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Displaying items by tag: CFP

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed today (Wednesday 1 June) met with the leaders of Irelands’ fish producer and exporting organisations to discuss various issues including the commitment under the Programme for Government to dealing with the issue of penalty points for serious infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Minister Creed said that the meeting was “a very positive engagement and that he looked forward to working closely with all of the organisations on both the challenges and the opportunities for Ireland’s fisheries sector over the coming years.”

The minister discussed a wide range of issues with industry representatives and, in particular, their concerns in relation to the implementation of the CFP penalty points system.

On this matter, he confirmed that upon taking office he requested that the Attorney General consider whether there is a way that the assignment of EU points for licence holders can await the completion of the prosecution process, while at the same time ensuring that Ireland is fully in compliance with its obligations under EU law.

"Further to the Programme for Government commitment pertaining to the assignment of penalty points, I quickly sought advice from the Attorney General as prescribed in the document," he said. "Having now received this advice, I am satisfied to move on the introduction of a system for the sequential application of EU points in conjunction with the prosecution process, thus fulfilling the ambition outlined in the Partnership Programme."

The minister acknowledged that this move was subject to addressing some important legal and administrative issues in order to ensure compliance with EU law.

“I have today listened to the concerns of industry and intend to report back to the Oireachtas as soon as I have finalised a way forward in the context of dealing with legal and administrative matters that are arising," he added.

"However I am confident that these matters can be dealt with in a collaborative and constructive manner with all stakeholders.”

Among the other topics covered in today’s meeting were the potential impacts of ‘Brexit’ on the Irish fishing industry, the ongoing phasing in of the landing obligation or ‘discards ban’ under the new Common Fisheries Policy, the herring fishery off the North West coast, EU funding, decommissioning of fishing vessels, negotiations with Norway and the Faroe Islands, and the Killybegs Fisheries Harbour Centre.

“Today’s meeting was all about getting a deeper understanding of the issues facing the Irish fishing industry and I very much appreciated the positive engagement with industry leaders," the minister concluded.

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#Fishing - Galway fishermen will be among those in receipt of a €6.5 billon aid package to help Europe's fleets comply with the discard ban under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy that was approved by the European Parliament this week.

Galway Bay FM says the funding will go towards the purchase of more advanced selective fishing gear and improving safety on board fishing vessels, as well as updating port infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Galway Bay FM also reports that losses at salmon farms on the west coast are being attributed to attacks by jellyfish.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) says the mauve stinger (Pelagia noctiluca), which normally inhabits the deep ocean and rarely comes inshore, has been getting into open cage salmon rearing stations.

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#CFP - RTÉ News reports that the "final battle" before reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) comes up today as a European Parliament committee votes on the changes led by the Irish Presidency of the EU in the first half of this year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Europe's fisheries ministers agreed in May to a new policy that sets quotas based on scientific advice, with the aim of achieving healthy fish stocks and ultimately higher quotas as stocks are managed sustainably.

The reforms were pushed by Marine Minister Simon Coveney during his presidency of the EU Fisheries Council. The minister also made as his priority the ending of the practice of fish discards, a subject of much public outcry following revelations that as much as 50% of the catch in the North Sea is thrown back dead in the water.

Meanwhile, Ireland's additional quotas under the Hague Preferences have also been retained, a move that comes as some relief to the Irish fishing industry - which will also benefit from CFP amendments that would support the renewal of older fishing fleets.

However, conservation groups fear that these proposals would see the EU's fishing fleets grow to a size that far exceeds the available fisheries resource in European waters.

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#CFP - The deal reached between EU fisheries ministers this morning on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) should bring an end to the practice of fish discards within the next six years, according to Ireland's Marine Minister.

As reported earlier today on Afloat.ie, Minister Simon Coveney emerged from 36 hours of talks in Brussels confident that a far-reaching reform on fisheries policy had been reached.

RTÉ News reports that the compromise deal will see a 93% ban on discards take immediate effect, phasing towards a full ban by 2019, with special allowances made in certain cases where sustainability of fish stocks allows.

Minister Coveney, as president of the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers during Ireland's EU presidency, will submit the agreed reforms to the European Parliament - which has previously been steadfast in its demands for a complete ban on fish discards to halt the depletion of fish stocks in European waters.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this week's discussions on fisheries reform in Brussels have been described as a "once-in-a-decade opportunity" to end the wasteful practice of fish discards, which has seen as much as 50% of the catch in the North Sea is thrown back overboard dead.

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#CFP - 'Fight Fight' campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall writes on the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog that this week's upcoming discussions among the EU's fisheries ministers is a "once-in-a-decade opportunity" to end the practice of fish discards.

