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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the full details of a €17.8m Capital Investment Package for the ongoing development of Ireland's publicly owned fishery harbours and local harbour network .
In announcing the initiative the Minister said "I am delighted to announce the full details of my Departments €17.8m Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme for 2015. I have set aside €14.9m towards safety, maintenance and new development works at the six Fishery Harbour Centres at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Rossaveel and Killybegs, in addition to the completion of infrastructural improvement and storm damage repair works at North Harbour, Cape Clear which is also owned by my Department."
Flagship projects in the 2015 Capital Programme (see table1) include major dredging works at Dunmore East, the provision of small craft harbours and pontoons in Howth, Rossaveal and Killybegs, electrical upgrading in Castletownbere, and necessary remedial works to the main pier in Dingle. In addition, the Bull Nose Development and the Duffy's Pier storm damage repair projects at North Harbour Cape Clear are to be completed.
The Minister went on to say "I have also allocated €1.5m for a Local Authority Harbour Development and Marine Leisure programme in 2015, and as an exceptional measure I am also providing in the region of €1.4m to facilitate the completion of a number of Local Authority Storm Damage projects which were approved in 2014 as part of the Governments response to the extreme weather conditions in late 2013 and early 2014, but not completed by the Local Authorities in 2014 due to time constraints and other issues. My Department will be contacting the Local authorities regarding these schemes shortly."
The Minister concluded by saying "This is a significant level of investment in Ireland's publicly owned fisheries and local harbour network. It will continue the implementation of the Governments strategy to develop and improve the facilities at our Fishery Harbour Centres and other public harbours around our coast, benefitting a broad cohort of stakeholders including the fishing industry, seafood processing sector, other ancillary marine industries, marine tourism and leisure and the wider rural coastal communities".

Table 1- Fishery Harbour & Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2015

Location

Project

Department Approved Funding

Cape Clear, Co. Cork.

Bull Nose Development

€900,000

Duffy’s Pier

€900,000

Safety & Maintenance Works

€50,000

Disability Access Works

€10,000

 

Piers, Lights & Beacons

€136,000

All Fishery Harbour Centres

Safety and Maintenance

€1,440,000

Howth FHC

Traffic Management Works

€75,000

Provision of Small Craft Pontoon

€1,000,000

Site investigation for West Pier pontoon and Middle Pier upgrade

€150,000

Upgrading Electrical System – Phase 3

€150,000

Castletownbere FHC

Power points & Electrical Upgrade

€350,000

Sanitary Facilities Works

€90,000

Harbour Slipway – Phase 1

€400,000

Replacement of Water Network – Dinish Island- design

€20,000

Proposed Development South Side – Dinish Island- site investigation

€30,000

An Daingean FHC

Navigation Buoys Replacement

€130,000

Main Pier sheet pile Remedial Works

€200,000

Harbour Workshop and Marina Users Facilities Building - Design

€40,000

Upgrade Harbour Entrance

€150,000

Rossaveel FHC

Phase 2 Small Craft Harbour

€700,000

Construction of New Slipway – Design Phase

€70,000

Dunmore East FHC

Harbour Office Upgrade – Phase 2

€200,000

Breakwater design

€150,000

Traffic Management Plan

€15,000

Dredging Works

€6,500,000

Killybegs FHC

Improvement works to Shipyard Entrances

€40,000

Small Craft Harbour – Phase 2

€700,000

Provision of additional bollards

€60,000

Smooth Point Pier Extension – studies and preparation:

€175,000

Power Outlets - Boatyard

€40,000

 

Local Authority

Local Authority Harbour Development and Marine Leisure

€1,500,000

Local Authority Storm Damage

€1,400,000

Published in Coastal Notes

#soy – Yesterday's Afloat.ie/Irish Sailing Association annual sailing awards ceremony saw a remarkable gathering of talented boat people and their supporters and friends at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin to honour the Best of the Best in company with Minster for the Marine Simon Coveney. The Sailor of the Year title went to Anthony O'Leary of Cork and our all-conquering Commodore's Cup team, while the Youth Sailor of the Year is Laser Gold Medallist Finn Lynch of County Carlow, who currently sails from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, but started his stellar sailing career with the lakeside Blessington Sailing Club up in the Wicklow Hills.

