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#FISHING – At the request of Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, the issue of overfishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroe Islands became a major point at today's EU Fisheries Council.

The EU Commission has been engaging with Iceland on the possible resumption of mackerel management negotiations. These talks aim at agreeing shares of the total allowable mackerel catch between the EU, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Minister Coveney insisted that the Commission should only agree a resolution to this issue which would not be damaging to Ireland's mackerel interests. It is imperative that the Commission take greater account of Ireland's dependence on mackerel fishing.

Traditionally Iceland has had no dependency on this stock and has not been part of a joint management and sharing arrangement but in 2011 landed some 23% of the recommended allowable catch. International scientific evidence suggests that there is now a very significantly reduced abundance of mackerel in the Icelandic zone so that the levels of mackerel share being demanded cannot be supported by any biological or zonal arguments.

At the meeting of EU Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries, Minister Coveney, while welcoming the continuing efforts being made to bring about a balanced solution, stated that "any scenario which would reward the unsustainable and opportunistic mackerel fishing by Iceland should not be supported". Mackerel has traditionally been Ireland's most important fishery, worth in the region of 120 million euro annually. Minister Coveney noted that "mackerel is the financial driver of our pelagic catching and processing industries. We have worked at EU level and with Norway to build up and sustainably manage this stock. I cannot justify a situation where Iceland and the Faroes could each end up with a disproportionate share of the mackerel stock, unjustified by scientific evidence or historic catches". The Minister went on to say that "a deal with Iceland alone will not save the stocks but could result in the permanent loss of EU jobs and economic activity in remote coastal areas and it is for those reasons that I am urging the Commission to agree a solution which will prevent this happening".

On a separate point, Minister Coveney made it clear to the Council that he would not support the commission's proposal to set quotas for the first time for sea bass, unless this took full account of the fact that Ireland has prohibited commercial sea bass fishing for almost two decades.

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#FISHING - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has announced a "substantial delay" before it publishes the licence application for the controversial proposed deep-sea fish farm in the Aran Islands, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Though publication was originally planned for the beginning of this month, BIM says it will be another four to six weeks before it will be made available, following "meaningful and informative feedback" from the public during the most recent round of consultations on the project.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm would be located off Inis Oírr on a 500-hectare site in Galway Bay, and would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, projected to be worth €103 million annually for the economy.

Approval of the project could see the creation of as many as 400 jobs.

But the scheme has faced opposition from local anglers who fear that the fish farm could have a detrimental effect on wild salmon numbers.

Noel Carr, secretary of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISTA), described the fish farm plans as his group's 'Alamo'.

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#FISH IRELAND EXHIBITION –Once again the premier fishing port of Killybegs, Co. Donegal is host to the Fish Ireland Exhibition (29-30 June) where the fish-catching and processing industry will be on display, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The exhibition is one of the few such shows to actually take place in the heart of a working fishery harbour. The location is also home to local leading equipment suppliers and service industries which are the main attraction to Fish Ireland.

For the last two decades the exhibition has been run every two years and is where fishermen and boat owners from all sectors - inshore, demersal, shellfish and pelagic meet exhibitors. The range of exhibitors covers products and services which allow for new technologies and to develop more sustainable and environmentally methods in friendly fishing techniques.

Added to the venue's apt setting on the main pier is where some of the nation's largest trawlers moor alongside 'Mediterranean' style, i.e. the sterns of the vessels berth at right-angles to the quayside. The berthing practice allows more vessels to be accommodated along the quayside as they moor parallel to each other.

Published in Fishing

#FISHING - A Donegal firm that leases fishing boats has reached a settlement of €3.39 million with the Revenue Commissioners over its failure to declare taxes, The Irish Times reports.

The settlement by O’Shea Fishing Ltd in Killybegs, which arises from the undeclaration of corporation tax, PRSI, and PAYE, is the largest on the quarterly list of tax defaulters published by Revenue earlier this week.

