Displaying items by tag: Fishing
#THIS ISLAND NATION – The best news for maritime Ireland this week, in my view, was the abandoning of a proposal which could have wiped out the Irish family tradition in fishing.
European bureaucrats have made a shambles of the fishing industry with convoluted regulations and proposals. Fishermen were not properly consulted and the result has been the present mess of the Common Fisheries Policy. There are reasons to believe that EU fisheries officials would prefer a single, centrally-registered and controlled European fishing industry. Introducing ITQs - tradeable fishing quotas - would have facilitated this, allowing big fishing companies to buy up quotas and force smaller, family operators out of business.
Denmark has first-hand experience of this happening. It introduced the system in 2003 and today, according to figures from the Institute of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen, 106 fishing vessels catch 90 per cent of all Danish fish. It was the Danish Presidency which went against the Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki and her officials this week, recommending that each Member State should implement its own management structure for quotas and ITQs should be abandoned.
Marine Minister Simon Coveney saw the dangers which ITQs would have caused to Ireland and fought against their introduction from the outset, having been briefed by the fishing industry. "Privatising fish quotas would have been a serious threat to the economic survival of our coastal communities," he said. "If quotas were traded on the open market they could be bought by international corporations and would no longer be landed into Ireland. This would directly threaten economic activity in our main fishing ports with loss of jobs not only in the fleet but also in fish processing."
EU fisheries officials and their desire for conformity contradict another EU commitment - to the preservation of peripheral communities. Coastal, fishing communities are vital to this nation as is the fishing industry.
Denmark has reduced the maximum share a single fisherman may hold to five per cent of the cod quota and 7.5 per cent of plaice to prevent quotas becoming too concentrated in the hands of too few fishermen. This followed advice that the transferable quota system had reduced competition and allowed a handful of companies to wield too much control.
The International Harbour Masters' Association met in Cork this week, discussing whether ports could be managed without marine experience.
The role of the Harbour Master in port management and development, the legal powers of the office in today's commercial environment, the decline of nautical expertise in shipping and the port industry, competition between ports,
International harmonisation of port rules, regulations and procedures, cost-cutting and its effects on safe operations in the ports, were amongst the topics debated.
Harbour Masters' work reviewed in Cork
The Nautical Institute, which is celebrating 40 years' in existence, is the international representative body for maritime professionals and has a strong presence in Ireland.
Captain Jim Robinson, retired from the Naval Service here, is the Institute's President.
It operates a distance learning certification scheme for Harbour Masters and has published the third edition of its book, 'The Work of the Harbour Master,' which reflects the diversity of the job.
CRUISE SHIP SAFETY
Writing in the May edition of SEAWAYS, the journal of the Nautical Institute, a former UK Royal Naval Commander calls for an inquiry into passenger safety at sea, following the several incidents this year aboard cruise ships.
"About a year ago I drew attention to the increasing size of cruise ships, leading to passenger numbers that had increased to a level which could not be managed in an emergency," says Cdr.J.A.Holt, MBE., in an interesting letter to the journal reflecting increasing concern about the issue.
"The concept of the ship being its own lifeboat has been utterly discredited. There is no such thing as an unsinkable ship, nor a shipping company who can guarantee immunity from human error or equipment failure. A thorough enquiry into passenger safety at sea is now demanded and perhaps it would be appropriate for The Nautical Institute to lead such an enquiry," he writes.
PANAMA CANAL TOLL INCREASES OPPOSED
The Panama Canal Authority is to hold a public hearing next Wednesday, May 23, about its proposal that is being opposed by shipowners, to increase canal tolls by 15 per cent for large ships and over 60 per cent and up to as much as 100 per cent for smaller vessels. The increases would be from $500 to $800 for smaller ships of less than 15 metres and from $1,500 to $3,200 for the largest, more than 30 metres.
The increases are likely to eventually affect consumer prices for products carried aboard vessels transiting the canal. The increase is due to take effect from July but cannot be imposed until approved by the government of Panama. This is likely to follow the public hearing.
CRAFTY MEN – AND WOMEN WELCOME !