In addition, Mayo Sailing Club was chosen from upwards of 80 training centres – both clubs and commercial ventures – as the Training Centre of the Year, while the venerable Royal Cork Yacht Club, currently led by Admiral Pat Lyons, assumes the mantle of ISA/Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2015 in continuation of an informal pioneering inter-club contest - dating back to 1979 - which will resume its long-established tradition of a proper handover ceremony for the coveted ship's wheel trophy in the winner's Crosshaven clubhouse as the new season gets fully under way.

Meanwhile, Afloat's W M Nixon performed as MC in yesterday's ceremony, and in doing so he was assisted by the discovery that the venue had unexpected historic links with some of the great figures in Irish sailing history, as he now explains.

The fine building of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland adds a bit of real class to the west side of St Stephen's Green, and it's almost exactly at the point which most of us think of as the absolute centre of Dublin, the very heart of the city where Grafton Street winds away from the Green's northwest corner.

Yesterday afternoon it became the heart of Irish sailing too, and we struck purest gold after reflecting that the only President of the RCSI of whom we had any knowledge of a strong sailing connection was Sir Thomas Myles.

Thomas Myles (1857-1937) was one of those larger-than-life characters who completely upset our perceptions of the Victorians as self-effacing and quiet people of an overly religious disposition. A Limerick Protestant who wore his faith lightly, he was a Home Rule supporter from an early age, and while studying medicine at Trinity College in Dublin he became a university boxing champion of such continuing power that at the age of thirty he went three rounds with the legendary prize fighter John L Sullivan.

Sailing was among his many sports, and as his reputation and income grew with his success as a surgeon, so too did the size of the yachts which he sailed from the Royal Irish Yacht Club on Dublin Bay. By the 1890s he was one of the most eminent surgeons in the city, and in a contest at the turn of the century he stood as firm favourite for the election to be the President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for the period 1900 to 1902.

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Thomas Myles around the time he was President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

But his opponent, one Dr Henry FitzGibbon, refused to accept the situation on the grounds that Myles' public involvement with the United Irish League would bring disrepute upon the college, and he went to court to argue his case that Myles shouldn't be allowed to stand for election in the first place .

Now it so happened that another keen sailing man, Walter Boyd of Howth (his son was to design the Howth 17s), was the judge who heard the case. Boyd is best known for his twelve years as a bankruptcy judge which resulted in the phrase "breaking Boyd's heart" becoming Dublinese to describe profligacy as referenced in Joyce's Ulysses. But in 1897 he had returned to more general cases, thus it was Boyd who heard the FitzGibbon/Myles case, and he threw out the plaintiff's arguments with such vigour that FitzGibbon was obliged to publish apologies and withdraw his candidature.

So when Thomas Myles became the president of the RCSI in 1900, it was an elevation which received much more than the usual attention around town. And in a style typical of the man, he set in motion the process whereby the College started to build itself the Grand Banqueting and Examination Hall, which is where the great and the good of Irish sailing were assembled yesterday.

The impressive new hall wasn't fully finished until 1904, but by that time its instigator had become Sir Thomas Myles Bt, as was the custom with retiring Presidents of the RCSI. Having seen the new building works under way, his retirement from office - though not from working as a surgeon - meant he'd more time on his hands, so he bought himself a great big ketch, the 121-ton Dorothy, which he cruised on the coasts of Europe.

But by 1910 or perhaps even earlier, he had downsized to the more workmanlike and manageable 60ft Chotah, which had been built in Brixham in Devon in the 1890s and was apparently not unlike a Brixham trawler, for the ever busy Wally McGuirk of Howth has discovered that she ended her days as an Arklow fishing boat.

The reason Wally and others are so interested in Chotah is that she is the missing link in the 1914 Howth and Kilcoole gun-runnings. We know all about the "flagship" of that event, Erskine and Molly Childers' Asgard, we know too about Conor O'Brien's ancient ketch Kelpie and have photos of her as well, and we even know a little bit about the Nugget, the McLaughlin family's boat which was the first fishing boat in Howth to be fitted with an engine.

But of the Chotah we know very little at the moment, but hope that the newfound Arklow connection will discover a photo. What is known is that when the gun-running committee sought to find a suitable vessel with auxiliary power to take over the cargo of 600 guns from Conor O'Brien's engineless Kelpie in order to land them on the beach at Kilcoole in County Wicklow, that pillar of society Sir Thomas Myles willingly agreed to bring Chotah in on the action. He and his crew took aboard the guns off St Tudwal's Island just south of Abersoch on the Welsh coast, and brought them across Channel to land at Kilcoole a few days after Asgard had made her much more high profile landing at Howth.

If you find all this insurgency activity by significant figures in Irish society a bit bewildering to comprehend in all its complexity, you ain't heard nothing yet. The Great War broke out just a few days later, and in a general mobilization Sir Thomas Myles Bt was soon appointed to being a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army in order that he could head up a large Royal Army Medical Corps medical and surgery unit in his hospitals and in the field.

Then in November 1914 – barely three months after he had been personally involved in smuggling guns into Ireland while evading the surveillance of His Majesty's Armed Services – Sir Thomas Myles was appointed Honorary Surgeon to King George V. Yet it's said that when the 1916 Easter Rising took place, he readily found the facilities to treat any wounded rebels, and even managed to hide those on the run in the rabbit warrens of hundreds of rooms which were to be found in the great Dublin hospitals under his supervision.

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Pillar of society. Sir Thomas Myles sailing with family and friends aboard his cutter Faith in the 1920s. Photo courtesy RIYC

So if you happened to notice me looking around in some wonderment at the stately and ordered design of the Banquetting Hall in the Royal College of Surgeons yesterday afternoon while I reflected on the man who had caused this very fine room and the handsome edifice about it to be built, now maybe you'll understand why. Yet such is the complexity of Irish sailing in its myriad of forms that it's arguably all of a piece with the extraordinary lifepath of people like Sir Thomas Myles, and the ISA President's speech captured some of the problems people face in trying to administer this weird sport of ours.

The new Sailor of the Year Anthony O'Leary wasn't present for the awards as he is currently in the midst of a long-planned sailing campaign in Florida. But for the actual handover, his place was well taken by his son Robert and RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, who was co-skipper of Quokka in the successful Commodore's Cup team.

Things could have become completely surreal as the President himself, David Lovergove, wasn't at the event as his flight home from America the day before had been cancelled because of exceptionally heavy snowfalls on the US East Coast. But ISA Board Member David O'Brien of Cork of gallantly stepped up to the plate to fulfill the Presidential role, and made a fine job of delivering a speech which well encapsulates what the day was all about:

"Flag Officers, distinguished guests and fellow sailors, you are all very welcome here this afternoon. In looking out over this friendly assembly - some of whom I know very well, many of whom I know quite well, and some of whom I don't know at all but am looking forward very much to meeting – it is clearly obvious that the sailing and boating community in Ireland is one of enormous diversity.

In fact, in thinking of the sheer range and varying levels of activities afloat which we in the ISA try to represent, I am reminded of President de Gaulle's exasperated comment about the difficulties inherent in trying to govern France: "How can you administer a country" demanded the frustrated General "which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?"

Our fellow members of the Irish sailing and boating community may well think that we on the Board of the Irish Sailing Association tend to see ourselves as the big cheeses among the many varieties. Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. Like yourselves, we could be described as the small artisan cheeses of sailing, with a strong local flavour. But it happens that it has fallen to us on the Board at this time, to undertake the task of re-shaping the Irish Sailing Association as it emerges rather bruised from the economic recession, and we need your help.

So I would ask you to be sympathetic to us in the administration of the Irish Sailing Association as we work to re-form our structures and implement our new Strategic Plan 2015-2020. It has been most encouraging the way that the Public Consultation Meetings in Dun Laoghaire, Cork and Galway in recent weeks have been so well attended, and from them we have gained very useful insights to work with you towards a productive, worthwhile and groundbreaking ISA Annual General Meeting on March 28th.

But that's another day's work. This afternoon, we are here for a celebration to honour Irish sailing and its many successes both individually and in team efforts through 2014. This function began as a thought in my mind when, during last summer, we were getting reports of fantastic results being achieved by Irish sailors and I felt that we, as the Board of the ISA, should recognize these achievements in some way. A reception was considered, then as Summer progressed and incredible achievements continued to roll in, I realized that such receptions would almost need to be held on a weekly basis.

So it was decided to wait until year end and combine the celebration of Irish sailing achievements with the presenting of the awards. Yet even that is a cause of concern. You see, in looking over the extraordinary listings for 2014, for the life of me I don't see how 2015 can even begin to match it. But as with 2014, doubtless this year will also produce some very welcome good news stories, and we look forward to the new season very much indeed, with the confidence that Ireland will continue to punch well above its weight in the world of sailing.

The structure of this afternoon's awards ceremony will help you to form a comprehensive picture of the entire Irish sailing and boating scene. Most appropriately, we will begin with the award for the ISA Training Centre of the Year, which we reckon to have been the best in 2014 from a lineup which includes an impressive 80 training facilities, run both in clubs, and as commercial ventures.

It's also worth noting that there are now 24 secondary schools in Ireland, which include sailing as a sports option in their curriculum. A while ago, I visited Schull Sailing School and was bowled over by the fact that the children in the local school select sailing as their sport of first choice, ahead of rugby, soccer, Gaelic football, hurling, hockey etc. Now that is some achievement. This is clearly a step in the right direction, and it leads us to the next part of our ceremony, the award for the ISA Youth Sailor of the Year.

Having laid the foundations, so to speak, we then move on to the announcement of the ISA/Mitsubishi Motors "Sailing Club of the Year" award. The demographics and population spread of Ireland are such that our sailing clubs play the key role in most of our sailing development, and as we had the world's first sailing club in 1720, our clubs are literally world class.

We not only invented sailing clubs, but back in 1979 we became the first sailing country in the world to have an informal "Club of the Year" competition. Since 1986, it has been sponsored by our very good friends of Irish sailing at Mitsubishi Motors.

We feel that today's national gathering is the appropriate time to announce the winner, which will be known as the Sailing Club of the Year 2015. But in time-honoured tradition, as the new season gathers pace, there will be another ceremony in the winning clubhouse for the full and final handover of the historic ship's wheel trophy, when the members can share in the successes obtained by their top competitors and administrators.

With this framework of Irish sailing clearly in place, we then conclude with the peak of achievement, the ISA/Afloat "Sailor of the Year 2014". Afloat's ownership of this award – based on Sailor of the Month winners - has a long history, going back to 1996, and it successfully highlights achievement in every area of sailing.

One month, you might get an exceptional voyage honoured, while the next month it might be a major international dinghy championship victory. The diversity is total. And just occasionally, to emphasise that we are a community, which functions afloat and ashore, the monthly award might go to someone who has given selflessly of their time for sailing administration.

The overall national award will be presented to the person who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most notable results in, or made the most significant contribution to Irish sailing during 2014.

The boating public has had a chance to nominate their top three through an online poll, Afloat.ie got a vote too and the Sailor of the Year judges have decided the final winner.

I cannot conclude without acknowledging our sponsors. In addition to those mentioned here today – Dublin Port, Parasol and Mitsubishi Motors - I also want to thank Providence Resources for their contribution to the high performance squad. However, it is the incredible support that we receive from the Irish Sports Council that allows us to function and without whose support we would not have nearly as much to celebrate today as we have. Year after year the Sports Council continues to support sailing and behalf of Irish sailors, I thank you most sincerely".

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The men who raced the open ocean. At the reception in the RCSI were (left to right) Dickie Gomes (Sailor of the Month for May 2014), Caroline Coyne, and her husband Liam Coyne (Sailor of the Month for August 2014). Both Dickie and Liam have sailed short-handed Round Britain and Ireland Races with success, the former in 1982 and the latter in 2014. Liam Coyne topped the Afloat.ie online poll for 2014. Photo: W M Nixon

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Josephine Keller, Aisling Keller, Ann Carroll, Nicole Hemeryck and Oisine Hemeryck 

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Conor Quinn and Adam D'Arcy

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Pat O'Neill and Charles Seargent

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Matt McGovern, Ryan Seaton and Saskia Tidey

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 Charles Sargent, Brian Craig and Paddy O'Neill

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Jack Roy, David Vinnell, and Ron Hutchieson

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John D'Arcy, Kate D'Arcy, Imelda D'Arcy and Adam D'Arcy

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Hal Bleakley and Padraic O Brolchain

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Ian Dickson, Andy Johnston, Jim Lampkin  and Jane Johnston

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Isabella Morehead, Claire Burke and Muireann Guifoyle

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Tony O'Driscoll and David Metcalfe

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Sandra Wynne and Edwin Fay

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Brian Craig and Kieran Mulvey, Chairman, Irish Sports Council

Published in W M Nixon

#soy – The new stars of the Irish sailing firmament are Anthony O'Leary (57) of Cork and the successful Commodore's Cup team. In a gala ceremony in Dublin this afternoon to celebrate the many achievements of our sailors in 2014, O'Leary and his team mates were applauded as the crème de a crème, reflecting his own insistence throughout the exemplary Commodore's campaign that it was only by a close-knit group effort that success could be obtained.