Second on the list is the settlement for €2.133 million for undeclared VAT on apartment sales by the construction firm owned by independent TD Mick Wallace.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

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#FISHING - 'Fish fight' campaigners have cautiously welcomed the EU Council's agreement to end the practice of fish discards, following marathon talks in Brussels.

BBC News reports on what Europe's fisheries ministers are calling a "breakthrough" deal, but one that environmentalists say is too much of a compromise for Europe's oceans.

Provisional dates are already been drawn up to see a ban on discards of mackerel and herring within two years, with a phased ban on discards of cod, haddock, plaice and sole given till 2018 for implementation due to the difficulties in avoiding accidental catch of those species.

Ministers also suggested that different regions of the EU should have more individual control over fisheries policy, and have given themselves till 2020 to end overfishing in European waters.

But Greenpeace and other environmental groups have criticised this timeline, as well as the "vague" wording of proposed limits on fishermen.

"There is a real risk that fish and fishermen are facing another 10 years of overfishing and stock decline, with real consequences for species like cod, hake and tuna," said Greenpeace's Willie Mackenzie.

The compromise deal comes some weeks after Afloat.ie reported plans by an alliance of EU member states to prevent the discards ban.

At present, half of all fish in the North Sea - and up to two-thirds in other areas - are thrown back under the quota system implemented under the EU's common fisheries policy. The practice was recently highlighted by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'Fish Fight' campaign.

The new agreement is still subject to more talks, and must also be passed by the EU Parliament and Commission.

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#FISH – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, in advance of discussions at the EU Fisheries Council, tabled an approach to end the current practice of discarding of fish at sea. Minister Coveney met fishing industry representatives today and discussed these proposals in advance of the EU Fisheries Council which takes place tomorrow Tuesday 12th June in Luxembourg.

The Fisheries Council will focus on ironing out outstanding political issues in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform package with the aim of achieving a General Council Approach in advance of future talks with the European Parliament. The Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is expected to be concluded during the Irish Presidency in the first 6 months of 2013. A key element of the reform is addressing the complex problem of fish discards.

The Minister explained that "while there is general political agreement at the Fisheries Council on the overall objective of gradually eliminating discards, the issue that must be solved is how do we practically achieve a new policy that involves arrangements that are practical from a fisherman's perspective". In order to find solutions, the Minister has tabled a new approach which takes into account the real practical difficulties for fishermen of changing practices, the economic impacts and other constraints which impact fishermen in mixed fisheries. The proposal involves delivering a progressive and phased approach to the obligation to land all catches of quota stocks in a mixed fishery context.

Minister Coveney explained "the approach I favour is focused on incentivising changes in fishing behaviour, reducing catches of juvenile fish and allowing fish stocks to grow over a set period. I believe that this approach stands the best chance of getting buy-in from fishermen and in this way effectively delivering more environmentally friendly fishing practices and sustainable fisheries".

On the overall prospects for tomorrow's meeting the Minister said "I am genuinely hopeful that we can reach a consensus at this Council and send out a strong political signal on the Council's vision for a new CFP in advance of the inter-institutional consultations which will follow over the coming months."

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#ISLAND NATION – The Commissioners of Irish Lights, the seafood industry and country's ports and shipping movements all provided indications this week of how important the marine sector is to this nation.

Twenty-one seafood companies are investing €15.5m. and creating 142 jobs at a time when Ireland needs employment. This how the seafood sector is developing. This investment follows investments of €7m. in 2011 and €2.7m. in 2010, all of which indicates a continuing path of development in the fishing industry.

Marine Minister Simon Coveney said the seafood sector is a high growth area of the economy: "The investment involves companies significantly growing their businesses and diversifying, which will lead to increased profitability and increased employment."

SEAFOOD DEVELOPMENT

Seafood developments

The companies are based in Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Louth and Kerry and their investment is being supported by grants of €3.2 million under the EU co-funded Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme which is administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara. BIM is the national fisheries board and its future has been under question in the review of State services. In my view it is time that the future of BIM was clearly and unambiguously stated. It is a necessary part of the fishing industry and must be maintained.

Details of the companies involved in the seafood development are attached at the end of this column.

