Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: fisheries

#ministerforagriculture – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D., has today welcomed the International Fisheries Agreement signed between the EU and Norway.

The Minister said "the fact that this agreement was concluded in Clonakilty today is very positive for our fishermen targeting these stocks for their businesses in these important fisheries which allows fishermen and fish factories to plan properly in 2015. It is also pleasing that Ireland was able to play a major part as host of these very important negotiations for the EU as a whole".

The negotiations, which began last Monday, were hosted by Ireland on behalf of the European Union at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co. Cork and involved delegates from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal.

The negotiations agreed are as follows:

The total allowable catch (TAC) for important stocks that are managed by both EU and Norway.
The sharing of these stocks between EU and Norway.
The transfer of quotas between EU and Norway as part of a balanced deal in the interests of EU and Norwegian fishermen.

The negotiations covered many stocks in both the North Sea, the western waters around Ireland and Scotland and stocks in Norwegian waters.

Minister Coveney also said "I am very pleased that my officials were able to secure a 12% increase in Ireland's share of the important Haddock fishery off Donegal. I also welcome the fact that, subject to confirmation at the Coastal States meeting in London on the 15th of December, we managed to find agreement on an increase in the Blue Whiting Total Allowable Catch for 2015. This fishery is important for our fishermen that target Blue Whiting and for our fish factories that process Irish, Norwegian and Scottish catches of this species for human consumption exports."

The Minister added that "as part of the Blue Whiting package, Ireland was able to reduce the percentage of Blue Whiting TAC, which is transferred by the EU to Norway as part of the overall deal, which will increase the amount of Blue Whiting available to our fishermen."

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#fisherynegotiations – Ireland, on behalf of the European Union, is hosting important fisheries negotiations between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and Ireland at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. These negotiations, on the annual fishing arrangements for 2015 between the European Union (EU) and Norway, commence at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty on Monday the 1st of December.
Minister Simon Coveney stated "I very much hope that we will have a successful outcome on the exchange of fishing quotas and access arrangements which will enable the finalisation of quotas for other stocks such as Blue Whiting off the north west of Ireland and the Herring in Norwegian waters which are of major importance to our west coast pelagic fishing fleet and fish processing plants in Donegal. My delegation will be pursuing Ireland's interests to the utmost during the talks."
Over seventy delegates from across Europe and Norway will meet at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty for the week long talks.
These negotiations cover a wide range of fish stocks across the North East Atlantic which are jointly managed by and shared between Norway and a range of EU Member States.
Economically, these negotiations are amongst the most important for the EU fishing industry, and this final round will focus on setting Total Allowable Catches for 2015 for a range of stocks, the sharing of these stocks between the parties and substantial quota swops between the EU and Norway as well as access arrangements to each of the respective areas for the parties. The outcome has a very direct effect on the opportunities available to Irish fishermen in 2015.
The Minister went on to say that "Once again, the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty is the venue of choice to host these important international talks and helps in the overall aim of emphasizing Ireland's positive and proactive role within the European Union. Over seventy international delegates arriving in Clonakilty for a week in December will also bring a welcome boost to the local economy".

Published in Fishing

#fishing – Minister Simon Coveney TD, at today's EU Fisheries Council, secured the agreement of the Council and the Commission to bank a portion of this year's fishing quotas and transfer them into 2015. This measure will give the fishing industry the option of not fishing part of this year's quota and having it available in 2015. This measure will help mitigate the impact of the Russian ban on the importation of fishery products. The banking option will be applied to the mackerel, horse mackerel and Celtic Sea herring stocks as these are directly impacted by the Russian imports ban. The measure will be introduced shortly on the basis of positive scientific advice that it will not adversely impact on the sustainability of the stocks.

Minister Coveney said "I have listened to our industry and the difficulties those fishing Celtic Sea herring, mackerel and horse mackerel are experiencing because Russia has closed its important market to EU fishery products. The price for herring has dropped significantly for this autumn fishery and I want to give the industry the option of banking part of the quota until prices improve. I today secured the agreement of the Fisheries Council and the Commission to bank 25% of this year's quota until prices improve next year when market conditions have improved. I expect the Commission to receive the required scientific advice that the stocks will not be adversely impacted by this measure over the coming week so that the measures may be adopted in early November. "

Minister Coveney added "I made clear at Council today that we must recognise that we are dealing with a difficult situation for our fishing industry arising from a geo-political issue. We fully support the sanctions decision taken by the EU but must now provide as much support as possible to our fishing industry. The agreement I secured today at Council will give the industry some time and flexibility to find alternative markets while preserving Ireland's quota allocation."

Published in Fishing

#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.

Published in Angling

#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.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#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.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#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.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

#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.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

#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.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#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.”

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under
Page 4 of 8

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating