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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is continuing to investigate a major fish kill in Co Cork in which at least 5,000 fish have died.

The pollution incident occurred on the River Allow, a tributary of the Munster Blackwater catchment at Freemount in the north of the county.

The incident occurred in a Special Area of Conservation, and the location is a noted spawning habitat.

Species of fish discovered dead include juvenile Atlantic salmon, brown trout, lamprey, eel, stone loach, roach and dace.

The river supports a population of freshwater pearl mussel, as well as being an abundant salmon and trout habitat.

Fisheries officers are still attempting to determine the scale of the kill, with fish mortalities observed up to 4km downstream of the source location.

IFI staff have been on site again on Monday (10 June) to investigate the pollution event, and assess the extent of the impact on the local environment.

Water samples have been taken from the river to gather evidence of the discharge, and source point of contamination, to advance any potential prosecution.

Published in Angling

Writing to Afloat.ie, reader Joan Twomey bemoans the lack of attention on the sorry status of salmon on the upper River Lee

It is heartening to read about so much EU and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) collaboration regarding Greenland salmon (Afloat.ie, 2 November 2023).

I wonder if they could do something about the environmental catastrophic actions of our own ESB semi-State body over the last 50-plus years on our Irish salmon on the upper Lee River catchment area.

Salmon are now practically extinct in this area — and in Lough Allua, the Bealaphadeen Stream and surrounding streams and rivers. Nothing is being said about this and very little is being done.

The number of salmon getting past the dams is dismal, if the real numbers were ever revealed — from being able to catch salmon in your hands there were so many, to locals not seeing a single salmon in decades.

Yours sincerely,
Joan Twomey
Ballingeary, Co Cork

Published in Your Say
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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a water pollution incident which took place Monday morning (14 August) east of Cork city.

The incident occurred on the tidal section of the Glashaboy River downstream from the bridge in Glanmire, Co Cork.

IFI was first alerted to the incident by multiple calls to its hotline number at 0818 34 74 24 and staff were on the scene shortly afterwards.

The pollution appeared to have impacted between one and one-and-a-half kilometres of river and caused a blue/grey discolouration of the water.

The freshwater part of the Glashaboy River upstream was unaffected. No fish fatalities have been recorded so far.

IFI staff have taken water samples for analysis.

The State agency for Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources says is not in a position to confirm the specific cause of the pollution incident at this early stage, but investigations are continuing.

Published in Environment

Cork has become the first city to sign up to the European Commission’s Charter to restore oceans and waters.

Under the ‘Horizon Europe Programme,’ the Commission has launched several ‘Missions’ which it says are focused on “critical areas, to bring solutions to “the greatest challenges of our time, because man-made changes are putting our oceans and waters at serious risk.”

For two days at the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy, a high-powered European conference discussed healthy seas and oceans, how they can be protected and, where needed, restored to health.

The Charter was signed, on behalf of Cork City, by Lord Mayor Deirdre Forde. A coalition of environmental non-governmental organisations and networks also signed up.

European areas are being designated digitally as ‘lighthouse sectors’ – to light the way forward symbolically. Ireland is a central player in the Atlantic ‘lighthouse.’ The Commission hopes to connect citizens and local communities with the oceans, seas and waters, provide broad ownership and education and co-design transitions in their communities that will allow European Green Deal targets to be reached by 2030.

Is that realistic?

The European Commission predicts, in this strategy, that “economic prosperity” is amongst the opportunities that can be achieved: “The ocean is estimated to generate €2.5 trillion per year by 2030,” it says. “Ocean waters are home to a rich diversity of species. They are major carbon sinks, essential for adaptation to climate change.”

Dr.John Bell, the European Commission’s ‘Healthy Planet Director’Dr.John Bell, the European Commission’s ‘Healthy Planet Director'

While it was well-attended by specialist delegates from many European countries and by President Michael D.Higgins, will the message from it get through to ”ordinary citizens?” That is the question I put at the conference, to my Podcast guest this week – Dr. John Bell, the European Commission’s ‘Healthy Planet Director,’ who is leading its research on Oceans and the European Green Deal.