Light On The Future

I met and interviewed Yvonne Shields several times when she was Director of Strategic Planning and Development at the Marine Institute, responsible for management of the National Marine Research Programme. She is the first lady to become Chief Executive of the Commissioners of Irish Lights. In the current edition of BEAM, the magazine of the Irish Lighthouse Service, she writes that Ireland is on the cusp of great developments in the nation's relationship with its marine resource.

YVONNE SHIELDS

Yvonne Shields CEO of Irish Lights

"These developments will bring great challenges and opportunities," she says, referring to the Government's consultation programme on harnessing Ireland's ocean wealth and securing part of what is a €1.3 trillion global ocean market. "At European level there is a renewed focus on the Atlantic and the need for an integrated strategy for its production and development. Ireland will be central to any Atlantic strategy as, in terms of seabed, we are one of the largest EU States with an area of 900,000kms containing many key resources."

When senior people in the marine sphere put emphasis in public on the importance of our marine resources the maritime sphere is enhanced.

SHIPPING

Bantry Bay Makes The Difference

Glenn Murphy, Director of the Irish Maritime Development Office, has always been clear in his view that the volume of shipping and port traffic indicates the state of the national economy.

"The Irish Ports and Shipping sector is heavily influenced by events globally. As the stability of the European economy remains fragile, uncertainty for Irish consumers and businesses will inevitably persist, which will be clearly reflected in freight volumes passing through Irish ports," he told the European Shortsea Conference in Dublin on Thursday when he said that the volume of shipping and port traffic through Ireland declined in the first quarter of this year.

Lift-on/Lift-off) trades were down 1%; Roll-on/Roll-off by 3%; Break bulk volumes down 4%.Total container traffic declined by one per cent.

BANTRY BAY - OIL TANKER TRANSHIPMENT

An oil tanker transhipment in Bantry Bay

There was growth in oil imports driven by Bantry Bay which recorded a marked increase at its international trans-shipment activity, a crude oil and products facility. Tankers are regular callers to Bantry and can be seen from the shoreside but probably pass unnoticed nationally. Liquid bulk volumes of tanker based petroleum products through Irish ports therefore increased by 30% in the first quarter of the year.

Repelling Pirates

The US-flagged Maersk Texas a container ship thwarted a pirate attack in the Gulf of Oman this week. An onboard security team fired warning shots when pirates in several boats approached the ship north-east of Fujairah. The pirates fired at the ship, but retreated when the security team opened direct fire on them. .

All sailors on board were safe, and the vessel proceeded on its voyage to the US, said Kevin Speers, a Senior Director of Marketing for the Maersk Line. The Iranian Navy issued a statement claiming it had repelled the pirates. Mr Speers said the ship had issued a distress signal and, while the Iranian navy responded, "it was never on scene, our own team dealt with the emergency."

FISHING

Decent Working Conditions

Representatives of the EU's employers and trade unions in the sea fisheries sector have signed an agreement to ensure that fishermen have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels. It lists minimum requirements for conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security.

SAILING

World's Oldest Junk

The world's oldest surviving Chinese junk returned home to Taiwan on Thursday, nearly 60 years after it set sail on a historic voyage to the United States. Called the Free China to mark Taiwan's severance from mainland China arrived in the northern port of Keelung aboard a cargo ship from San Francisco. It will be restored and displayed in a maritime museum in the city, said L.S. Lwo, Head of the Boat Restoration Project. The 100-year-old boat is believed to be the oldest surviving wooden Chinese sailing ship, or junk, in existence and the last of its kind, according to the Chinese Junk Preservation Society which has been trying to save it. The boat and its six crew left Keelung in 1955 to cross the Pacific during a yacht race and arrived in San Francisco after a 112-day voyage. The vessel, which was in need of an overhaul upon arrival, went through several owners and was left in a shipyard while it continued to deteriorate until Taiwan's government stepped in to save it.

OLDEST CHINESE JUNK

"We are happy that she has arrived safely," said Calvin Mehlert, an original crew member of Free China who has assisted in the junk's return to Taiwan. "We are pleased that Taiwan is going to restore this treasure," he said.