Knots, ropes and splicing are just some of the craftwork which a sailor needs to know, bearing in mind the advice of Alvin Smith that: "A good knot on a bad rope is no better than a bad knot" and they can be difficult to learn. So at Cronin's Pub in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour 'crafty men' have been gathering tonight to develop these skills.
Tom Archer presenting his 'monkey first' to proprietor Sean Cronin in the company of RCYC sailor Nicholas O'Leary on right and Darryl Hughes, owner of the classic boat Maybird on left. Photo: Joleen Cronin
Traditionally scruffy rope ends on deck were the sign of a carelessly run ship, boat or yacht. So being good at rope work indicates a better quality vessel, I am told! In Cronin's the walls are adorned with historical artefacts and pictures of old sailing boats and shipwrecks. It is a maritime location and, like many mariners I occasionally ramble into the premises, whose history dates back to 1892. 'Crafty Mensday,' actually a maritime evening was started there by the 'guys of Crosshaven' as an alternative to ladies' Knit and Natter' sessions.
"The guys were getting a bit jealous of the ladies up-skilling themselves and decided to Knot instead of Knit," proprietor Sean Cronin told me.
Rope splicing, knot-tying and other marine handy work is taught to anyone who turns up on every second Wednesday night and the learning process is succeeding as our photograph shows of Tom Archer presenting his 'monkey first' to proprietor Sean Cronin in the company of RCYC sailor Nicholas O'Leary and Darryl Hughes, owner of the classic boat Maybird. The "crafty men's" get-togethers will continue every second Wednesday night until August. The next dates are May 30; June 13/27; July 11/25 and August 8/22
Sessions are open to all who would like to attend. They operate on a 'skills-exchange' format, with essential knots and other rope skills like splicing being shared around the table. Despite the name, ladies are welcome I am told.
TALL SHIPS AND WASTED MONEY
The British tall ship Pelican went on sale this week for an asking price of stg£2.45 million. She has a steel hull and is 148ft.long overall. The insurance money for ASGARD II would have bought Pelican. Willie O'Dea, Minister responsible for the ship at the time promised to replace ASGARD, but handed the money over to the Department of Finance. The national sail training programme was closed in subsequent cutbacks.
Pelican for sale
Can you ever believe what politicians say?
Once again Ireland will be without a State sail training vessel when the Tall Ships Race comes to Dublin from August 23-26.
Another legacy left behind by Fianna Fail and Willie O'Dea in particular!
The World Wildlife Fund, WWF and its partners have announced that the first-ever Coral Triangle Day will be held on June 9 at several locations around the Coral Triangle region to highlight the importance of marine conservation and raise awareness on this global centre of marine biodiversity.
The Coral Triangle is a six million square-kilometre ocean expanse that contains the highest number of reef building corals on the planet, spanning across six countries in Asia and the Pacific including Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Timor and Solomon Islands. Its spectacular coral reefs systems are home to thousands of whales, dolphins, rays, sharks and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles. The Triangle is also a nursery ground for tuna and reef fish species. It sustains the lives of an estimated 120 million people who depend on marine resources for food and income.
Coastal development, overfishing, unsustainable tourism, illegal trade in endangered species and climate change are reported to be taking a heavy toll on this fragile marine ecosystem.
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#FISHING – Marine minister, Simon Coveney T.D. at today's EU Fisheries Council welcomed the Danish Presidency proposal which allows each Member State to implement its own management arrangement for fish quotas. Ireland had strongly opposed the EU Commission proposal that would have required all Member States to privatise national fish quotas, and allow them to be traded on the open market.
Minister Coveney said "Since my appointment as Minister, I have made the protection of Ireland's fishing resources and fishing industry my top priority. At every available opportunity, such as last month's Fisheries Council, at bilateral meetings with fellow Ministers, I set down my strong opposition to this proposed privatisation of our national fish quotas. Privatising fish quotas would have been a serious threat to the economic survival of our coastal communities. If fish quotas were traded on the open market they could be bought by international corporations and would no longer be landed into Ireland. This would directly threaten economic activity in our main fishing ports with the loss of jobs not only in the fleet but also in the vital fish processing sector".
