Displaying items by tag: Fishing
Pat O'Mahony of Kinsale and the Crosshaven-based Labardie Fisher Ltd pled guilty at district court in a case taken on behalf of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
The former was convicted of having expired distress signals and hydrostatic life raft releases on his fishing trawler on 5 October last year.
Meanwhile, the trawler owner was fined on a charge of arriving in port with expired distress signals, and for failing to send the port superintendent a signed crew manifest as of 28 May last year.
The court heard that both skipper and owner, who lost 12 days of fishing during the investigation, co-operated fully during the process.
RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.
#Fishing - The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) has called on the deadline for applications for migrant fishing work permits to be extended as it has emerged that only 60 applications have been received.
Last November, then Marine Minister Simon Coveney announced that renewable work permits for non-EEC nationals in the Irish fishing industry would be limited to 500.
The move came in the wake of damning claims of widespread exploitation of migrant labour in the fishing fleet around Ireland, allegations that were later criticised by many in the industry.
But as The Irish Times reports, the new scheme to protect migrant workers from low pay and long hours has attracted only 60 applications as of last week.
And while the Department of Justice said it expected a late surge before the deadline yesterday (Sunday 15 May), the MRCI argues the current scheme is flawed as it is tied to employers and does not allow crew to apply as independent workers.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
From next year all British fishing boats supplying M&S supermarkets will have to be certified by the RFS, confirming that any seafood they catch has been done so responsibly and that their crews have a safe working environment.
International fishing fleets have until 2021 to get certified under the scheme if they're to continue supplying M&S stores.
“We’re passionate about being a responsible retailer," M&S food director Andy Adcock told edie.net about the move, part of the retailer's Plan A sustainability programme.
"We only buy fish from the most sustainable sources, a commitment we’ve worked tirelessly on for almost 20 years, and this pledge means our customers can shop with us knowing we’ve done everything possible to protect the marine environment and those working in our fish supply chain.”
However, M&S is candid that it can't influence the fishing industry alone, with the company's Hannah Macintyre saying that more collaboration will be needed across the industry to ensure that the RFS "will do for fishing standards what the MSC has done for fish stocks".
edie.net has more on the story HERE.
#Documentary - "It’s about understanding the ocean, working with the ocean. Not just seeing it as something to grab, but as something you look after."
That's the message of new documentary Atlantic by Irish filmmaker Risteard Ó Domhnaill, who spoke to Ian Maleney for The Irish Times on its release in Irish cinemas yesterday (Friday 29 April).
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the feature-length documentary – narrated by Emmy Award-winner Brendan Gleeson – follows the fortunes of three small Atlantic coastal fishing communities in Ireland, Canada and Norway.
Each facing their own challenges, from the impact of oil exploration and climate change to the pressures of large-scale commercial fishing.
And as Ó Domhnaill relates from his experience making the film, these livelihoods have changed dramatically even in only the last five years.
"Who knows what’s going to happen, what’s going to hit the ocean?" he says of the years ahead. "Acidification, warming of currents? We’re facing a crossroads. We can’t just fence off our part of the sea and say ‘We’ll look after that’. It’s a much bigger challenge."
The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.
Opening in Ireland on 29 April, Risteard Ó Domhnaill's Atlantic is narrated by Emmy Award-winner Brendan Gleeson, and was awarded the Best Irish Documentary prize at the recent Audi Dublin International Film Festival.
Shot across Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland in Canada by Scannáin Inbhear/Inver Films, Atlantic expands upon the controversial subject matter of his previous film – the experiences of Rossport residents opposed to Shell's prospect in the Corrib gas field – to tell a wider story of threats to coastal communities not only in Ireland, but around the North Atlantic Rim.
Atlantic follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges.
As the oil majors drive deeper into their fragile seas, and the world’s largest fishing companies push fish stocks to the brink, coastal people and the species they rely on may be reaching a point of no return.
In Norway, fishermen and their resource have historically been aggressively protected by national authorities. But as oil fields dwindle and the country now looks to add to its reserves, Arctic cod fisherman Bjornar Nicolaisen is campaigning against seismic testing by the oil explorers criss-crossing his fishing grounds.