• The photo shows the "Free China" that set sail on a historic voyage from Taiwan to the US nearly 60 years ago.

Remembering Mario

Kinsale held the inaugural Mario Bertelotti Race last Friday night to remember their Club Steward whose kindness and courtesy always impressed when visiting the Kinsale clubhouse. Twenty-eight boats from five classes took part. The trophy was won by Johnny Godkin sailing Godot and presented by Patricia Bertoletti. Second were the MacCarthy Brothers in Mac Magic II. Rob Gill with his A Class came third.

mariobertoletti

(Above) The Bertoletti family with John Godkin winner of Mario Bertoletti Trophy and Cameron Good, Commodore KYC and (top) the late Mario

At an 'Italian evening' with the Bertoletti family and friends that followed, Commodore Cameron Good spoke about the late Mario and his contribution to Kinsale YC during his time as Club Steward.

WORLD'S GREATEST MARITIME DISASTER

The sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, which is being commemorated this centenary year is probably the world's most famous shipwreck, but it was not the biggest.

Wilhelm Gustloff

Wilhelm Gustloff sank in wartime

The wartime sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II, with the loss of 9,300 people in 1945 remains the greatest maritime disaster ever.

MARINE ENVIRONMENT

Sea level rise near Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific is estimated at seven millimetres per year, double the global annual average of 2.8 to3.6 mm.

BEARA'S NEW BOAT

While in Castletownbere on the Beara coastline in the past week I heard about the first vessel of its kind ever to be built in the area. The Orchid was constructed by Beara Iron Works of Eyeries for the Marine Harvest Company. A 15.6 metre work vessel, it will be used to service aquaculture facilities in the South West.

THE SEAFOOD COMPANIES INVESTING €15.5M

Beneficiary

 

Project Spend

 

Maximum Grant Approved

Sofrimar Ltd , Kilmore Quay Co. Wexford

 €        1,430,009

 €           357,502.25

Kilmore Fish Co. Ltd Kilmore Quay Co. Wexford

€           273,965

 €             63,408.25

Dunns Seafare Ltd Jamestown Business Pk., Finglas Dublin 11

 €           585,000

 €           146,250.00

Atlantis Seafoods Wexford Ltd. Kerlogue Ind. Estate, Rosslare Rd. Wexford

€             49,400

 €             12,350.00

Shellfish De La Mer, Dinish Island, Castletownbere, Co. Cork

€           488,980

 €           122,245.00

Rockabill Shellfish Ltd,  Stephenstown Ind. Estate, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

€           437,239

 €           109,309.73

Sean Ward Fish Exports Ltd. Killybegs Co. Donegal

 €           755,140

 €           188,785.00

Iasc Mara Teo. ,Rossaveal, Co. Galway

€           310,612

 €             77,653.00

Earagail Eisc Teo  Meenaneary Carrick Co. Donegal

 €           895,000

 €           223,750.00

Charlie Vial (Fish Merchant) Ltd, Dunkineely Co. Donegal

 €           303,256

 €             75,814.00

Premier Fish Ltd. Kinncaslagh Co. Donegal

 €        6,134,884

 €           887,193.90

Atlanfish Ltd  Malin Rd. Donegal

 €           148,000

 €             37,000.00

Proseail An Clochan Liath Teo. Meenmor Dunglow, Co. Donegal

 €           591,950

 €           147,987.50

Breizon Ltd, Rossaveal Co. Galway

€             12,500

 €               3,125.00

Keohane Seafood Ltd Unit 28, Kinsale Road, Ind. Estate, Kinsale Rd. Co. Cork.

€           255,000

 €             63,750.00

Kish Fish Ltd. Malahide Road Industrial Park Coolock, Dublin 17.

€             80,625

 €             20,156.25

Seafood Processors Ltd. T/A Morgans Fine Fish, Omeath, Co. Louth 

 €           235,963

 €             58,990.75

Good Fish Processing (Carrigaline) Ltd. Carrigaline Industrial Estate, Crosshaven Rd. Carrigaline Co. Cork

€           222,000

 €             55,500.00

Castletown Bere Fishermens Co -op Ltd Castletownbere Co. Cork.