The sharing of the award - presented in a crowded gathering of Ireland's diverse sailing community in the Royal College of Surgeons by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney on behalf of the Irish Sailing Association and Afloat.ie - proved to be doubly appropriate, as O'Leary himself could not be present owing to a longterm commitment to a week-long sailing campaign currently under way in Florida.

However, his son Rob – a former Sailor of the Month himself - accepted the Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month award for June 2014 on his father's behalf. That award was to celebrate Anthony O'Leary's success in being the overall winner of the British Open IRC Championship.

But after that, his personal achievements continued at a high level throughout the season, as he became the Helmsmans Champion 2014 early in September racing with the J/80s in Howth, and then later that same month he won through to be the 1720 National Champion racing in Baltimore.

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Anthony O'Leary (right) and his crew Dylan Gannon (left) and Dan O'Grady celebrate All Ireland victory off Howth in the Helmsmans Champs. Photo: Jonathan Wormald

That this all occurred within weeks of his brilliant leading of the Commodore's Cup team during the last week of July gives some indication of the enormous contribution made by Anthony O'Leary to Irish sailing during 2014.

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1720 National Champions – Anthony O'Leary's Antix crew in winning form again off Baltimore. Photo: Aedan Coffey

 

But as the Commodore's Cup win also saw the Afloat.ie International Award for July being made to the entire team, the Sailor of the Year 2014 was jointly presented to Rob O'Leary standing in for his father, and to Michael Boyd, recently elected Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, who was one of the Irish skippers in the superb Commodore's Cup team.

It is the second time the Crosshaven skipper has won the Irish Sailor of the Year title, he lifted it first in 2010.

Published in Sailor of the Year

#ilen – As previously reported by Afloat.ie, the good ship Ilen's whiskey plank was jointly nailed home by Minister For The Marine, Simon Coveney, Mrs Kate Jarvey of Ruth Lily Philanthropic Trust, Mr Gerry Boland of JP McManus Charitable Foundation, Rear Admiral Mark Mellett, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces and Gary MacMahon, director of Ilen School.
Minister Simon Coveney praised the educational model of the Ilen School and the quality of it's community work. He also delighted in the high quality of shipbuilding in the ongoing reconstruction of the good ship Ilen.
As a sailor of wooden boats he related his deep appreciation and enthusiasm for the great traditions of vernacular boatbuilding, and further added that there should be many ships in the style of the Ilen plying a new contemporary trade in community education and national tourism on the south and west coast of Ireland. He also remarked on the unique capacity of boats to unit coastal community – in this particular case the communities of Limerick City and Baltimore, West Cork.
– Over 150 guests attended the ceremony in the Cornstore of Hegarty's Boatyard, leaving little room to swing the custom cast bronze maul.
– Brother Anthony Keane of Glenstal Abbey, director of Ilen School, was MC for the occasion and gave a wonderful and numenious address, evoking the great sea myths of Ireland, and, in the immemorial custom of boatbuilding, doused the wooden hull with Irish whiskey, generously sponsored by Teeling Whiskey.
Michael Byrne of Sail Training Ireland also attended the ceremony – his organisation plan to extend their national sail training programme to include youth in Limerick this year in a joint venture with the Ilen School, and go on to place trainees on the Ilen, when with a fair wind she might enter her operational phase in 2017.
The event was also attended by participants and instructors from the Ilen School, the shipwrights of Hegarty's Boatyard, Oldcourt as well as many officanados from the maritime sphere.
The event was also attended by Tom MacSweeney, who interviewed and recorded the principal project personalities for his maritime radio programme This Island Nation.