On the outer edges of Norway’s five-star economy, seismic blasting is threatening to blow Bjornar’s livelihood out of the water.
Across the ocean in Newfoundland, where an oil boom has hit, fisherman Charlie Kane will likely be the last of his generation to work the sea, after a cod fishing ban in the 1990s brought a world-renowned industry to a halt overnight.
Charlie is thankful his sons can now make a good living on the oil rigs, and won’t need to toil in small boats on Newfoundland’s perilous Grand Banks. But now, as oil prices plummet, their village is once more taking on water, as the the quick money of the black gold rush begins to run dry.
Meanwhile, in the West of Ireland, Jerry Early has seen the heart ripped out of his island after a ban on drift netting for wild salmon. As he fights to regain his fishing rights, and as foreign super-trawlers operate with impunity just offshore, Jerry feels like a criminal on his own boat.
The circumstances could be dire if he defies the 'new order of the ocean', but as the unofficial 'mayor' of a dying island, Jerry feels he has to face up to powerful interests before it’s too late.
Filmed in some of the most remote and breathtaking locations in the North Atlantic, and at close quarters with some of the sea’s most captivating characters, Atlantic brings the very personal stories in the vital resource debate to the fore, exploring how three modern-day communities must learn from the past in order to secure a brighter future.
Risteard O’Domhnaill said of his new film: “My last documentary, The Pipe, told the story of a small coastal community as they faced down one of the world’s most powerful oil companies, which was forcing a high-pressure raw gas pipeline through their farms and fishing grounds.
"The story raised more questions for me than it answered, leading me to look at the politics of our oil and gas prospects off the Irish coast. What has since unfolded is an incredible story of resource mismanagement, and the capture of our offshore riches — oil, gas and fishing — whilst our gaze is elsewhere.
“Unfortunately, what I found when I looked across the Atlantic is that Ireland’s tale is not unique. However, in both Norway and Newfoundland, the lessons learned by similarly affected communities can help us to chart a different course, before our most renewable resources are damaged beyond recognition, or sold to the highest bidders.”
Commenting on his involvement, Brendan Gleeson said: “Atlantic is an engrossing piece of truth-seeking, visually stunning and crafted with clarity and insight. It was an honour to be involved.”
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Atlantic started as an ambitious crowdfunding project, but is now backed by Bord Scannán na hÉireann (The Irish Film Board), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation and Nordnorsk Filmsenter (the North Norwegian Film Centre).
The feature-length documentary opens in Dublin exclusively at the Irish Film Institute on Friday 29 April, with director Risteard O’Domhnaill joined by Arranmore and Rossaveal shermen for a discussion following the 8.30pm screening on the first night. For more see the official film website HERE.
#PublicLecture - 'The Little Ice Age and the North Atlantic Fish Revolution' is the title of a public lecture delivered by Prof Poul Holm and Dr Francis Ludlow of Trinity College Dublin at lunchtime this Wednesday 13 April at the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway.
Holm is Professor of Environmental History at the School of Histories and Humanities in TCD. In 2015 he was awarded an Advanced Grant of €2.5 million by the European Research Council. In the next five years he and his team will explore the North Atlantic 'fish revolution' circa 1400-1700 AD.
In 1497, John Cabot returned to Bristol from a voyage across the North Atlantic. He told of waters so thick with fish that they could be lifted straight on board in baskets. Within a few years of this journey, fishermen from all over Western Europe made the journey across. This was the beginning of the 'fish revolution' of the early-modern world.
The fish revolution was one of the first examples of the disrupting effects of globalisation and climate change. Fish was a high-priced, limited resource in the Late Middle Ages. The Grand Banks fishery offered abundant high-quality low-priced catches to the European market. At the same time climate worsened as the Little Ice Age drove down sea temperatures and changed marine ecosystems.
The consequences were dire for fishermen along the coasts from the Irish Sea right up to northern Norway. As they caught less cod locally at higher prices, the fishermen had the choice of migrating across the ocean or give up fishing. Many fishing settlements were deserted as inhabitants took to the road to seek casual work in agriculture or towns.
