Marine Minister Michael Creed has welcomed the increase in trawlers and other fishing boats now signed up to Ireland’s Clean Oceans Initiative.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the initiative involves fishermen storing and returning to land marine plastics that come up in their nets daily as they fish, thereby removing this pollution from the marine environment.
The minister launched the Clean Oceans Initiative in January this year at Union Hall, setting a very ambitious target for the participation of the entire Irish trawl fishing fleet in the scheme by 31 December.
To date, 168 trawlers and 56 other fishing boats have signed up with 12 ports registered and involved in the initiative.
“It is heartening to see the numbers that have come on board and that we are now at 70% participation. I would like to thank every boat owner who has joined up,” said the minister.
“We need to get every single trawler on-board for this. This is good for the fishing industry and good for the environment.”
He added: “I’m delighted that the fisheries producer organisations endorsed this initiative and are encouraging their members to sign up and get involved.”
Protecting our oceans is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
By the end of the third quarter this year, approximately 70 tonnes of marine plastic waste had been collected from 12 of Ireland’s busiest fishing ports and 25.5 tonnes of used fishing nets have been collected for recycling by Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) mobile shredder, the ‘Green Machine’.
Minister Creed expressed his thanks to BIM and to those leading the early brigade: “I must commend all those currently involved in the Clean Ocean’s Initiative being run by BIM and the longstanding commitment many in the fishing industry have to bringing ashore plastic waste from the sea.
“I look forward to seeing 100% participation by our trawling fleet by the end of this year.”
Applicants are advised to sign up on the BIM website or by contacting BIM directly at 01 214 4100.
The plastic shards were washed into the water during a concrete pour at the development last November, prompting a safety advisory for swimmers and beach-goers between the West Pier and the Forty Foot.
A clean-up operation was launched at the time which recovered 50kg of the 70kg of plastic strands released.
Now a volunteer clean-up group says some of the unrecovered plastic reappeared at Sandycove on Thursday ahead of Storm Lorenzo.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted three businesses and landowners in the Lough Sheelin and River Camlin catchments between May and September 2019, for the discharge of harmful substances to nearby watercourses.
In June, Kiernan Milling of Granard, Co Longford was convicted in Longford District Court for the discharge of effluent to the River Camlin catchment.
Judge Hughes ordered the payment of €2,441.65 in fines and costs, for breaches under the 1959 Fisheries Consolidation Act.
On 23 July, in Virginia District Court, Mr Patrick Kiernan was convicted and ordered to pay €2,900 in fines and costs, for the discharge of effluent to the Kildorragh River in the Lough Sheelin catchment.
A third conviction was secured by IFI in Virginia District Court in September 2019.
Mr John Lynch, Mountnugent, Co Cavan was ordered to pay €2,500 in fines and costs for allowing the discharge of deleterious matter into the Schoolhouse River, also part of the Lough Sheelin catchment.
In a fourth case in May 2019 at Longford District Court, Judge Hughes disposed of a prosecution by IFI against Mr Derek Moorehead in relation to discharges to a tributary of the Camlin River and ordered Mr Moorehead to pay €500 to a wildlife charity.
Lough Sheelin is a well-known wild brown trout fishery in the Great Western Lakes and one of the most important brown trout angling locations in Ireland, while the River Camlin is an important spawning and nursery location for Lough Ree brown trout.
Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District, said: “Pollution events in the spawning and nursery tributaries along these catchments can threaten indigenous fish populations. The maintenance of the aquatic habitat is vital if we are to sustain and enable wild fish populations to thrive.
“Inland Fisheries Ireland is working to protect and conserve this natural resource to ensure its sustainability into the long term.
“Angling for brown trout in lakes in the Inny catchment and Lough Ree generates important economic activity for rural communities and any impact on fish populations in the area may also have negative impact in this regard.”
North Cork Creameries Co-operative Ltd pleaded guilty on two charges in relation to a pollution incident on the Allow River in Co Cork last year at a sitting of Mallow District Court on Tuesday 17 September.
The charges followed an investigation by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in relation to a milk spillage into the river at Kanturk during August 2018.
The court heard that the incident occurred during a tanker loading process at the company’s production facility in Kanturk, which then discharged to the river.
Judge Brian Sheridan granted probation after hearing evidence that the defendant company had made a significant investment to upgrade their facilities in recent years and that a conviction would have a detrimental effect on the company’s wellbeing.
