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Displaying items by tag: Sea Trout

The hospitality industry and general public alike have been reminded not to purchase illegally caught salmon or sea trout after illicit nets were seized on a fishing boat off Cork last week.

Fisheries protection officers with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) boarded the vessel off the Cork coast last Monday 13 July on which they seized 98kg of salmon and 256 metres of illegal net.

IFI notes that the incident was one of several that took place earlier this month, with similar seizures in Donegal and Mayo.

“The risk of targeted netting of salmon at sea remains the highest priority for our protection staff, who have seized 15 nets in the South Western River Basin region so far this season,” said IFI’s deputy chief executive Dr Greg Forde.

Only salmon or sea trout that have been caught by licensed commercial salmon fishermen may be sold to the public and hospitality industry, and must bear a colour coded green or white gill tag — or for wild imported salmon, a yellow tail tag.

Anglers are prohibited from selling any salmon or sea trout caught by rod and line. In addition, rod-caught salmon must have a blue tag affixed, IFI added.

Fisheries officers carry out regular inspections of premises to deter the illegal trade of salmon and sea trout. Reports of suspected illegal activity can also be made directly to IFI staff or on the confidential hotline at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

Published in Fishing

Licences for salmon and sea trout angling for the 2020 season can now be purchased online along with log books and gill tags, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced.

Licence fees remain the same across all classes including those for juvenile anglers. An annual licence covering all districts costs €100 (€10 for juveniles under 18 years), while licences for single districts are €56 for the year, €40 for 21 days and €20 for a single day. Licences for the Foyle Area Extension are €80.

Anglers are legally required to be in possession of a licence when fishing for salmon or sea trout.

Licences should be purchased online by next Wednesday 18 of December to allow time for delivery before Christmas and the New Year. IFI cannot guarantee dispatch in advance of the holidays due to postage deadlines.

Online licences can also be acquired directly from your local IFI office or approved online licence sales distributors.

Angling licences other than online sales will be available to purchase in approved licence sales distributors from the end of December or early January.

IFI also reminds all salmon and sea trout anglers to return their 2019 angling logbook and unused gill tags as soon as possible, even if there is no catch recorded.

These returns will provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks for the future.

Anglers are asked to use the business return envelope which was supplied at the time of license purchase. In the absence of the prepaid return envelope, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office address on their licence/logbook.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recently commenced a comprehensive sea trout assessment and monitoring programme in the Lough Currane catchment in Kerry.

The project, called Currane STAMP, aims to identify potential factors contributing to the apparent decline of sea trout populations in the area in recent years.

It follows reports from anglers of reduced catches and is funded by IFI through its Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund.

Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for inland fisheries, said: “The Currane system is an internationally renowned angling hotspot for salmon and sea trout and hosts some of the longest lived and largest sea trout found in Ireland.

“However, recent indications from angler rod catch reports suggest declines in sea trout populations in the system and I support Inland Fisheries Ireland’s attempts to get to the bottom of these developments.”

The Currane project is one of 25 across 16 counties which have been awarded funding by IFI through its National Strategy for Angling Development.

The organisation today (Thursday 5 December) announced funding of €1 million for fisheries conservation, protection and education initiatives and for projects which will give the public greater access to fishing sites around the country.

In total, €242,900 has been awarded to the research project on the Currane — €55,800 in 2018 and a further €187,000 in this latest funding call.

A separate initiative at Scartleigh Weir near Listowel will also receive €6,000 to support the provision of CCTV equipment to monitor illegal poaching activity in the area.

As part of the programme on the Currane, researchers will use a combination of traditional and novel research techniques to examine important aspects of sea trout ecology throughout their life stages.

‘This project will help to answer key questions related to the apparent decline of trout in the area’

Habitat surveys will map important spawning and nursery areas while electrofishing (a benign technique used to catch fish by stunning them for a short period of time) will be conducted to assess juvenile fish population trends against previous studies in the area.

IFI researchers have already begun tracking the movement of juvenile sea trout tagged with tiny acoustic tags. Acoustic receivers, which record the movement of any tagged sea trout passing within range, have been strategically placed in freshwater in the Currane system and in the sea in Ballinskelligs Bay with a view to uncovering the freshwater movement and inshore migratory routes of sea trout and determining their survival in the marine environment.

The research will be co-ordinated and conducted from Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory in Cahersiveen where IFI research officer Ryan Murray will be based and supported by experienced local fisheries staff.

In addition to the sea trout assessment, the team will also work on a salmon monitoring programme which will aim to determine if population trends between the two species are related or independent.

IFI’s head of R&D Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “This research will collect vital information on sea trout which will ultimately inform management strategies which may be required to combat the possible deterioration of sea trout in the Currane system. I would like to acknowledge the support of Met Éireann for this project and we look forward to working with local anglers on the ground to help establish the status of sea trout populations.”

As part of a citizen science initiative within the programme, IFI will be enlisting the invaluable knowledge and assistance of local anglers to establish current and historical rod catch trends.

