Displaying items by tag: Saltee Islands
#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed signed into law conservation measures concerning Irish velvet crab stocks as he hosted the 12th meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) today, Wednesday 27 September.
The Inshore Fisheries Forum structures, which include the NIFF and six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs), were established in 2014 to foster stakeholder-led development of proposals for the inshore fishing sector.
As well as moved to protect Irish velvet crab, the minister also introduced measures to regulate fishing activities affecting Natura 2000 sites at Hook Head and the Saltee Islands.
Regulations signed by Minister Creed today will introduce a Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) of 65mm for velvet crab that will apply to Irish sea fishing boats from 1 January 2018.
This measure was initially developed by the West Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum (RIFF) with advice from the Marine Institute. The proposal was brought to the minister last year by the NIFF, and a public consultation on the measure was held at the end of 2016.
Velvet crab are fished all year, but mainly in the March to October period, and they are predominantly a by-catch in the lobster fishery. Landings of velvet crab into Ireland were 406 tonnes in 2015, higher than any year since 2004, and were valued at just under €808,000. Over 80% of velvet crabs are landed by vessels less than 10 metres in length.
Additionally, a Fisheries Natura Declaration signed by Minister Creed today will restrict fishing using dredge and trawling gear for scallop fishing to protect certain sensitive habitats in Natura 2000 conservation sites off the southeast coast of Wexford from 30 November.
The Natura 2000 sites include the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs (Special Areas of Conservation). The declaration also sets down monitoring and notification requirements for boats fishing using dredge and trawling gear within these habitats.
These gear and monitoring measures were developed through industry members working with the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to address risks to sensitive habitats in the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs. The risks were identified by the Marine Institute in a 2014 risk assessment report of sea-fishing activities in Natura 2000 sites in the Irish Sea.
Industry members – including individual scallop fishermen, members of the Southeast RIFF and representatives of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (ISEFPO) – met with the Marine Institute and BIM through 2015 and 2016 to develop risk mitigation proposals for the fishery. A public consultation on the resulting Mitigation Response Plan was carried out in 2016.
These measures are being introduced following full consultation with the Inshore Fisheries Forum structures.
“Heading into their third year, the forums have taken a lead in tackling conservation issues and changing practices with a view to long-term sustainability,” said Minister Creed. “I welcome the support these measures have received from the Forums which reflects the mature approach this sector is taking in dealing with its own challenges.”
Minister Creed and the NIFF discussed the implementation of the new measures and the status of other measures under review for important stocks such as lobster, brown crab and razor clams.
The minister also discussed the impact of Brexit on the fishing sector and the UK’s intention to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, which governs access to waters inside the 12-mile limit.
Commenting on issues arising for the sector from Brexit, Minister Creed noted: “While the implications of Brexit are far from clear at this point in time, I will continue to highlight Irish fisheries concerns on the EU agenda and work with other impacted EU member states and the Barnier team to ensure that fisheries are not isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”
#Fishing - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport reminds fishing vessel operators to monitor their bilge spaces prior, during and after voyages.
It is also essential that bilge alarms are tested regularly, to determine that both the audible and visible alarms are working.
In addition, it is good practice to regularly inspect bilge suction strainers to ensure they are clean and ready for use.
The official MCIB report into the incident was unable to determine the exact cause of water flooding the boat's bilge and engine area as it was not recovered from the sea bed, though it is presumed to be a serious failure of the seawater cooling system.
One man died by drowning but nine others were rescued after a five-hour ordeal at sea when their leisure craft was swamped in the channel between the islands, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
According to the official report on the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), the 21ft Dory named 'Jillian' was already low in the water when it set out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford on the afternoon of Saturday 29 August 2015 with its owner-skipper and nine passengers on board.
Shortly before 7pm, as the boat passed through the channel in what are commonly choppy waters towards fishing grounds south of Great Saltee, witness reports said that a wall of water came over the bow, forcing through the acrylic glass windows of the wheelhouse and flooding the cabin.
Before efforts could be made to bail out the boat or use the fixed VHF radio in the wheelhouse, the engine stopped and more water flooded in, causing the vessel to capsize quickly.
One passenger was trapped under the hull but was rescued moments later by one of the others, and all but one managed to climb onto the upturned hull.
With no handheld radio or EPIRB on the boat, the skipper and his passengers were unable to call for help. A flare found by one of the survivors was discarded as none knew how to operate it and feared injury in doing so.
Many hours later at midnight, as the group were having difficulty staying on the upturned hull, they attracted the attention of the Saltee Islands ferry which had joined the search party with the Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard minutes before.
Within 20 minutes all 10 casualties had been taken aboard the ferry, but one was quickly transferred to the Kilmore Quay lifeboat when his health appeared to be failing.