The court awarded €2,654 for costs and expenses to IFI and ordered the co-op to make a payment of €7,500 to the local angling club.
North Cork Creameries Co-operative was previously prosecuted by IFI in the Circuit Court in 2012 for similar offences, and it also received the benefit of the Probation Act in the District Court in 2018 following a prosecution by Cork County Council under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act.
Commenting on the case, IFI senior fisheries environmental officer Andrew Gillespie said: “Protection of fish stocks is vital to maintaining an extremely valuable natural resource for the benefit of local and tourist anglers alike.
“The River Allow and its tributaries are a prized recreational angling resource with much of the catchment soon to benefit from the locally managed and Government-funded Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments project.
“The project aims to improve the river water quality and biodiversity via the implementation of beneficial measures by farmers and landowners.”
Wastewater overflows from Ringsend’s over-capacity treatment plant have made algal blooms in Dublin Bay much more likely, says one marine expert.
Speaking to The Green News, Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch Ireland said overflows from Ringsend which have occurred after heavy rainfalls provide the right nutrient-rich environment for algae to prosper.
Afloat.ie readers will remember the ‘orange slick’ seen on south Dublin beaches this past summer — and this past week the Shelly Banks adjacent to the Ringsend plant was blanketed in rotting seaweed many mistook for raw sewage.
But capacity issues at Ringsend are only one facet of the the problem, according to Dubsky.
“It’s not just one big Ringsend discharge as the treatment plant is struggling, it’s all those smaller stormwater overflows mixed with sewage water which are discharging right at high watermark onto the shore,” she said.
The Green News has more on the story HERE.
While efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, locals say the slick has now spread to the old canal in Athlone town.
RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.
Efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, after it was discovered at the weekend. The incident also affected marine wildlife in an area town as the Big Meadow some 1km from the Shannon bridge in Athlone.
Wildlife charity volunteers worked to rescue a number of cormorants and cygnets from the polluted waters, many of which needed special cleaning to remove oil from their feathers, while fish were also recovered for safety with the help of local anglers.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
A report was received on Monday 1 July from Waterways Ireland of the fish kill, which has claimed some 300 fish of various species including roach, rudd, bream and pike.
The investigation, which commenced immediately and remains ongoing, has identified agricultural discharge to a River Ryewater feeder that enters the canal at Kilcock.
IFI says work is now ongoing to ensure that there is no further polluting discharge to the system from this location.
It has also has issued a fresh appeal to farmers to remain vigilant in avoiding water pollution during the summer months when harvesting silage and spreading slurry.
Silage effluent is a significant pollutant and if allowed to enter a waterway can potentially lead to fish death and habitat degradation.
IFI has a confidential hotline number at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24 for the public to report incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing. For more visit fisheriesireland.ie.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted Irish Water for two separate pollution incidents which occurred in Cavan last summer.
On Thursday 6 June, Judge McLoughlin twice convicted Irish Water at Cavan District Court under the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for allowing harmful substances to enter the water on two occasions in June last year.
Over 600 fish were killed as a result of one pollution incident while an important habitat for spawning and young fish was damaged as a result of the other.
The court heard evidence from fisheries inspector Cormac Goulding that on 19 June 2018, staff from IFI noticed that the river downstream of the Ballinagh Treatment Plant in Cavan was in very poor condition.
The water was cloudy and the river was covered in sewage fungus and algal growth.
Following an investigation, it was discovered that untreated sewage was being discharged from the water treatment plant and at the pumping station further downstream.
Irish Water issued a report to IFI in response to the prosecution which revealed that their computerised monitoring system had been offline for six days, which meant that no alerts had been received about the problem.
The effluent was being discharged into aquatic habitat suitable for spawning or young trout.
Judge McLoughlin fined Irish Water €3,000 and total costs of €4,679 were awarded to IFI.
A separate pollution incident occurred a few days later on 25 June 2018 in Cavan Town River.
Judge McLoughlin heard evidence from Ailish Keane, senior environmental fisheries officer at IFI, about how the pollution incident resulted in the death of hundreds of fish including 687 native brown trout.
An investigation found that the fish kill was caused by the release of sewage effluent into the river from an overflow culvert located under Farnham Street Bridge.
Irish Water were again convicted and fined €4,000 plus costs of €4,346.
Milton Matthews, director of the North Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “In both cases in Cavan, harmful material was discharged into local rivers and in Cavan town this resulted in a large kill of over 600 native brown trout, of all age classes.