Kings and high politics were similarly affected by the fish revolution. The new resource held strategic importance for all major western European powers, such as Spain, Britain and France. North Atlantic warfare was about fish as well as about gold.
In recent years we have all been affected by the impact of global change. We want to know if we can untangle the drivers of prices and temperatures to explain the causes of the fish revolution, and we want to know how people understood and responded to the challenges of globalisation and climate change. The lecture posits that perhaps the fish revolution of the Middle Ages is a distant mirror for today.
All are welcome to the event at the Marine Institute Auditorium this Wednesday at 12 noon.
That's when the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 came in to free the man from his vessel and winch him to safety.
Rescue 118 was later called out to rescue a number of surfers in difficulty of the Leitrim coast, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter as UK Coastguard teams from Stornaway and Prestwick joined the Barra RNLI lifeboat, local fishing vessels and Police Scotland in the search and rescue operation for three missing crewmates, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
One fisherman remains missing after two bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon off Mingulay. Next of kin are aware and police officers are in contact with the families.
Mark Rodaway, national maritime operations commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved.”
Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow of Police Scotland said: "At this time we can confirm that the bodies of two men have been recovered. A third man was rescued and was taken to hospital at Stornoway. He is not seriously injured.
"A fourth man was on the boat and is still missing. The next of kin of all the men have been informed.
Chief Insp Garrow added: "An investigation will be carried out in parallel with the police and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB) and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.
"This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."
The search has now been scaled back pending further information.
#Search - One crew member from a fishing vessel has been rescued as the search continues for three others after the boat sank off Scotland's Western Isles in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 9 April).
The UK Coastguard received a distress alert just before 3:45am when the fishing vessel with four crew on board has its emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) activated near Mingulay.
One crew member has been taken to hospital by the helicopter. The lifeboat remains in the area and the coastguard helicopter from Prestwick has taken over so the search can continue.
This weekend has the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Championships being staged at Howth, and despite the weather the place is buzzing. From being a harbour abandoned in embarrassment for twenty years in the middle of the 19th Century, the peninsula port has gradually evolved to develop a vibrant balance between fishing harbour, sailing centre, and visitor magnet. Longtime local W M Nixon tries to tell it like it is in Howth when seen from the inside.
Howth has most of the advantages and few enough of the disadvantages of being an island. Head home eastward through the isthmus at Sutton Cross (and don’t forget you’re heading eastward - Howth is Dublin’s Eastside, while the Northside is in nearby Ireland), and you shed your Irish identity to become a Howth person. Ideally, this means you become a complete nobody among many other nobodies, for that’s the way we like it.
It must be some sort of defence mechanism, for there was a period in the middle of the 1800s when the powers that be in nearby Ireland preferred to forget our very existence. You see, when the vital links of government between Dublin and London were being maintained by special sailing packet ships, Howth was important because the island of Ireland’s Eye (even in this blog we haven’t the space to explain how it got its name), which is upwards of half a mile off the distinctly rough village, was able to provide an element of natural shelter at a time when Dublin Bay and Dublin Port tended frequently to be disaster areas for shipping.
There were times when the only shelter in Dublin Bay itself was in the very limited space inside Dalkey Island, where a sailing ship could easily be trapped, whereas Howth Sound inside Ireland’s Eye, while north of Dublin Bay and beyond the Baily, nevertheless enabled a potentially embayed ship to cut and run. And yes, that is how the phrase originated.
The north side of Dublin Bay in 1692. The Government’s cross-channel packet boats favoured the roadstead anchorage at Howth inside Ireland’s Eye as it provided better shelter than the exposed bay itself, yet there was more space to cut and run than could be found in Dalkey Sound
Thus they built an inn in the village so that people passing through to London, and waiting for the packet boat, would not impose unduly on the hospitality at Howth Castle of the St Lawrence family, unless they were awfully important. And then when the engineer Thomas Telford was commissioned to build a road linking London with Dublin through Holyhead, naturally on the Irish side he followed the official view of things and continued his road through Howth and on towards Dublin, in light of the fact that offical policy was that the Government harbour would be built at Howth.
