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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#MarineWildlife - The RSPB has welcomed the announcement of new marine protected areas for Northern Ireland this week.

“The formal designation of four new marine protected areas will help protect a range of vulnerable species and habitats - ranging from black guillemots to ocean quahog and seagrass meadows,” the wildlife charity said in a statement.

Among the new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) announced by Storming is an area near Rathlin Island off Co Antrim that’s the first in the UK to be set aside for a seabird species, the amber-listed black guillemot.

The other new zones announced include seagrass meadows in Waterfoot, also in Co Antrim, and the fragile ecosystem for sea pens in Carlingford Lough.

Also included among the new MCZs is the territory of ocean quahogs in outer Belfast Lough.

According to The Irish News, these clams are thought to have been thriving in the waters near the city for over 200 years - and individual clams could live for hundreds more.

The Stormont announcement comes a year after the new zones were first proposed for public consultation, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Angling - Northern Ireland’s new online fishing permit application system has “transformed” the industry, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The new NI government web portal, designed by Belfast firm Kainos with BT, enables anglers and commercial fishermen to apply for a range of permits and licences with the Inland Fisheries Group via a single channel.

Underpinning the service is a “shared management information system” that means less paperwork and increased efficiency for users and local permit providers alike.

Earlier this year, all paper-based angling permits in Northern Ireland were replaced by electronic records, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Pollution and poaching are a growing concern for anglers in the Carlingford and Lough Foyle areas, as Derek Evans reports in his latest Angling Notes for The Irish Times.

New figures from the Loughs Agency reveal a significant raise in pollution, the worst incident of which occurred this past August when hundreds of salmon fry were lost in a fish kill on the River Faughan, according to the Derry Journal.

In addition, the Loughs Agency report informed NI Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen of almost double the number of fishing gear seizures this year compared to 2015, as well as a sharp rise in court actions.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#BanríonUladh - A Northern Irish minister has sailed into stormy waters after rechristening a fisheries protection vessel from its Irish name to its English translation, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Banrion Uladh — which patrols the Irish Sea between Lough Foyle and Anglesey in North Wales — is now Queen of Ulster after the change by Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen, whose DUP expressed upset over the original naming of the vessel by then minister Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Féin in 2010.

The renaming, which was carried out during scheduled repairs, is cited as part of a move by Minister McIlveen’s department to a single-language policy in the new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Trident - Trident won't be coming to Northern Ireland - as there are no waters deep enough to host the nuclear deterrent submarines, according to one MLA.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken says that from his own experience, the region has no suitable deepwater ports or inlets necessary for the 150m-long Vanguard-class submarines in the Trident programme, which are currently stationed off western Scotland.

"It's not deep enough, we can't do it," he said. "I tried to bring my submarine, HMS Sovereign, to Belfast towards the end of its time.

"Because you need deep water at all states of the tide, even though entrance to Belfast Lough is dredged to 10 metres, it's not deep enough.

"You can't bring it into Larne because there is a rock sill coming into Larne Lough which you would have to blast out; same for Carlingford Lough, and Lough Foyle is too shallow."

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Lifeguards - RNLI lifeguards will commence full-time summer patrol on 10 beaches in Northern Ireland from next Saturday 25 June.

Following a busy period of intensive training in preparation for the new season, the lifeguards will be keeping visitors safe on seven beaches along the Causeway Coast and three in Co Down.

The beaches include Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart Strand, Portrush West, Portrush East, Whiterocks, Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield.

From next weekend, the RNLI will take up full-time daily duty on all beaches continuing to Sunday 4 September, when weekend duty will then resume on selected beaches throughout September.

Lifeguards will be on the beach daily between 11am and 7pm on the Causeway Coast and between 10am and 6pm in Co Down.

Speaking ahead of the new season, RNLI lifeguard manager Mike Grocott is encouraging those planning a visit to the beach this summer to bear in mind some key water safety messages.

"The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags," he says.

"Avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the coastguard."

The RNLI is running its annual national drowning prevention campaign Respect the Water throughout the summer months with the charity this year warning the public to watch out for key dangers that can catch people out in or near water.

Central to the campaign are the dangers that can lead to accidental drowning: cold water, unexpected entry into the water, and rip currents and waves.