“As it can take years for a waterbody to recover to its former condition following pollution incidents, it is crucial that robust management systems are in place to prevent avoidable incidents which can have a serious impact on our wild fish and their natural habitat.
“The restoration of the aquatic habitat and the maintenance of water quality is vital if we are to enable wild fish populations to recover naturally.
“We are working to protect, conserve and develop our natural fisheries resource which is of significant recreational and economic value to communities in Cavan and across the country.”
An interactive hut made up of 60kg of household plastics — the average amount used by an adult in Ireland each year — will be unveiled at SeaFest this weekend, highlighting the problem of plastics in our oceans.
More than 100,000 visitors are expected to attend SeaFest, which is presented by Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group (MCG).
Raising awareness of the need to protect our marine environment against plastic pollution, Bord Iascaigh Mhara's centrepiece at SeaFest is the Clean Oceans Experience.
Funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the installation includes a 60kg plastic hut sculpture, representing the total plastic packaging waste produced per person in a year.
This installation will be accompanied by a specially commissioned artistic performance, Fantastic Fishermen Go Fishing for Litter, on how the fishing sector is reducing plastics in our seas.
Members of the fishing sector taking part in BIM's Fishing for Litter scheme, which encourages fishermen to take ashore waste they encounter at sea, have collected over 330 tonnes of marine litter since it began in 2015.
“Environmental stewardship of our oceans is something we need to instil in our children”
“Environmental stewardship of our oceans is something we need to instil in our children,” Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Mick Finn, said. “This will ensure the problems facing our oceans are addressed, and hopefully, reversed.
“I’m delighted to welcome SeaFest to Cork for the next three years, as it serves an important role in this education. SeaFest is a brilliant illustration of our unique and unrivalled maritime history.
“In a fun and interactive way, this national annual festival is helping those of all ages to think about their connection with the water and how the actions they make today can make a difference tomorrow.”
Engaging exhibitions and workshops to turn plastic into art also feature at SeaFest, open daily from 10am to 6pm.
A Flock of Sea Gulls will see 1,000 young visitors transform 1,000 plastic cartons into an installation of seagulls, while the Port of Cork and MaREI’s 3D exhibition, Maintaining a Healthy Harbour, is also on display, with marine litter artworks from local school children.
Doug, who has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough on BBC’s Blue Planet and Frozen Planet, will discuss how changing climate is affecting Earth's north and south regions.
Sustainably sourced Irish seafood plays a starring role at SeaFest
Sustainably sourced Irish seafood plays a starring role at SeaFest with demos from top chefs Nevin Maguire, Rory O'Connell and Martin Shanahan.
The Bord Bia and BIM Seafood Experience also features fishmongers Pat O’Connell and Hal Dawson on seafood preparation.
Speaking ahead of SeaFest 2019, Marine Minister Michael Creed said: “SeaFest is part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, the Government’s integrated plan for the marine sector. A key aspect of this plan is to significantly increase our level of engagement with the sea.
“As we welcome the festival back to Cork from Galway where it has been thriving over the past three years, once again, SeaFest has delivered a fantastic line-up of free, educational and fun events to engage both the public and policy makers alike and emphasise the importance of Ireland’s marine economy.”
Providing education on our oceans, the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer is open to the public, following its oceanographic data collection voyage from Galway to Cork.
MFV Allanah Riley, a white fish trawler that fishes out of the port of Castletownbere, will be open to visitors throughout SeaFest. Its crew will be on hand to explain the sustainable fishing practices of the Irish fishing fleet.
Market traders will be using compostable packaging across the weekend
As part of Cork City Council’s commitment to green initiatives, Cork City Council environmental awareness officer Mary Walsh highlighted that market traders will be using compostable packaging across the weekend.
“There will also be pirates on site, keeping SeaFest free from single-use plastics. If someone has brought a plastic bottle with them, the pirate will show them how, and where, to dispose of it,” she said.
SeaFest 2019 is a culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland’s rich maritime heritage, as the annual Cork Harbour Festival runs until Sunday 9 June.
The Our Ocean Wealth Summit takes place in Cork on Sunday 9 and Monday 10 June. The summit will hear from global leaders including environmental activist and former US Secretary of State John Kerry.
SeaFest is proudly supported by Cork City Council, BIM, Marine Institute, Port of Cork, Cork Harbour Festival, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Defence Forces, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bord Bia, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Pure Cork and by media partners Today FM and RedFM.
Seafest is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.