And build it they did, from about 1807 onwards, with John Rennie in charge. But with the gathering prosperity and increased trade after the final end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the movement for the improvement of Dublin port and the building of an “asylum harbour” at Dunleary within Dublin Bay gained traction, and by 1817 what would soon become the highly-fashionable Kingstown Harbour was already under construction before Howth Harbour was even properly finished.
Once the new harbour had been completed at Dunleary on the south side of Dublin Bay and re-named Kingstown, the smaller shallower harbour at Howth was forgotten about for twenty years
Nevertheless Howth continued as the official mailboat port until 1834, by which time even the most stubborn official mind had to recognise that everyone else had long since gone Southside. So at last the powers that be followed. And in doing so, they tacitly agreed that the best way to deal with the memory of the ENORMOUS expenditure of building shallow sandy Howth Harbour was to ignore the place’s very existence for as long as possible.
The local fishermen continued to use the sandy creek of Balydoyle as their main port as they’d always done, while Howth seems to have been out of bounds to just about everyone. It was declared an inviolate Royal Harbour which might be of strategic value in the event of attack by Barbary pirates or Eskimo marine commando units or whatever, and for maybe fifteen years Howth simply slumbered, quietly silting up.
But by the 1850s, the growth of the fishing industry through travelling fleets of trawlers from the great fishing ports of Devon and Cornwall and Scotland and the east coast of England meant that increasing numbers of high-powered fishing skippers, almost entirely from Britain, were demanding that they be allowed to use Howth, and by the 1860s it had been designated a “Fishing Station”.
Howth Harbour in the 1870s, when it had become a “Fishing Station”
Much the same thing happened at Dunmore East, which was initially the packet boat port for Waterford, and the local fishermen weren’t really allowed into it at all. But then the advent of steamships meant the packet boats could go straight up to Waterford itself, and after an interval lying idle, Dunmore East also became a Fishing Station. But it was only because nobody else further up the pecking order had a use for it – in those days, fishermen were expected to fend for themselves.
So for thirty years and more, Howth was almost totally devoted to fishing, but in 1875 the famous Judge Boyd – he is referenced in Ulysses – took a lease on the harbourside Howth House which had originally been built as a residence for John Rennie, the engineer building the harbour. The Judge was well got, as his main house was in Merrion Square – it’s now the French Embassy – but as he was something of a maverick, he decided that he’d pursue his sport of sailing through Howth rather than Kingstown.
Judge Boyd was such a noted Dublin character that he was referenced in Joyce’s Ulysses
Thanks to Judge Boyd’s influence, Howth had a government dredger almost permanently on station from 1888 onwards. And for those who would seek further cultural references, the Yeats family lived in the house on the foreshore just to the left of the fishing boat from 1880 to 1882
A maverick he may have been, but he had influence in high places, and when the silting of Howth became even worse in the 1880s, hampering the seasonal activities of the travelling fishing fleets, the Judge saw to it that Howth got its own government dredger as an almost permanent feature.
The trouble is, the fishing was too successful – the herring were fished almost to extinction. By the 1890s, fleets visiting Howth were declining rapidly, but this in turn facilitated the development of the local sailing club, founded mostly by Judge Boyd’s sons in 1895.
However, the old Judge had lost none of his sparkle, for in 1892 he had bought the supposedly out-classed Fife 70-footer Thalia from the Clyde, and proceeded to win races left right and centre with her. Often he helmed her himself, but if he felt like a rest, the talented professional skipper who came with the boat was Owen Bissett, who stayed on in Ireland with such commitment that today one of Howth’s most able sailors, Ross McDonald, is Owen Bissett’s great-great grandson.
Judge Boyd’s Thalia racing in the Clyde – in Clyde Fortnight 1897 she won 140 pounds in prize money, the third highest in the regatta. Though he raced the boat himself, Judge Boyd also had a professional skipper in Owen Bissett, great great grandfather of today’s successful Howth skipper Ross McDonald
And if you wonder how the Judge managed to keep a large engineless yacht in little Howth Harbour, a yacht whose overall length from mainboom end to bowsprit end was well over a hundred feet, the answer is he treated Howth Harbour as if it was his private marina. After all, it was he who ensured it was dredged, so hadn’t he every right to keep Thalia in a very handy berth inside the nib on the West Pier? And if he happened to omit to retract Thalia’s long bowsprit which protruded well beyond the end of the nib, then heaven help any fishing skipper whose ancient craft managed to get fouled up in this exquisite piece of classic yacht equipment.