Published in Water Safety

#RNLI - Newcastle RNLI brought two people to safety on Wednesday evening (1 June) after they got into difficulty off the Dundrum coast in Co Down.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted shortly before 8pm following a request by Belfast Coastguard that a vessel with two onboard had broken down in Dundrum Bay.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Niall McMurray with crew members Declan Barry and Karl Rooney onboard, launched within minutes to the incident. Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a flat, calm sea.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that the 17ft leisure craft had experienced engine failure. The crew checked that the two on board were safe and well before establishing a tow line and proceeding to bring the vessel safely back to Dundrum.

Speaking following the callout, McMurray said: "Thankfully both people were not injured and we were able to help bring them safely back to shore.

"We would encourage anyone planning to go in or near water especially during this hot weather spell to enjoy themselves but to always respect the water.

"Check your boat and equipment before every trip, carry a means of communication should you get into any difficulty and always wear a lifejacket."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Northern Ireland coastguard teams have taken part in a major rescue exercise The Gobbins in Co Antrim ahead of the cliff path's reopening this May Day weekend, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

As many as 50 volunteers from Kilkeel, Newcastle, Ballycastle, Coleraine and Portmuck carried out various cliff rescue exercises, including a mock evacuation of multiple casualties.

The path has undergone a number repairs after significant storm damage forced its closure in December, just months after the 'white-knuckle' attraction welcomed its first visitors since the 1950s.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#JamesEspey - Olympic Laser hopeful James Espey made time in his busy Rio 2016 training schedule for to help launch a new campaiign aimed at getting people involved in watersports, according to the News Letter.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Flow campaign is a partnership between SportNI and various sporting bodies that's encouraging water-based activities in the run up to September's European Week of Sport.

Watersports clubs around Northern Ireland will be offering taster events on the weekend of 14-15 May to get things running, and Espey is fully behind the initiative.

"This new Flow campaign is absolutely ideal for those with no background in watersports whatsoever," said the Olympian who still trains where he first learned to sail at Ballyholme.

“It will be a fantastic introduction for anyone wanting to get into water based activities across Northern Ireland.”

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Surfing - Surfers from across the North West paired up to take part in a unique event to raise money for mental health charity Aware NI last week.

The money raised at the tandem surfing competition, run by Portrush-based surfing school Troggs, will help Award NI provide vital services for people affected by depression across Northern Ireland.

Teams of surfers took to Portrush East Strand on Sunday 20 March to perform tricks and manoeuvres in pairs in an attempt to impress the experienced judges.

The tandem surfing competition, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, raised over £300 (€372) for Aware NI.

The event was the brainchild of Carl Russell, owner of Troggs Surf School, after some of his own clients recommended the benefits of surfers in overcoming the own depression.

“The idea came about from my brother Jamie Russell and I realising that we could experience surfing together on the same board when surf conditions weren’t favourable for our shortboards,” he said.

“We ended up having as much fun if not more tandem surfing as we did surfing normally. Then the link for the competition was made to show that the proven research that surfing helps depression is a real tool that can be used."

Russell explained that surfing "has had positive effect on people and clients of ours with mental health issues which is why we have chosen this charity, plus this professional organisation really helps people.

"We run custom surf programmes for groups affected by the issues mentioned. Our event is due to run again September-October 2016 and will be even bigger.

“Thanks to all our sponsors gregwallace.co.uk, garymccall.co.uk, couconoutdoor.com, Brew Note Portrush & AC Electronics Coleraine.

Only last year the French seaside town of Biarritz become the first in the world to prescribe surfing lessons as a way to treat depression to heart disease.

Some 20 doctors are taking part in a pilot scheme in Europe’s surf capital to encourage the notoriously pill-popping French to cut back on medication and take to the waves.

“Aware fully endorse the message that physical exercise cannot only improve your physical health but also your mental health,” said Kieran Hughes, fundraising officer at Aware NI.

“The benefits of physical exercise for mental health are widely recognised and surfing is one of the best examples of that. Participants are getting excellent exercise but also getting out in the open and close to nature which can only be a positive thing.

“We would like to sincerely thank Carl and everyone at Troggs Surf School for raising money for Aware. All the money raised will go towards Aware’s Support Services and education programmes to help people affected by depression across Northern Ireland.”

Published in Surfing
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