Published in Ilen

#ilen – Simon Coveney T.D. Minister for Agriculture, Food & The Marine and Minister For Defence will hammer home the final 'whiskey plank' of European larch on the hull of the good ship Ilen on Monday, 16th February.

The whiskey plank is the final crafted plank nailed to the hull of a wooden sailing ship. It is a significant milestone in the build and is traditionally marked by a celebration.

The Ilen is the last of Ireland's traditional sailing ships. Built in 1926, it was delivered by Munster men to the Falkland Islands where it served valiantly for seventy years, enduring and enjoying the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties.

Returned now to Ireland and given a new breath of life with powerful ribs of grown Irish oak, and long planks of European larch from our gallant allies in the Bavarian Alps, she pitches impatiently in the trammels of the great Corn Store in Hegarty's Boatyard, as eager as a young salmon to get to the sea.

Published in Ilen

#whitefish – The Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, took part in 'very difficult' fishing meetings yesterday on the deep cuts to white fish quotas proposed by the Commission which continued late last night.

Early morning meetings continue on difficult negotiations on quota allocations.

The Minister is insisting on a fair deal for Irish fishermen and a responsible science based deal for fish stocks.

The Minister stated that he is refusing to compromise on protecting the livelihoods of fishermen, when there is strong science to back up the Irish position.

There may be agreement late this afternoon / early evening but it is too early to accurately predict according to the Minister.

Published in Fishing

#whitefish – Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney TD., has expressed his serious concern at the major threat to Irelands' whitefish fleet, ahead of the upcoming EU Fisheries negotiations in Brussels. The Minister said that the Commission had produced a devastating and unnecessary set of the most severe whitefish quota cuts.
Minister Coveney said today that "If the Commission's quota proposals remain unchanged, we are facing an overall 20% cut to our whitefish and prawn quotas for 2015. In the Celtic Sea, the Commission wants to dramatically cut the key whitefish stocks on which our fleet are dependant".
The Commission's proposal is to cut Cod by -64%, Haddock by -41%, Pollack by -20%, Skates & Rays by -20%, Whiting by -14%, Monkfish by -12% and Hake by -4%. Minister Coveney said "There are also a number of other stocks where cuts of up to 20% are proposed without an acceptable justification. These levels of cuts are not justified and are not acceptable".
The Minister added that "I presented the scale and implications of these cuts to the joint Oireachtas Committee last week. (The Whitefish Fleet is facing a loss of 5,500 tonnes of whitefish quotas if the Commission's proposals are not modified at Council). The level of cuts proposed for the whitefish fisheries are extremely worrying. What is really unacceptable to me is the fact that many of these cuts are based on a very narrow interpretation of the available scientific advice and are, in my view, completely unjustified. I can accept reductions to quotas to protect the long term sustainability of our stocks but I will not accept scientifically unnecessary cuts that would undermine the sustainability of our fishing communities."
The Minister went on to say "I am frustrated with the Commission's whitefish quota proposals and I will, with the support of our industry representatives, other stakeholders and our scientists be arguing forcefully throughout the Council for a rational application of the scientific advice."
The Minister added that "I find it especially unacceptable that, in the context of the new Common Fisheries Policy and in particular the impending ban on discards, the Commission are taking such a rigid approach to the setting of quotas for 2015."
The Minister explained that " I am committed to setting quotas in accordance with Maximum Sustainable Yield (fMSY) but, in line with the agreement I brokered on the new Common Fisheries Policy, we must phase it in where it's immediate application would seriously jeopardize the social and economic fabric of the fishing fleets impacted. The Commission proposals assume its immediate application irrespective of the socio economic implications. This is not acceptable"
The Minister will attend the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels from the 15th to the 16th of December, where quotas for the Irish fleet for 2015 will be determined. The proposals put forward from the Commission impact the Irish white fish sector in particular with severe cuts in many stocks of vital importance to Ireland. The Commission has proposed cuts to pelagic stocks such as herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and boarfish. The Minister, working with our industry, is willing to accept these cuts on the basis they are justified on the available scientific advice.
Concluding, Minister Coveney said "This is my fourth December Fisheries Council and each year it seems to get more difficult. This year looks like being the most difficult one yet. I am extremely worried that despite our collective efforts we will be presented with a fait accompli of the worst set of cuts to our quotas in recent years. I will work as hard as I can with industry and other stakeholders, as well as important Member States such as France, the UK and Spain, to try and avoid that outcome. I am however very concerned that this will be an uphill task given the scale of the whitefish cuts being proposed."