Neil O’Shea, a fourth generation Currane ghillie who is supporting the programme, said: “I am looking forward to contributing to the sea trout citizen science component developed by Inland Fisheries Ireland. This project will be important for the sea trout fishery in Currane and will help to answer key questions related to the apparent decline of trout in the area.”

Published in Angling

#Angling - Submissions are now open in a public consultation hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) around a proposed angling bye-law which focuses on the conservation of sea trout and brown trout on the River Bandon.

The new bye-law aims to help conserve the numbers of brown trout of all sizes taken from upstream areas of the river and its tributaries, as well as the numbers of young sea trout taken in the lower river and upper estuary.

There is currently no minimum length size specified when catching and retaining a sea trout or brown trout on the river. In addition, there is no ‘bag limit’ on the number of brown trout an angler can retain.

The new bye-law would set a minimum length of 25 centimetres for any sea trout or any brown trout caught and retained on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries, and a bag limit of not more than three brown trout per day on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries.

The bye-law would also require anglers to fish by catch-and-release methods, ban the use of worms, and allow only single barbless hooks in angling for brown trout once the three per-day bag limit had been reached.

Interested parties should make a submission to the consultation in writing. Submissions should be marked ‘Public consultation – River Bandon (Conservation of Trout)’ and be submitted by post to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Sunnyside House, Macroom, Co Cork, P12 X602 or by email to [email protected]

The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Monday 31 December. All submissions received by IFI will be published on its website at www.fisheriesireland.ie.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Salmon and sea trout anglers are reminded of the importance of returning their 2018 angling logbook and unused gill tags to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

These returns provide vital information and facilitate informed decision-making on Ireland’s wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks, according to the fisheries body.

Anglers are asked to return their logbook as part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, which regulates salmon and sea trout fishing in Ireland and is administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

In accordance with this scheme, anglers are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office once they have finished fishing for the season, or as soon as the season is over at the end of September and no later than the 19 October annually.

Anglers are reminded that they can only retain a maximum of one salmon per day in a fishery with a surplus, provided they still have remaining tags in the month of September.

The return of logbooks and tags can be done via the business return envelope which was supplied at the time of license purchase. In the absence of such an envelope, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office addressed on their licence/logbook.

The records from this year’s angler returns will support management decisions in 2019.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) immediately on landing. They then must enter the details of the catch and gill tag used into their logbook. If the fish is to be released, anglers must also make a catch record in their logbook.

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “As the end of season approaches, we are reminding salmon and sea trout anglers to return their logbooks and unused tags as soon as possible.

“The vast majority of anglers appreciate the importance of their data in terms of the conservation of our precious fisheries resource.”

For more information on the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme and IFI, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie. Any queries in relation to the scheme can be sent to [email protected]

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) would like to remind all salmon and sea trout anglers to submit their 2017 logbook and unused gill tags to the relevant IFI office using the pre-printed envelope supplied at time of purchase.

Your contribution to the management of our wild Atlantic salmon stocks for 2018 is very important. 69% of anglers returned their logbook and unused tags last year.

Licence Returns

For further information click here

Published in Angling
Tagged under

#Angling - Sean Kyne, Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, gives statutory notice of his intention to make the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 to provide for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery by Inland Fisheries Ireland from 1 January 2018.

A copy of the draft regulations is open for public inspection at the offices of the department in Cavan and also at the offices of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Any person may submit observations and.or objections to the draft regulations at any time during the period of 30 days concluding Thursday 14 December either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the following address:

Inland Fisheries Division
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment,
Elm House,
Earlsvale Road,
Cavan Town
H12 A8H7
Ireland
Tel (01) 6783071 / Lo-call 1890 449900 Ext 3071

Note that rates charged for the use of the 1890 number may vary between service providers.

All submissions received will be published on the department’s website following the conclusion of the consultation period.

Published in Angling

#Angling - An angling bye-law focusing on salmon and sea trout has come into effect for Burrishoole, Co Mayo.

Sean Kyne, Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, introduced the Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout Shramore (Burrishoole)(Catch and Release) Bye Law No 951 into operation on Tuesday 13 June.

The new bye-law provides for catch and release angling for salmon and sea trout over 40cm in length in the Shramore (Burrishoole) system, and applies to Lough Furnace and the Seven Arch Bridge on the L5435 (old Newport Road). 

Operative from Wednesday 14 June till Saturday 30 September, the bye-law and provides for the use of single barbless hooks while prohibiting the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout.

‘Catch and release’ angling refers to the method of carefully handling any fish caught and immediately returning the fish alive to the water. This form of angling has a significant positive impact on the survival rate of released fish. 

In addition, salmon and sea trout caught by fly fishing using single barbless hooks have a greater chance of survival than fish caught on barbed hooks. Barbless hooks do less damage, are easier to remove and reduce handling time which can be an important factor influencing survival.