Published in Cork Harbour
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The second event in the Cork Laser/ILCA sprint Tri-series was held at Iniscarra Sailing and Kayaking Club, on Sunday, September 4th. Summer had truly finished and a fresh South Easterly wind was sweeping along with heavy showers up the lake from the direction of the Iniscarra dam.
 
From the outset of the tri-series concept, it was always an interesting proposition to have a sprint race on this underappreciated body of water. The lake does have its challenges with no possibility of seabreeze and a dry summer leading to low water levels.

However, commodore Aoife Herlihy pulled together a very strong team to pull together all logistics to host the second event in the sprint series. Race Officer John Corkery managed a to find a significant upwind leg which really challenged the fleet searching for dramatic wind shifts.
 
A pathway along the northern shore of the lake allowed for fantastic close quarter viewing especially on the downwind leg. The lack of any swell with a building breeze highlighted some excellent pursuits to the leeward buoy. The format of the sprint can mean very tight racing in a single lap and on the third race a near pileup of four boats screamed into the leeward mark roared on from the supporters on the shore.

Some mistimed flips cost a few sailors a podium finish. Isabel McCarthy in her ILCA 4 was leading all bar one of the ILCA 6s at the leeward before a strong gust flattened her chances. Joe O'Sullivan won out the first sprint of the day in his ILCA 6, but then Phillip Doherty dominated the next two races.

From near flat calm conditions at 9am, the wind built all day and after seeing gusts above 30 kts, the race officer called a halt after three exciting races. With over twenty boats competing on the day split near evenly across ILCA 4 and 6, it was a busy day and a bbq afterwards allowed the spectators and organizing team some time to debrief the events of the day.
 
It was Iniscarra Sailing and Kayaking club's first ever experience of hosting an external race like this and they put on an enviable event from start to finish. John Corkery’s race course, which was a challenge to setup for an all in twenty boat start was a great success with the racing dynamics closely watched from the lakeside onshore.

At the end of three races, in ILCA 6 Phillip Doherty (Monkstown Bay Sailing Club) came out first with Joe O'Sullivan 2nd and Andrew Kingston 3rd (both RCYC) . In ILCA4, Ethel Bateman came out in front of Liam Duggan in 2nd and Eve McCarthy 3rd (all RCYC)

The series will conclude with another set of five sprints in Royal Cork Yacht Club on September 18th and as Afloat previously reported, the Tri-Series is open to all, https://www.royalcork.com/ilca-sprint-tri-series/ . Laser class captain Tim McCarthy is hoping for thirty boats to compete on the day with many sailors competing for the series title also.

Latest results after eight races in the series can be found below

Published in Laser
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A Cork city man convicted of strokehauling salmon received a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years at a sitting of Cork District Court on Tuesday 17 May.

Shane Heaphy (27) of Templeacre Avenue, Gurranabraher pleaded guilty to committing four fisheries offences on the River Lee on 25 July 2020.

The court heard evidence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) protection officers that Heaphy entered upon a several (private) fishery at the Cork Waterworks weir on 25 July to strokehaul salmon.

Strokehauling is an illegal method of catching fish that involves ripping weighted hooks along the flank of a fish to try and impale it and causes horrific injuries to the fish.

Judge Marian O’Leary, hearing that Heaphy had previous convictions for strokehauling, responded by stating that “strokehauling was cruel” and that the court took a “dim view” of the practice.

Heaphy was also convicted of possession of a fishing rod and line, fishing within 50 yards of the downstream face of the weir and using a strokehaul. He was fined €300 and ordered to pay €350 in expenses.

IFI director of the South West River Basin District, Sean Long welcomed the judges’ comments: “The practice of strokehauling is barbaric and fuelled by a small black-market for illegally caught fish.

“We will not tolerate any kind of illegal fishing and our protection staff carry out covert and overt operations to safeguard our fisheries resource.

“Anglers and members of the general public are urged to report illegal fishing to IFI in confidence through our 24-hour hotline number 0818 347 424.”

IFI reminds the public that angling is prohibited in the Waterworks Powerhouse area under the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Article 4 of the River Lee (Cork Waterworks Weir) By-Law No.453 of 1943.