Regatta day at Howth, and Thalia in her berth inside the nib on the West Pier
The perfect private berth – Thalia at the West Pier in Howth around 1900
It’s difficult to escape the feeling that the Judge’s four sons thought the old man was maybe a bit over the top, for in their new Howth Sailing Club they promoted the notion that “Small is Beautiful”. When the oldest brother Herbert designed the new one design class for Howth in the Autumn of 1897, the resulting Howth 17s were of very modest proportions, just 22ft 6ins in overall length.
In time, the mighty Thalia ceased to be a feature of Howth Harbour. She was of such a size that the easiest way to lay her up was a winter berth afloat in the Grand Canal basin in Dublin. But as she had been built on steel frames with copper fastenings, she was virtually on fire with electrolysis, and her days were short – by 1910 she had gone.
A much more modest proposition – the handy little Howth 17s were introduced in 1898, and they hope to have 18 boats racing this summer
From time to time, the Howth 17s add new boats – this is Erica and Isobel joining the fleet in 1988
The joys of classic yacht ownership…..Pat Heydon working in early March on the re-caulking of Gladys (built 1907), which he co-owns with Eddie Ferris and Ian Byrne. Photo: W M Nixon
But the Howth 17s plough steadily on 118 years later, thanks to a sort of group scheme of mutual help when a boat needs serious work done, with longtime owner Ian Malcolm as the multi-talented core of a sort of men and women’s shed movement with a maritime purpose. The purpose is to get in as much racing as they can, with as many boats as humanly possible. This season they’ll have 18 of them sailing, while a classic boat festival at Howth in early August has already roped in Mermaid Week, and they and the Seventeens will be more than happy to welcome other long-established wooden craft.
As for Howth generally, the inevitable conflict between the needs of fishing craft and the needs of recreational boating were more or less resolved back in 1982, when the recreationals were moved into the eastern part of the harbour with its marina and - in time - a completely new clubhouse, while the western section became a state-of-the-art fish dock with synchro-lift and all the trimmings.
It was a case of good fences making good neighbours, and maybe the harbour users of Howth became too contented, for the powers-that-be seemed to forget that in a harbour set beside a sandy channel through which the tide can flow with some vigour, routine maintenance includes regular dredging.
In The Netherlands, arguably the best-run maritime nation in the world, every harbour is dredged as a matter of routine every four to five years, regardless of whether or not there has been significant silting. It’s just done, and that’s how it is – it’s the Dutch way.
But in Ireland, it seems we have to chivvy the authorities to do what should be a matter of routine, and ultimately it all seems to come back to the door of the Office of Public Works, which despite its name seems to think that it’s activities should be carried out in as private a way as possible. Maybe it should be re-named the Office of Good Works By Stealth, for the word is that Howth is going to be dredged, and it might well be sooner than later.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries have been quietly beavering away providing the small boat fishermen with their own rather splendid pontoon. It’s an extremely fine bit of work, but so far as we know, it is only recently that the notice has gone up telling us what it’s all about.
It’s coming to a harbour near you…….the notice of the new facility was erected without any fanfare...
...and for the time being there’s no news of when the new pontoon will be officially opened
As for actually getting the use of it, the situation is now a bit reminiscent of the 1840s. There’s this really classy and useful bit of infrastructure, just as there was once the unused Howth Harbour back in the 1840s. But nobody is as yet allowed near it. The smaller fishing craft still raft up outside each other, and their crews still have to clamber up the quayside.
There’s probably a perfectly good reason why the new pontoon has not yet opened for business. But as our email enquiry to the Department has gone unanswered, we can only assume that until a new Government is formed and there’s a fully-accredited new Minister ready to sweep out in the limo to perform the opening ceremony with all the attendant pomp and kudos, then this lovely pontoon will continue to float serenely on, just like the Sleeping Beauty.
While Howth’s new small fishing craft pontoon awaits its official opening, its future users continue to raft up alongside each other at the quay. Photo: W M Nixon