Published in Fishing

#fisherynegotiations – Ireland, on behalf of the European Union, is hosting important fisheries negotiations between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and Ireland at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. These negotiations, on the annual fishing arrangements for 2015 between the European Union (EU) and Norway, commence at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty on Monday the 1st of December.
Minister Simon Coveney stated "I very much hope that we will have a successful outcome on the exchange of fishing quotas and access arrangements which will enable the finalisation of quotas for other stocks such as Blue Whiting off the north west of Ireland and the Herring in Norwegian waters which are of major importance to our west coast pelagic fishing fleet and fish processing plants in Donegal. My delegation will be pursuing Ireland's interests to the utmost during the talks."
Over seventy delegates from across Europe and Norway will meet at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty for the week long talks.
These negotiations cover a wide range of fish stocks across the North East Atlantic which are jointly managed by and shared between Norway and a range of EU Member States.
Economically, these negotiations are amongst the most important for the EU fishing industry, and this final round will focus on setting Total Allowable Catches for 2015 for a range of stocks, the sharing of these stocks between the parties and substantial quota swops between the EU and Norway as well as access arrangements to each of the respective areas for the parties. The outcome has a very direct effect on the opportunities available to Irish fishermen in 2015.
The Minister went on to say that "Once again, the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty is the venue of choice to host these important international talks and helps in the overall aim of emphasizing Ireland's positive and proactive role within the European Union. Over seventy international delegates arriving in Clonakilty for a week in December will also bring a welcome boost to the local economy".

Published in Fishing

#corkharbour –  International yachting star Alex Thomson told an IMERC conference in Cork last night of the yachting opportunities for Cork Harbour. "I am delighted to be visiting Cork and working with the harbour here. I see Cork as a fantastic location for a global yacht racing hub with a perfect harbour allowing protection and natural depth as well as direct access to the Atlantic, the British sailor told the conference. 'We hope that we can support the growing ambition to develop something fantastic here in Cork harbour." The manager of Alex's team, Stewart Hosford added that "We are in discussion with Imerc to see how we can support Minister Coveney's ambitions for Cork Harbour. As a young boy who grew up sailing in Cork Harbour I am very excited about the opportunities for Cork and Ireland."

Last night's conference also heard that Ireland has a huge wave energy resource off its western coast with marine renewable energy potentially providing four times the amount of energy Ireland requires. Many companies are innovating in this space trying to find the technology that will harness the wave energy to make this a reality. Imerc is delighted to announce that one of those companies, Irish wave energy company Jospa, have won the Imerc Innovator of the Year Award.

Jospa have developed an Adjustable Break Fin technology that may double the output from wave energy devices at marginal extra cost. Jospa's technology could be the breakthrough wave energy needs if it is to meet its promise. A panel of high profile judges representing government and industry selected Jospa as the winner of the award.
Ian Venner, Partner at EY, who was a judge for the competition, said "Like all great innovations, the Jospa innovation is very simple but has the potential to have a profound impact on the wave energy sector. I will certainly keep an eye on how they progress over the coming months and years."
Joss Fitzsimons of Jospa, who design and make their own models and test equipment, said "The Imerc award is important for us as an acknowledgement of attainment through our careful progress. Good planning and engineering make it possible to approach success in wave energy without spending astronomic amounts. Based on a still-modest valuation, Jospa seeks investors of quite small amounts."

Published in Cork Harbour

#budget2014 – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD today announced details of his Department's 2015 budget. Emphasising that despite the fragile recovery in the economy, he had secured an increase in funding for the first time since 2009. Included in the funding of the Marine sector is the sum of €11.5 million devoted to the new seafood development programme 2015, while a further €11.5 million of capital funding will be invested in fishery harbour capital works, which not only adds value and improvement to these harbours but also contributes heavily to the local economies of the areas concerned. Some €6.3 million is allocated to investments in aquaculture and fish processing projects, while close to €47million is allocated to fund the marketing and development functions of BIM, the research role of the Marine Institute and the regulatory and control functions of the Seafood Protection Authority.

Published in Budget
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