Published in Angling

It's emerged that Minister of Sport Catherine Martin was not told about proposals to host the America's Cup in Cork Harbour for three months.

According to Saturday's Irish Times, an unpublished Government report also reveals that ministers were warned the plans were "overly optimistic and laden with risk".

Last month the bid was officially withdrawn hours before Barcelona were selected as the preferred bidders to host the next edition of the Auld Mug.

Foreign Affairs Minister and Cork TD Simon Coveney confirmed last summer that a bid had been in the works since January 2021. But it's now emerged that the Department of Sport was not informed of the plans until three momnths later.

Subsequent reports and discussions revealed concerns with the event contract and the "very significant costs" involved in staging the event, including related capital projects in Cork Haerbour and environs.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

An alternative proposal for the staging of the next America’s Cup in Cork could save the State some €80 million.

The Irish Examiner reports on the pitch to Cork’s civil servants which proposes a publicly owned site at Tivoli Docks as a base for the event rather than the private dockyard near Cobh suggested in the original bid.

In addition, the race village is envisaged at Kennedy Quay in the city centre, most of which is also under public ownership.

A drawback to this proposal is the longer tow-out for race teams to the open water outside Cork Harbour, as outlined in the briefing document.

But the estimated €80 million savings in staging costs might present a strong case to coalition leaders who in September requested more time to consider the cost-benefit analysis of hosting the Auld Mug in Cork in 2024.

Ireland remains in the running to host the event, with the announcement of the match venue pushed back until the end of March next year.

Published in America's Cup
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Valencia is the subject of “advanced negotiations” between the America’s Cup defender Emirates Team New Zealand and the Madrid government to host the next contest for the Auld Mug, it’s being reported.

Scuttlebutt Sailing News has more on the story which suggests that a combination of existing infrastructure—in place since the Spanish port’s previous hosting of the event in 2007—and funding from government and private sources could secure ‘preferred bidder’ status.

Cork had been expected to snap up the rights last month before political wrangles dealt a blow to the campaign’s hopes.

However, with the New Zealand team’s final announcement still some weeks away, Ireland’s negotiating position remains stronger than it may realise, as international sail racing project manager Marcus Hutchinson told Afloat.ie’s Wavelengths podcast.

Published in America's Cup
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Beachgoers around Munster have been warned to watch where they step after numerous sightings of a venomous fish that lurks in the sand, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Lesser weevers are small fish, only 15cm in length, but their stinging spines pack a painful wallop — and in rare cases can be potentially fatal.

Kevin Flannery of Dingle OceanWorld says weevers generally avoid spots where people congregate on beaches, but may be encountered off the beaten track — so wearing footwear, even flip-flops, is a must.

And if you’re unlucky enough to step on one, get the affected area under hot water — up to 40 degrees if possible — to help break down the venom. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Munster is also the place to be to see swarms of jellyfish that have turned up along the Cork coastline in recent days, according to the Irish Mirror.

Thousands of what are believed to be moon jellyfish have been spotted from Garretstown to Cobh in Cork Harbour, likely attracted by warmer waters to feed on their usual diet of plankton, molluscs — and other jellyfish.

Published in Coastal Notes
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About Commander Bill King, Solo Circumnavigator

William Donald Aelian King was the last surviving submarine commander in the Second World War - in charge of the British Navy's T-class Telemachus that sank a Japanese sub in the Strait of Malacca, between Malaysia and Sumatra, in 1944.

Decorated many times for his service by the end of the war, King became a trailblazing solo sailor.

At the age of 58, he was the oldest participant in The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race sailing Galway Blazer II, a junk-rigged schooner he designed himself.

After a number of abortive attempts, including an incident with "a large sea creature", he finally completed his solo circumnavigation of the globe in 1973.

Beyond his aquatic escapades, King settled with his wife Anita (who died in 1984, aged 70) at Oranmore Castle outside Galway after the war, where he later developed a pioneering organic farm and garden to help tackle his wife's asthma.

The round-the-world sailor and Galway native Bill King died on Friday, 21 September, 2012, aged 102.