Minister Coveney added "I have argued consistently that Member States should be able to determine their own management arrangements for their own particular circumstances. In Ireland, fish quotas are a State-owned national asset and can be used to the benefit of our coastal communities and family owned fishing fleet. This win helps us to ensure that the public resource model for our fisheries is not threatened and the family ownership of our fishing fleet is protected". The Common Fisheries Policy reform agenda is under discussion by the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament. This will continue into the Irish Presidency during the first 6 months of 2013. Discussions today focussed on EU funding arrangements under the new Common Fishing Policy, covering the funding for development support, innovation in the seafood sector, scientific advice and control. There were also discussions on providing scientific advice for fish stocks so that in future years there will be greater assurance that stocks are fished in a sustainable manner.
#ISLAND NATION – The historic Asgard I, the original Erskine Childer's yacht which has been under extensive renovation at the National Museum in Dublin is to go on public display this summer. Public involvement is being sought to provide part of the planned exhibition.
Tom MacSweeney has more details in his 'This Island Nation column' below which this week also has reports from Achill, Galway Bay, the fishing and shipping industries and the marine environment. They include the first Chinese offshore exploration and a major international appointment for a Cork seafarer.
THIS ISLAND NATION
I had my first sail of the season on Saturday, not my normal 'opener' of the year in Cork Harbour, but on the waters of Galway Bay. Preparations for the Volvo Race arrival and overall conclusion there in early July are well underway in the midst of the start of the racing season at Galway Bay Sailing Club at Rinville near Oranmore.
It was from the club there that I sailed aboard my son Pat's Contessa 32, Roamer, on what started off as a day of light winds with sunny conditions. Then the skies darkened, it got cold and the wind strengthened so that soon we were beating as the boat shoved waves aside making its course on a voyage of just over two hours to Parkmore near the hallowed, traditional base of the Galway Hookers at Kinvara harbour.
The Contessa range was designed by the legendary David Sadler and is one of the best-known yachts, with a great reputation for seaworthiness. It was good to hold the helm of a yacht again and hear that pleasant rush of water past the hull. There are several classes of boats sailing out of GBSC, with the younger members particularly favouring the Dart 18 catamaran as I saw last Saturday.
ASGARD 1 TO BE OPEN TO PUBLIC FROM JULY – YOU CAN HELP
The restored Asgard 1, the original Erskine Childers yacht which carried out the historic Howth gun-running to the Irish Volunteers in 1914 will go on public display this July, 98 years after the event. The vessel has been restored over several years at the national museum in Collins Barracks Dublin. The present recessionary times restricted funding for the renovation of the building, a former gymnasium where the work was carried out, into a suitable public display area. This has now been resolved and the necessary works are underway. Spars and rigging are the final stages of preparing the yacht itself for display. There has been considerable voluntary effort by a group of boat owners in Howth helping with the renovation of the old mast, booms and standing and running rigging.
Sarah Kingston of the Education Department at the National Museum Decorative Arts & History Section tells me that they are collecting oral histories and memories of people who had some connection to the yacht. "This may be people who served on the Asgard when it was a training vessel, people who were involved in its conservation or people who saw the boat in Kilmainham Jail. We would love people to share their memories, so that these could be incorporated into the exhibition. Their stories would be recorded and quotes of these recordings may be used in the exhibition. It would be great, if you could support our search in any way."
I am delighted to do so. If you can help, if you have memories you can share, contact the museum by Email to: [email protected]
The Asgard exhibition will be a big visitor attraction and show how the marine sphere was vitally involved in Irish history.
I was on Achill Island in the past week to launch a book by international artist Alexandra van Tuyll who now lives there. "Sea meets Land" was the appropriate title of the book which is a record of her journey around Ireland in aid of the RNLI. It is composed of her paintings of various locations she chose. There was a big turn-out in Giltie's Pub and Restaurant at Doeega on the westernmost part of the island for the launch. Alexandra was born in the Netherlands and taught art and music before moving to Achill in 2001 to paint full-time. She exhibits solo and in group shows in leading Irish and international galleries and her work is found in both private and public collections.