Despite the swift actions of the lifeboat crew and the personnel of coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 who continued CPR, the man was pronounced dead on arrival at Wexford General Hospital.
The investigation later determined that the skipper did not know the maximum load capacity of his vessel, though it was built before such information was made mandatory for the maker's name plate.
It was therefore judged likely that the additional passenger weight caused the boat to sit low in the water, making it vulnerable to breaking waves in the rougher waters between the Saltees.
In addition, if the boat had carried a handheld radio or EPIRB, or had anyone on board knowledge of how to use a flare, it's likely that the party could have been rescued earlier, the report concluded.
#MCIB - Wearing a personal flotation device could have helped save the life of a fisherman whose body was found at the Saltee Islands off Co Wexford this summer months after his disappearance, according to marine accident investigators.
As RTÉ News reports, the body of Paddy Barry, 56, was discovered on the shore of Great Saltee Island on 4 May more than five months after his fishing vessel, the MFV Leonora Jacinta, was found south of the island with no one aboard on 25 November 2013.
The official report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) established that Barry, a part-time fishermen who could not swim, had set out from Kilmore Quay alone on the morning of his disappearance to lift and bait lobster pots, and retrieve a string of fouled pots close to Shoal Rock.
It was at the latter location where his boat was last seen headed at 11am, but around 11.50am a passing fishing vessel noted that Barry's boat had been stationary in that spot for some time.
Another vessel approached some 30 minutes later and found that the Leonora Jacinta was secured to a line of pots with its engine idling and its pot hauler set in neutral.
Lifeboat and coastguard teams were contacted immediately and began what became a 26-day search by land, sea and air around the area where the Leonora Jacinta was found, but the operation was stood down on 22 December due to deteriorating weather conditions.
According to the MCIB report, witnesses familiar with Barry confirmed that two personal floatation devices (PFDs) found on the Leonora Jacinta were the vessel's only PFDs – and indicated that Barry preferred not to wear one when he was working, against the Code of Practice for Fishing Vessels.
It was also found that the boat's gunwale was only half a metre high at the pot hauler, giving little stability in that deck position. Though not against regulations, it suggests that Barry could have been pitched overboard by the vessel lurching in even a slight swell.
In such an event, strong currents in the area could have carried Barry some two miles northeast of the boat within two hours, and lacking a lifejacket it would have been extremely difficult both for him to stay afloat and for rescuers to spot him.
Had he been wearing a PDF "it is likely that he would have remained on the surface and been visible to the search teams, which could have led to an early recovery," says the report – which also recommends amending the Code of Practice to set a minimum height for bulwarks, guard rails and hand rails.
The full MCIB report on the MFV Leonora Jacinta incident is available to download below.
The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat shortly after 4pm following a Mayday report that a small fishing vessel with two people on board was sinking southwest of the Saltee Islands.
Weather conditions at the time were described as overcast with a force three wind blowing.
The two casualties managed to evacuate the sinking boat onto a liferaft before being rescued by another vessel that was in the area at the time. The men were then transferred to the lifeboat and brought safely back to Kilmore Quay harbour.
The accident that left four divers stranded off the Wexford coast last weekend was caused by damage to their boat's hull.
Divernet reports that the accident occurred when a section of tubing at the RIB's bow broke away from the hull.
The divers were rescued at 6am on Saturday morning near the Saltee Islands, where they were found clinging to their upturned RIB.
Dramatic video of the divers' rescue was posted earlier this week on Afloat.ie.
The first in a new series, The Sea Road, following classic Irish sea kayaking routes in The Irish Times takes Gary Quinn to the Saltee Islands.
Setting out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford in a group of seven, the forecast of four four winds with rain, fog and thunderstorms is concerning, but not enough to hold Quinn back. And when they finally pierce the fog to land on Little Saltee, it's all worth it.
"The fog lifts, the sun breaks through and, stepping up off the beach, a carpet of bluebells appears to bloom, almost before our eyes," writes Quinn.
The Irish Times has more on Gary Quinn's Saltee Islands visit HERE.
Three anglers were recovered by the Kilmore Quay lifeboat last weekend after an engine failure on their vessel close to the Saltee Islands.
SAR Ireland reports that three males were on board the cheekily named Crafty Bitch on a fishing expedition when they got into difficulty.
They were forced to raise the alarm by phone as there was no VHF radio on board. The absence of radio and GPS made locating the vessel "very difficult", but the boat was eventually found after some delay and towed to port. All on board were wearing lifejackets.
Boat anglers are reminded to ensure they have at a bare minimum a VHF radio and GPS locator on board, as mobile phone signals can be unreliable offshore.