€        1,400,000

 €           350,000.00

O Cathain Iasc Teo An Dangain, (Dingle) Co. Kerry

 €           715,000

 €           178,750.00

Ballycotton Seafoods Garryvoe, Co. Cork.

 €           219,563

 €             54,890.75

 

 

 

TOTAL

€      15,544,085

 €        3,234,411.38

 

 

 

 

Email your comments to: [email protected]

Published in Island Nation

#ISLANDNATION – The sinking of the Titanic in 1912, remembered so much this year in the centenary of the disaster, is probably the most well-known shipwreck, but it is not the greatest maritime disaster ever. If you want to know what that was, go to the full edition of THIS ISLAND NATION, where this week there is more about shipping, the marine environment, fishing and many other aspects of the maritime world. The great variety of the marine sector is what makes it so interesting to write about and report.

The announcement today that, with jobs needed, 21 seafood companies are to provide 142 in Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Louth and Kerry, underlines the importance of the fishing industry which should indicate its economic benefits. It is good to see the industry advancing.

The Irish Ports and Shipping sector is heavily influenced by events globally and, as Glenn Murphy, Director of the Irish Maritime Development Office has pointed out, when the volume of shipping and port traffic drops, that indicates the problems in the Irish economy. This is another example of how this nation depends on the sea. The latest figures were released to the European Shortsea Conference in Dublin yesterday.

Published in Island Nation

Simon Coveney, TD Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine today welcomed the publication of the 'Atlas of Irish Groundfish Trawl Surveys' which was presented to him by Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute today (Thursday 24th May).

The Atlas shows the key results from the Irish scientific surveys of the whitefish and deepwater fish stocks in Ireland's 200 mile Exclusive Fisheries Zone. The Atlas provides an overview of the distribution and abundance of adult and juvenile fish species in the waters around Ireland. Thirty two species are described including the main whitefish, midwater fish (herring, mackerel) and shark species caught on the Marine Institute's Groundfish Survey programme. Each species is summarised in terms of its distribution, biological characteristics and temporal changes in abundance.

"Irish Scientists have presented trawl survey data in a visual and non technical format that enables a wider audience to see the biodiversity of fish in Irish waters. This publication has made great strides in illustrating how scientific data can be used to examine the health of our marine ecosystem. Mapping our fish community enables us to have a better understanding of their role in the marine ecosystem. I would like to express my appreciation of the work on the ground in terms of surveys together with the compilation of this user friendly guide by Dr Heffernan and his team in the Marine Institute" explained Minister Coveney.

The Atlas is aimed at those involved in fisheries, environmental policy and management, the fishing industry, environmental Non Government Organisations (NGO's), scientists and the general public. Minister Coveney congratulated the Marine Institute on the Survey Atlas, which is the fourth in the series. Two case studies in the publication illustrate the application of survey data to traditional fisheries advice and to the new form of ecosystem advice that is required by numerous international agreements and under new EU legislation such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. "The Common Fisheries Policy reform agenda is currently under discussion by the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament and will continue into the Irish Presidency during the first six months of 2013. The Atlas series provides scientific information that we can all understand and will help inform the CFP debate as we strive to ensure stocks are fished in a sustainable manner." said Minister Simon Coveney.

Previously published atlases include: Commercial Fisheries around Ireland (2009); Atlas of demersal Discarding (2011); and the North Western Waters Atlas (2011).

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#ISLANDNATION – What the first woman Chief Executive of Irish Lights thinks about the Irish marine sphere; the first vessel of its kind built in Castletownbere; remembering Kinsale's Mario; China's oldest vessel; an 18th century Russian sailing ship takes to the seas again; decent onboard conditions for fishermen and the greatest maritime disaster ever. All these and more on tomorrow morning's edition of THIS ISLAND NATION on afloat.ie

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Page 41 of 51

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