell was the CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation. He has also worked with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010.

Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource.

IFI promotes supports, facilitates and advises the minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. It also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the minister on same.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is inviting submissions for its new Novice Angling Strategy, titled ‘Let’s Fish’, which is aimed at growing participation in the sport and pastime.

Based on a series of consultations last year with anglers, angling clubs and representative groups, as well as non-anglers, the draft strategy is currently under going environmental assessments.

In the meantime, the State agency responsible for Ireland’s inland fisheries is seeking input from its stakeholders regarding the main barriers to increasing angling participation, and how its vision — “All fishing together” — can be achieved between now and 2025.

“The social and economic value of angling in Ireland is significant; over 270,000 people identify themselves as anglers,” says IFI’s Suzanne Campion.

“The Let’s Fish strategy will work to connect people to angling and the environment and make it accessible to everyone.”

All members of the public are also invited to share their input into the Novice Angling Strategy on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

Six young poets have been selected as winners of the ‘Let’s fish’ national poetry competition which took place earlier this summer.

The contest was organised by Inland Fisheries Ireland in conjunction with the Blackrock Education Centre, to keep pupils engaged while out of the classroom during coronavirus restrictions.

Entries were received from across Ireland under the title ‘Let’s fish’, with pupils encouraged to research the Something Fishy online resource and asked to write a five-line poem on the topic.

And the poems revealed how much fish and fishing means to our younger generation, IFI says.

In the Fifth Class category, Oran from CBS Primary School in Dundalk took first prize, followed by Ethan of Scoil Naomh Buithe in Monasterboice, Co Louth and Philip of Scoil Réalt na Mara in Tuosist, Co Kerry.

Meanwhile, Millie of St Patrick’s NS in Greystones, Co Wicklow placed first in the Sixth Class category, while second prize went to Leah of Sion Mills Primary School in Co Tyrone and third to Dara from Scoil Phadraig in Westport.

IFI says it will share the winning entries across its social media platforms over the coming weeks.

Published in Angling

Invasive chub have been confirmed in the River Inny in Longford, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

A single fish was caught on rod and line at one of a number of spots where IFI staff recorded possible sightings following reports from members of the public.

Chub (Squalius cephalus) are non-native to Ireland, with the potential to compete with native species for food and space as well as be a carrier of fish diseases and parasites.

The River Inny — a tributary of the Shannon — is the only Irish river in which they have been recorded thus far, and removal operations between 2006 and 2010 were thought to have eradicated the species from the system.

It is not yet clear whether the current chub are linked to the original population or were more recently introduced.

However, the threat of chub spreading through the Shannon system “is of real and pending concern to the biodiversity of Ireland’s biggest catchment”, says the fisheries body.

IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher explained: “Ireland’s rivers are ecologically important ecosystems, which support significant recreational fisheries for native and established fish species.

“Non-native fish species threaten these ecosystems and the game and coarse fisheries that they support — potentially in unforeseen ways — and are thus a cause for concern.”

IFI appeals to anglers to protect Ireland’s fisheries by not moving fish between watercourses for any reason and to submit any sightings directly to IFI or on the hotline at 1850 347424 or 1850 FISH24.

Published in Marine Wildlife

A firearm was discharged by alleged offenders as fisheries officers responded to reports of an illegal net on the upper tidal River Suir late last month.

Nobody was injured in the incident as Inland Fisheries Ireland officers seized a boat, net and nine wild salmon near Carrick-on-Suir during a routine patrol on the night of Tuesday 28 July.

Gardai attended the scene and the matter is being investigated, the fisheries body adds.

IFI director David McInerney said: “The salmon caught by this illegal net were on the final leg of an arduous journey to reach their native spawning rivers.

“The fish were fresh in from the sea, having survived a journey from either the coastal waters off west Greenland or the Faroe Island, before being cruelly killed by an illegal net, a few miles from their final destination.

“It cannot be stressed enough that nobody should purchase wild salmon that does not carry either a green or white gill tag through the mouth and gill clearly displaying the name Inland Fisheries Ireland.

“I would like to highlight the dedication and courage demonstrated by the officers in tackling illegal fishing in the face of significant personal danger.”

Published in Fishing

Two men have pleaded guilty on charges relating to illegal net fishing at Broadmeadow Estuary in Malahide, Co Dublin.

On Tuesday 28 July, Maxim Loan and Gheorgie Pingica appeared before Judge Bernadette Owens at Swords District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation at Broadmeadow Estuary on 5 August last year.

Fisheries officers from the Dublin District of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said that on the night in question, surveillance was carried out on a net that had been staked in the estuary.

Later that night, IFI officers observed two individuals retrieving and servicing a net and placing it in a vehicle.

Officers carried out a search and seized a net 68 meters long which contained mullet and flounder, and the men were apprehended.

Judge Owens convicted Loan and Pingica under Section 102 of Fisheries Amendment Act and imposed fines totalling €1,000, and awarded costs to IFI of €1,814.

Brian Beckett, director of IFI’s Eastern River Basin District, said: “Our officers enforce fisheries laws in both covert and non-covert operations dedicating significant surveillance man-hours in the protection of our valuable fish populations.

“Illegal nets are very damaging to vulnerable estuary fish stocks including salmon, sea trout, bass and mullet along the East Coast. This conviction highlights the persistent issue of illegal net fishing which is a serious environmental crime and will not be tolerated.”

Published in Angling
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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