Achill RNLI Book - Sea meets land
Operations Manager at the Achill RNLI Tom Honeyman and the crew and fund-raising supporters invited me to visit the station, a modern building at Cloghmore in the southern part of Achill Sound. The station was established in August 1996 and its all-weather lifeboat is kept on moorings. It is always a pleasure to meet and talk with lifeboat people and this visit underlined the huge community involvement with and pride in the lifeboat.
I wish Alex and the Achill Station every success with the book. It has been published by and is available from Achill Art Press Slievemore Road, Keel, Achill, Co.Mayo or by Emailing: [email protected]
With the Achill Island lifeboat crew
FISHING INDUSTRY NEEDS LOCAL MANAGEMENT
Giving more power to local communities in the fishing industry must be encouraged. There is too much dominance by State and European bureaucracy which has not been helpful. This is underlined in a community-led report published in the biggest whitefish port in the country, Castletownbere in West Cork.
Castletownbere fishing strategy presented to Marine Minister Simon Coveney. L. to R. Liam O'Driscoll, Vice Chairman Irish South and West Fish Producers' Organisation; John Nolan, Castletownbere Fishermen's Co-op; Eibhlin O'Sullivan, CEO, ISWFPO; Minister Simon Coveney; Frank Fleming, 'Responsible Irish Fish' organisation and Michael Keatinge, BIM Fisheries Development Manager.
More than half the economic life of Castletownbere depends on the offshore fishing industry. With fish farming and ancillary activities added that dependence increases to 86 per cent. The economic figures, revealed in the report compiled by the State fisheries Board, BIM and local fishing industry organisations, underline how vital the industry is to coastal areas. It provides 81 per cent of all employment in the town. The money spent by those employees keeps business turning over.
The proposals were presented to Marine Minister Simon Coveney. Key actions proposed include improved co-operation in the catching sector; new gear adaptations and techniques; tuna and boarfish processing locally; a frozen prawns brand and an increase in aquaculture development and processing.
Cork Mariner Appointed European Chairman
Captain Michael McCarthy, formerly Deputy Harbour Master in the Port of Cork and now its Commercial Manager, has been elected Chairman of the Cruise Europe organisation which has a hundred member groups in the Atlantic Europe and Baltic Region, including Portugal, Russia, Iceland, Scandinavia, Norway and the UK, developing the cruise ship business. He has been involved in the maritime sphere for 40 years, as a Master Mariner, Ships' Captain and marine surveyor.
Captain Mike McCarthy of the Port of Cork
The cruise industry faces major challenges, not just from recession but the effect on public confidence of the Costa Concordia disaster in January and other emergencies at sea involving cruise ships, as well as rapidly increasing operational costs, such as fuel.
"The organisation provides cruise ship owners with top-class destinations of which Ireland is a major one. There are over 200 cruise calls to Ireland a year carrying half-a-million passengers and crew. This is worth €60 million," Capt. McCarthy said.
World Harbour Masters Visit Cork
The 8th International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) Congress, "Global Ports & Marine Operations" will be underway from Monday, May 14, in Cork City Hall. The Congress is held every two years and this is the first time it is being held in Ireland. An attendance of 300 local and international harbour masters is expected to hear 30 leading industry speakers.
More Water Moved
More water moved into and out of the atmosphere in 2000 than in 1950, making parts of the world's oceans saltier and fresh waters less salty according to American researchers this week. A warming planet may be to blame. Evaporation and rainfall increased by 4 per cent as surface temperatures rose half a degree. That is a bigger change than previous studies suggested, but underlines that a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture.
Oil Day In China
China brought its first home-made, deepsea, semi-submersible oil drilling rig into operation on Wednesday. This starts the country's offshore exploration programme. The new rig, Ocean Oil 981, took six years to build and has been towed to the eastern region of the South China Sea to begin 56 days of drilling to a depth of over 7,000 feet. It is being operated by the State-run National Offshore Oil Corporation and is another stage in Chinese economic development.