The TV chef, who has long campaigned against the practice of discarding fish in Europe's seas under the quota system implemented by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), hopes that this week's discussions among EU ministers over the final text to submit to the European Parliament includes "a proper discard ban - one that will finally eliminate the disgraceful waste of fish that occurs under the current system".

Though all parties involved have agreed in principle to ban discards, Fearnley-Whittingstall believes "we're in the endgame: a tussle between the parliament and the ministers over the final shape of the new CFP" - with "powerful fishing countries such as France and Spain happier to see the current broken system continue, rather than deal with the awkward aspects of transforming their fisheries into a sustainable, profitable and growing sector".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Ireland's Marine Minister Simon Coveney - president of the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers - is pushing for ministers to focus on the most critical elements such as fish discards in their discussions on CFP reform in Brussels from tomorrow 13 May.

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#Fishing - Marine Minister Simon Coveney will present a revised comprehensive compromise Irish EU presidency text to the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers on Monday 13 May seeking a new mandate to re-enter final negotiations with the European Parliament on a reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Minister Coveney said that these decisive negotiations for agreeing a comprehensive reform of the CFP in Brussels on 13-14 May are likely to be very difficult given the significance for the next decade of what may be decided at the meeting.

“An enormous amount of work has gone into progressing the reform with council, commission and parliament during the Irish presidency," he said. "We now have an Irish presidency substantially revised set of compromise proposals which I believe give us a sound basis for positive engagement at council.

"Agreement at council on this presidency compromise package would support an ambitious reformed CFP which would secure a better future for our fish stocks and for the fishermen and coastal communities who depend on them."

The minister emphasised that there is a "very short window of opportunity for council and parliament to agree and deliver an effective reform of our fisheries policy and the Irish presidency is doing all it can to bring the institutions together to take this historic opportunity.

"I believe that if all parties focus on the critical elements of a reformed CFP, we can by working together reach realistic and substantial agreement through the co-decision process during the Irish presidency.”

Formal negotiations with the European Parliament have resulted in the Irish presidency drawing up a revised compromise 200-page legal text, which Minister Coveney, as president of the council, will use as the basis of negotiations with EU fisheries ministers.

The objective is to get political agreement on a final compromise package to enable conclusion of negotiations with the parliament and the commission on CFP reform during the Irish presidency, which concludes at the end of June.

Minister Coveney will also update EU ministerial colleagues on progress made to date by the Irish presidency during the ‘trilogue’ process where EU presidency (council), commission and parliament have been engaged in complex discussions on refining proposals for CFP reform.

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#fisheries – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD has welcomed the commitment by Director Generals for Fisheries of EU Member States (meeting at the National Seafood Centre, Clonakility on Tuesday 16th April) to achieve agreement on CFP reform by the end of June. The meeting, hosted by the Irish Presidency, assessed progress on the Reform proposal to date and explored options for brokering resolutions by EU Ministers and Parliament. While there is agreement between the Council and the Parliament on the policy objectives for the Reform, there remain significant outstanding issues on the detailed implementation arrangements. Directors General from 23 EU Member States, together with a delegation from the European Commission attended the meeting.

The Minister stated "I am encouraged by the fact that the key EU Member States with an interest in fisheries policy were represented at the Clonakilty meeting. This indicates the serious desire by all parties involved to make reform of Europe's Common Fisheries Policy a reality. Significant progress has already been made during our Presidency on advancing the CFP Reform process and we are now entering a critical stage of the process when we can expect things to become even more challenging".

The Irish Presidency has prioritised securing an agreed Reform of the CFP by the end of June. This will necessitate all three EU institutions involved (Council of Ministers, EU Parliament and the EU Commission) agreeing on a final way forward.

The Minister Continued "Bringing together the most senior officials of the key Fisheries Member States at this delicate stage is another important step in preparing the groundwork for EU Ministers and Parliament to agree a final deal before the end of June. I have always believed that the Irish Presidency offers the best opportunity to secure agreement on a significant and lasting Reform of the CFP."

The current CFP reform proposals aim to bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels by setting fishing opportunities based on scientific advice to deliver maximum sustainable yields, eliminate discards on a phased basis and bring renewed prosperity to the fisheries sector by creating opportunities for economic growth in coastal areas.

The Minister added "The time is now right for a radical and lasting reform of the CFP. I intend to work with all parties involved during the remaining months of our Presidency to secure that crucial final agreement. Significant challenges remain and we anticipate an intense work programme in the weeks and months ahead if we are to achieve our ambition of brokering an agreed CFP reform package. The robust and proactive discussion at Tuesday's meeting of senior officials will make an important contribution to this process and prepares the way for the Ministerial discussion on the Reform in the EU Fisheries Council of Ministers next Monday in Luxembourg".

