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Displaying items by tag: anchovies

Warm water anchovies and sprat are tempting pods of dolphins, fin whales and seabirds close to the south coast this week, with feeding frenzies reported in outer Cork harbour.

An estimated 50 to 60 dolphins have been sighted by several eyewitnesses off Myrtleville and Fountainstown and Roche’s Point over the past week.

The marine mammals have been joined by kayakers who have filmed the marine mammals flipping and jumping as they tuck into the “bait balls”.

“We’ve never seen dolphins in such large numbers before at this time of year,” Donal Kissane of Myrtleville said.

“They are particularly close at high tide, and it has been wonderful to watch,” Mr Kissane said.

Carrigaline resident Derek McGreevy photographed the pods from outer Cork harbour and said he estimated there were 50 to 60 common dolphins at times, with gannets competing for the fish.

The shoals of tiny fish are also drawing in fin whales off the south-east coast, with almost daily sightings of the second largest creature on the planet, according to Padraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The abundance of anchovies – a warm water species with higher value now, used in pizza toppings and pasta dishes – has been described as “astonishing” by Dr Kevin Flannery of Dingles’s Mara Beo aquarium.

Small numbers of anchovies have been identified in Irish waters before, with the first record being off Ventry, Co Kerry, in 1870. The fish also appeared off west Cork last January.

“We thought of them as vagrants, whereas this past week has seen astonishing numbers,” Flannery said.

The Marine Institute said that it was aware of anchovies appearing in these waters in small quantities since 2003, and has identified them up as part of its periodic groundfish surveys.

Mr Whooley said that the IWDG had received sighting reports of marine mammals this week extending from Kinsale to Roche’s Point to Myrtleville and up the river Suir estuary.

“It’s not unusual for this time of year, but it is still wonderful that people can see them so close to the coast, and from their houses in Dunmore East,” he said.

At least 1,000 tonnes of anchovies landed into Dingle last week were sent to fish meal, as there are no markets for anchovies in Ireland.

The IWDG has criticised this, stating that there is “no excuse for removing the base of our inshore food chains”, which could have long term catastrophic impacts on entire ecosystems.

Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue is currently appealing a recent High Court judicial review which overturned a ban on trawling by vessels over 18 metres inside the six-mile limit.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Sea temperatures may seem bracing for swimmers, but shoals of warm water anchovies have appeared in large numbers off the south-west coast.

“Astonishing” is how Kerry-based fish expert Dr Kevin Flannery describes the volume of tiny oily fish, widely used in Mediterranean cooking.

Flannery estimates that at least 1,000 tonnes of anchovies has been landed into south-west harbours over the past week by a number of Irish vessels fishing in Dingle Bay and off the Cork coast.

a truck waiting to take tonnes of warm water anchovies caught by Irish vessels in Dingle Bay for fish meal. (credit Nick Massett)a truck waiting to take tonnes of warm water anchovies caught by Irish vessels in Dingle Bay for fish meal. (credit Nick Massett)A truck waiting to take tonnes of warm water anchovies caught by Irish vessels in Dingle Bay for fish meal. Photo: Nick Massett

Small numbers of anchovies have been identified in Irish waters before, with the first record being off Ventry, Co Kerry, in 1870. The fish also appeared off Crookhaven, Co Cork last January.

“We thought of them as vagrants, whereas this past week has seen astonishing numbers,” Flannery said.

“There is an urgent need for the Marine Institute to analyse this and establish if it is a permanent trend, where perhaps the anchovies are displacing herring,” he said.

“There is also an urgent need for Bord Bia to develop markets for Irish boats catching these fish because at the moment there is no market and trucks are taking them for fishmeal,” he said.

Peru has one of the world’s largest anchovy fisheries, and the popularity of the fish as a pizza topping, in salads and with olives has increased the value of the catch.

EU quotas for anchovies have been set for Atlantic areas, mainly in the Bay of Biscay and west of Portugal, and there is no quota in Irish waters –making it an open fishery, according to the State’s Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).

“The SFPA is aware of the presence of these vessels in the Dingle area and is monitoring their activities in line with relevant regulations,” it said.

The Marine Institute said that it was aware of anchovies appearing in these waters in small numbers since 2003, and picked them up as part of its periodic groundfish surveys.

However, it said there was no evidence to date of abundance, or of spawning in Irish waters.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group noted that sending the catches for fish meal was a “poor use of forage fish”.

The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation said it was “wonderful to see these fish returning to our shores, and will give a big needed boost to our fishermen after the terrible year they have suffered from storms and collapsing markets due to the Covid pandemic”.

Anchovy are a species with a “low vulnerability and high resilience and as such can sustain high levels of fishing pressure,” according to the Marine Conservation Society.

“Recruitment of young fish to the stock is affected by environmental factors including climatic fluctuations. If recruitment is low and fishing pressure too high the stock becomes vulnerable to collapse,” it says.

“Anchovy are also a species at or near the base of the food chain and the impact of their large-scale removal on the marine ecosystem is poorly understood,” it says.

 

Published in Marine Wildlife

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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