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#FISHING – The Master of a UK fishing vessel pleaded guilty to fisheries offences at a recent case brought before Cork Circuit Court– Mr Eustaquio Docambo, the Master of the vessel, the Susa Uno, was fined and forfeited the value of the catch and gear to the value of €27,000.
The case arose following the detention of the fishing vessel in Castletownbere, Co Cork, on the 22nd April 2012 by Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA). The SFPA routinely inspect fishing vessels when they land to ensure they have an accurate record of all fish onboard. These records are used to monitor the total amount of fish caught to ensure that the limits recommended for the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks are respected. Whitefish stocks such as cod are currently being rebuilt from dangerously low levels by the application of special fisheries regulations regarding the catching of cod and the reduction of the amounts that are allowed to be caught at this time.
When the Susa Uno was inspected by Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers, a significant mismatch was discovered between the quantities of cod and additional fish recorded in the vessel's fishing logbook and the fish found in the fish-hold – the discrepancy included 3.4 tonnes of cod as well as 1,300kg of other fish species. Evidence was presented during the trial that the Master of the Susa Uno was previously detained and convicted for illegal fishing activity at Cork Circuit Court in June 2010.
Andrew Kinneen, Board Member of the SFPA welcomed the outcome of the case and said: "It is essential that all fishermen play their part in the rebuilding of damaged fish stocks such as cod if fishing is to be sustainable and profitable into the future. The requirement for fishermen to accurately record their catches and to keep within quota limits is a cornerstone of measures to rebuild damaged fish stocks and to share the burden of this stock recovery fairly among fishermen. The SFPA's inspection programme is intended to detect illegally caught fish and to protect the livelihoods of the many fishermen who respect the rules in place that safeguard the sustainable exploitation of valuable fish stocks. Stock recovery is good news for fishermen and ultimately leads to better fishing possibilities for the sector as well as improved market supply for consumers."
#FISHIING TRAWLER – Whatever you were doing on the afternoon of Wednesday April 25th as a nor'easterly gale with torrential rain swept Ireland's east coast, chances are you weren't thinking of going near Howth pier and getting a picture of the seas smashing against the rocks of Ireland's Eye.
The scene was a million light years from the usual sight of yachts arrayed on a gentle blue sea with the gannets tiered on the Stack on Ireland's Eye's nor'east corner, serenely observing the peaceful scene. Rather, it was a case of gannets and everyone else hanging on for dear life.
But Colin Keegan of Collins Photo Agency was taking fantastic pictures using a very long lens - a necessary precaution as there was no going near the East Pier, as it was disappearing in surf. Then suddenly this red trawler hove into view, battling her way seaward out of Howth's fish dock.
We know that windsurfing is now an Olympic sport. But trawler surfing? What next?
Seems it was simply all in a day's work. William Price, who co-owns the John B with his brother Patrick with several other fishing boats in their combined ownership, told the Irish Examiner which ran these pictures today (Thursday April 26th), that Ireland now has a "very sustainable prawn fishing industry" thanks to many vessels being taken out of the business, so those who have stayed in are starting to make a living.
But owing to EU regulations, they are only permitted to go to sea for limited periods at certain times, and the crew of John B were simply making full use of their allocation. "You either go for it, or you lose them. There is no respect for bad weather......In today's environment, we have to ignore weather and just go to sea".
Just so. Make of that what you will. Say what you like. But it certainly makes the choice of scampi or chicken liver pate or goat's cheese tartlet for starters even more difficult. – W M Nixon
Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute and Mr. Liu Qing Vice President Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation in relation to Fishery science and technology during a trade visit to China with Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine. The MOU was signed at the Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing today (Monday, 16th April 2012).
The cooperation will build on the good working relationship developed between the two organisations through the successful internship completed recently by Professor Cheng-Qi Fan from the East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Science in Shanghai researching novel bioactive compounds from marine micro algae at the Marine Institute.
Dr Heffernan of the Marine Institute said "The signing of this MOU with our Chinese counterparts is an important basis for forging closer alliances with the marine research scientific community in China, we are confident that the developing relationship between researchers will be synergistic for both organisations and will lead to joint research programmes in time."