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#CFPreform - RTÉ News reports that up to 200 conservation groups in Ireland and abroad have written to Marine Minister Simon Coveney and his EU counterparts urging his support for an end to overfishing in European waters by 2015.

The groups claim that mismanagement of EU fisheries under the Common Fisheries Policy has resulted in significant overfishing, particularly in the Mediterranean where as much as 80% of fish stocks are fished far beyond sustainable levels.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Minister Coveney - who is President of the European Council of Fisheries Ministers - welcomed a vote in February on a reform agenda for the CFP, which has been prioritised for delivery by the Irish EU presidency before the six-month term concludes at the end of June.

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#Fishing - Key to proposals to end fish discards in this year's reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the introduction of new technology like wheelhouse cameras and 'smart nets'.

So argues EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, as BBC News reports on trials of new net designs that can separate fish catches and reduce damage to the seabed.

One of the fishing net innovations involves a bendable plastic grid attached to the middle of a trawl net that allows smaller fish and juveniles to pass through while snaring the valuable larger catch.

Another design, the Rollerball net, attempts to eliminate the problem of heavy trawling gear churning up debris on the sea floor while reducing drag and saving on boats' fuel bills.

Assuaging concerns over the prohibitive costs for fishermen, Damanaki says she hopes that such 'smart nets' will be subsidised by as much as 85% - while emphasising that the adoption of new technology could mean the difference between being allowed to fish or being banned from the ocean.

Wheelhouse CCTV cameras are another method that has been shown to reduce discards to less than 1% in some cases - and Damanaki says they will be essential if the CFP reforms indeed include a zero tolerance policy on fish discards.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

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#Fishing - Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney will be seeking agreement from his European colleagues at next week’s Fisheries Council on how when and how introduce an effective discards ban in the context of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

At the June 2012 Fisheries Council, ministers did not reach agreement on how a discard ban would be implemented or when such a ban would be introduced.

The challenge for Minister Coveney as president of the European Council of Fisheries Ministers is to secure wide agreement at council on an ambitious early date for the introduction of a ban in all waters across the EU from the Baltic & North Sea to the North Eastern Atlantic, the Mediteranean and the Black Sea.

Ministers will need to agree the practical measures that will ensure that the ban is capable of being effectively implemented in all these areas.

In a review of global discarding, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) noted that the North East Atlantic has the highest discard level in the world, estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, the majority attributed to EU fisheries. The EU Commission itself estimates that 23% of all fish caught by EU vessels are discarded.

Discarding occurs in almost every fishery, in every area and across most fleets in the European Union. Every member state operating fishing operations on the open sea has a discard problem. Many member states have significant levels of discards in certain fisheries, and for varying reasons.

The policy to stop discarding of fish and to change behaviour of fishermen so that unwanted by-catches and juvenile fish are no longer caught must be seen as an integral part of fisheries management in general and serve the overarching goals of moving to long-term management based on ecosystem considerations and reaching maximum sustainable yield by 2015, where possible, and by 2020 at the latest for all stocks.

The three European institutions, all member states and importantly the Irish presidency are fully supportive and committed to the introduction of a discard ban.

A very important element of delivering the overall objective will be the introduction across all fisheries of smarter and more selective fishing gear, strengthened selectivity measures and changed fishing practices that avoid to the greatest extent possible unwanted catches particularly those of juvenile fish.

To assist the debate on discards and facilitate actions to resolve the problem, Ireland published a 'Discards Atlas' detailing the full extent of discards by the Irish whitefish fleet. It is critically important that other member states do likewise to support the introduction of the new policy and inform measures that will be needed to ensure that a new policy is fully implemented by EU fishing fleets.

Minister Coveney commented: "I am and continue to be a strong advocate for a policy which eliminates the wasteful practice of discards.”

On the prospects for council, he said: “I am under no illusion of the challenges the effective implementation of a discards policy pose for European fishermen and for the member states of the EU, and will work intensively with my European ministerial colleagues over the course of the February Council to deliver a policy with an ambitious timetable for implementation that will end the discarding of fish and support the rebuilding of fish stocks and the future of coastal communities depending on fishing.

"It is my firm belief that the success or failure of the reformed CFP will be judged to a large extent on the effectiveness of whatever discard ban is introduced and that there is widespread support for the ban from the fishing nations of the EU and their fishermen.

"It is imperative that European fisheries ministers collectively take this progressive but challenging decision now and co-operate in agreeing appropriate and effective measures to eliminate discards with ambitious timelines."

Agreement in the council will free up the Irish presidency, on behalf of the council, to begin negotiations with the European Parliament and Commission to reach political agreement on a new reformed Common Fisheries Policy by June.

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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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