Salmon and sea trout are some of Ireland’s main wild fish species attracting domestic and overseas anglers alike. Angling contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually and supports upwards of 11,000 jobs which are often in rural communities.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, chief executive of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Our salmon and sea trout stocks are extremely valuable. These new measures at Shramore, Burrishoole, will allow us to introduce a number of important methods which will help us protect these populations into the future.”

Anglers are requested to familiarise themselves the details of the new bye-law, available as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is now inviting submissions from the public on the development of a national sea trout policy.

Sea trout in Ireland, in the context of legislation and management, has traditionally been closely identified with salmon and this consultation process will consider the requirement of establishing a separate identity for sea trout.

The policy will make recommendations which will inform a range of issues including sustainable management of stock and any possible legislative changes that may emerge in the future.

Other areas to be addressed will include protection and conservation (including biodiversity, habitat protection and interactions with aquaculture), stock assessment, and education and promotion.

Sea trout, the migratory form of brown trout, leave freshwater as a juvenile fish typically after two years. They enter marine waters where they feed heavily before returning to freshwater, usually to breed with some components of the population spawning several times over their lifetime.

As a result, the sea trout is a valuable angling fish which occurs in most coastal rivers and inshore waters.

Sea trout has significant economic and cultural importance in Ireland with potential for further development. This is coupled with major concerns about sea trout stock declines in some systems nationally, most particularly along the western seaboard, and requires that future management of sea trout is underpinned by a comprehensive policy.

IFI says it recognises the diverse opinions of stakeholders regarding the future management of sea trout and their fisheries and encourages stakeholder engagement through this public consultation process.

Interested parties are invited to make submissions which will be reviewed and considered by the Sea Trout Policy Group, which comprises of a range of representatives with a broad experience of sea trout within IFI.

“The sea trout is a complex migratory fish frequenting freshwater, estuaries and marine waters,” says IFI chief executive Ciaran Byrne. “The biodiversity, economic and cultural value of this type of fish requires a policy direction to manage this precious resource sustainably and to conserve it into the future.

“This public consultation, and ultimately the policy recommendations which will emerge, will capture stakeholder views and incorporate the broad scope of management issues that will underpin future policy.”

The public consultation period will run for five weeks until Wednesday 12 July. All submissions must be made in writing and will be published on the IFI website. Submissions should be marked ‘Public Consultation – Sea Trout Policy’ and can be submitted to [email protected] or by post to:

Sea Trout Policy
Inland Fisheries Ireland
3044 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Campus
Dublin 24
D24 Y265

Information on the consultation is available from the IFI website or from any IFI office.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland has published a new report called The Celtic Sea Trout Project (CSTP) which addresses significant knowledge gaps around sea trout. This migratory trout has a significant fisheries value however some sea trout fisheries in parts of Ireland and the UK bordering the Irish Sea are suffering decline.

The project, which consisted of a multi-agency partnership investigation into sea trout stocks and fisheries of rivers entering the Irish Sea, aimed to address the knowledge gaps, and identify the causes of decline with a view to supporting potential management solutions. Current understanding suggests that the incidence of sea trout and the composition and status of their stocks is sensitive to changes in the environments in which they live. These life history features and the sea trout’s widespread occurrence, make it a unique and potentially sensitive indicator of environmental change.

The structure of the Irish Sea and the variety of rivers draining to it, ranging from the mountainous rivers of West Wales to the lowland rivers of East Ireland, meant there was a wide range of marine and freshwater environments for the study. Funded under the INTERREG IVA Ireland Wales Programme, the Celtic Sea Trout Project was the first project in Ireland and the UK to combine a variety of disciplines in the study of sea trout and their fisheries on a large scale.

Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries said, “I particularly welcome this report and the exemplary collaboration between Irish researchers at Inland Fisheries Ireland and other bodies and their international counterparts. The research has resulted in a better understanding of the Sea Trout stocks in the Irish and Celtic seas and this will underpin logical and well-informed decisions on the management requirements that are needed to safeguard these stocks into the future and to ensure the maximum social and economic contribution is secured”.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “This is a ground-breaking multi-agency partnership investigation which aims to fill some of the information gaps around sea trout conservation. The first study of its kind, the Celtic Sea Trout Project is a wide-scale comprehensive, cross-disciplinary project which has provided valuable insight into many important research needs in this area, which were first identified at the International Symposium on Sea Trout in 2004. Its primary purpose of improving understanding of sea trout stocks in order to support better management in the freshwater and marine environments has been achieved.”

The research will improve the management and long term future of sea trout in the Irish Sea by providing information and advice for management which can be translated into fishery and conservation benefits for countries bordering the Irish Sea. It has also established a wider awareness and long term network of people working to secure the future of sea trout.

Partners in the Celtic Sea Trout Project included: Inland Fisheries Ireland, Bangor University, University College Cork, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency (England), Isle of Man Government, Nith District Salmon Fisheries Board, Galloway Fisheries Trust, Annan District Salmon Fisheries Board and Buccleuth Estate (Border Esk). Subcontractors included APEM Ltd, Cefas and Fishskill Consultancy Services.

Published in Fishing
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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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