"We are pleased to commence this process with CAFS given its outstanding performance in many aspects of advanced marine research including Seafood Quality, Biotechnology, Conservation, Fisheries Technology, and Aquaculture and feel this new alliance will further strengthen Irish R&D in this important economic sectors."
The cooperation will include exchange of experts annually, submission of partner applications for European and international funding opportunities in marine research and technology and participation in programmes focussed on education and raising awareness of the marine environment.
The Memorandum comes as a result of the Action Plan on Mutual cooperation in relation to the Agri food and Fisheries sector which was signed by Minister Coveney and the Chinese Vice Minister of Agriculture Niu Dun last year.
#IRISH HARBOURS - Protesters took to the water off Kerry's piers last month in an organised swim drawing attention to proposed harbour bylaws designed to regulate the activities of water users.
“We need to make the public aware they have to make submissions,” Denise Collins told The Irish Times from Kells, which hosted one of the largest swims. “Traditional activities such as swimming will be over-regulated, we fear.”
The proposed bylaws would give Kerry County Council greater control over 16 of the county's 57 harbours and piers, including Kells, Kenmare, Portmagee, Brandon and Ventry.
Under the new bylaws, strict regulations would be placed on the use of loudhailers, landing and unloading passengers and freight, waste and even movement around the harbour.
The proposed bylaws already suffered a set-back earlier this year when Kerry County Councillors decided to restart the consultation process to allow the fishing industry, tourism operators and other interests more time to make submissions.
According to the Irish Examiner, only two submissions had been received by the council as of its January monthly meeting, despite senior council officials working for months on the draft proposals.
Cllr Toiréasa Ferris commented that the proposed charges in particular "would have huge implications for fishermen, some of whom might currently be earning only between €40 and €50 for a 14-hour day."
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, charges may also soon be hiked on yachts berthing at Ireland's main fishing harbours, a list that includes Dingle in Co Kerry.
Irish Marine Federation chairman David O'Brien expressed concern at the potential for such charges to damage "the good tourism dividend for coastal towns", noting that for every euro spent on a harbour berth, €10 was normally spent in the locality.
According to This Is Cornwall, groups representing water users argue that marine protection plans "would have severe knock-on effects on those who rely on the south west's coastline for employment and leisure".
Alana Murphy of the Royal Yachting Association said: "A lot of the small inshore areas proposed as conservation zones coincide with estuaries and bays that are used by sailors for mooring, or for laying buoys for racing. We are concerned we could lose important sailing areas."
Companies involved in offshore renewable energy have voiced their concerns on the impact of marine reserved on their development, while the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations added that the scale of proposed fishing reserves was too great, and could potentially push commercial fishermen "to other areas which will then get overfished".
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's Wildlife Trusts have expressed dismay that plans to establish Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea and elsewhere have been shelved till at least next year after pressure from fishermen, boaters and other groups.
According to The Irish Times, Marine Minister Simon Coveney has announced a mere 21 days for comment and consultation on the draft Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order 2012. The consultation document is attached to the bottom of this post and available to download as a pdf.
The proposed new charges include an annual fee of €250 per metre for yachts, which could see a 10-metre yacht currently paying €312 a year for a berth shell out as much as €2,500 annually for the same space.
Additional water and electricity costs could even see this bill rise to €3,100 - for berths that come "without proper marina facilities in most cases".
The proposals apply to the State's six fishery centres at Killybegs, Rossaveal, Dingle, Castletownbere, Dunmore East and Howth, only two of which have pontoons suitable for leisure boats.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The plan, which will be published in the summer, "will be a national agenda for developing our country’s marine potential, across tourism, shipping, leisure, fisheries and other sectors," said Joe McHugh TD.
The Dáil deputy noted "it is significant" that Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney are "dealing with this personally" as "previous Governments did not give this type of prioritisation to the industry".
He added: “I encourage Donegal marine stakeholders who see potential for national development in the fisheries industry, sea tourism, marine leisure, oil production, renewable energy production, deep sea fisheries and in various other areas to make submissions to the Integrated Marine Plan."
More information on the Integrated Marine Plan can be found at www.oceanwealth.ie.