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Displaying items by tag: conservation

#ANGLING - Voluntary conservation measures have been put in place on the Foyle system for the current angling season to help shore up wild salmon numbers, The Irish Times reports.

The move is in response to a "worrying fall" in the numbers of adult salmon returning to Ireland's rivers this year - and comes just months after wild Atlantic salmon were spotted in the Tolka in Dublin for the first time in nearly 100 years.

These voluntary measures - which involve catch and release, early closure of some club waters and the imposition of sanctuary areas - are intended to reduce the overall salmon catch, thereby encouraging the spawning rate upstream.

The general public have also been asked to assist by not purchasing any wild salmon - and especially those from the Foyle system, as the purchase or sale of such salmon is an offence.

Published in Angling

#ANGLING - Plans to bring forward the estuary draft net season "would have a detrimental effect" on spring salmon stocks, writes Derek Evans in The Irish Times today.

Evans was responding to proposals before Minister of State for Natural Resources Fergus O'Dowd to extend the draft net season from its current start date of 12 May to mid-April.

"At a time when we are beginning to see the benefits of the 2006 drift net closure coming to fruition in terms of salmon returning to our lakes and rivers," he writes, "is it not absolutely unreasonable to even consider such an application?"

He referred to anglers who have "played their part" by sticking to a "suite of regulations" introduced by the State in an effort to conserve river stocks, which include a doubling of the salmon licence fee and an annual bag limit restricted to 10 fish.

Spring salmon angling is also a significant attraction for tourism, he suggests, and any threat could damage that business.

The minister's office has issued a statement saying there no proposal currently under consideration to bring forward the start date.

Published in Angling

#FISHING - Conservationists and the fishing industry have joined forces in a new venture to evaulate the state of the Isle of Man's scallop fishery, as the Guardian reports.

Both sides will co-manage the 35-square-mile Ramsey marine nature reserve in the Irish Sea, collecting data to show what progress the scallops have made since fishing in the area was banned in 2009.

It is hoped that the study will lead to a renewing of leases for scallop fishing, which is worth up to £12 million annually to the Isle of Man's economy - though industry leaders have doubts that the new arrangement will serve the island's fishermen.

Some 2.6% of Manx waters are protected, with more than 1% 'highly protected', which is in stark contrast to the rest of the United Kingdom after plans for a national network of conservation zones were shelved till at least next year.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#FISHING - Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney briefed the Irish Skipper Expo in Galway last weekend on a new initiative promoting the use of selective conservation fishing nets, which allow young fish to escape.

Under the initiative in the Celtic Sea, additional quotas of up to 25% will be made available by the minister to skippers of Irish fishing boats which use an escape panel in their nets, allowing young whiting and haddock to escape.

The escape panel, developed by the Irish industry, has been endorsed at EU level and is expected to be a mandatory requirement later in the year.

Minister Coveney said on Saturday: “The use of this panel will significantly reduce discards of juvenile whiting and haddock in the Celtic Sea, allowing juvenile fish to grow and mature and contribute to increased stock size and returns for fishermen in future years.

"I believe that this offers an example of a practical approach to dealing effectively with the discards problem and retention of a flexible quota allocation system that we should take forward in the context of the Common Fisheries Policy Review."

In other news, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) announced €1.5 million in grant aid for the Irish fishing industry at the expo.

A spokesperson for BIM confirmed to the Galway Independent that the funding will be available to industry through a variety of schemes including fleet safety, seafood environmental management, lobster V-notching and coastal action groups.

Over 100 companies displayed their products and services to fishermen at the Irish Skipper Expo International 2012, held at the Galway Bay Hotel on 24-25 February.

Published in Fishing

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Newly-elected Irish President Michael D Higgins has agreed to be the sole patron of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

President Higgins has a long history of supporting environmental causes. In his inaugural speech he referred to Ireland’s strong cultural, scientific and technological ethos.

IWDG chairman Kevin MacCormick welcomed the President’s decision as a strong endorsement of the group’s work in protecting Ireland's marine wildlife.

He stated: “The IWDG will continue to maintain a sense of pride in our extraordinary national marine heritage and our need for stewardship of the natural environment through research, education and conservation policies.”

The IWDG is Ireland’s only conservation group dedicated to protecting whales and dolphins in Irish waters. It celebrated its 21st anniversary in December 2011.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The UK's Wildlife Trusts have launched a new website in an effort to redress the idea that the Irish Sea is "a dirty, lifeless" place.

As BBC News reports, the trusts' Cheryl Nicholson put down the Irish Sea's poor image, saying "nothing could be further from the truth".

"Our sea is home to so many amazing species and habitats," she added, "but sadly, after centuries of neglect, it is not in a good state. We must act now to protect the Irish Sea from the depths through to the coastal shallows."

The new website is part of a campaign by wildlife trusts throughout northwest England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to establish 15 Marine Conservation Zones recommended for the area.

The zones, if officially designated, would provide "a haven for wildlife to recover and thrive", said Nicholson.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, plans to establish such zones in the Irish Sea have been shelved till 2013 at the earliest after pressure from fishermen, boaters and other groups.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#TALL SHIPS - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has secured three-quarters of the funding it required to refit its research vessel Celtic Mist.

According to The Irish Times, the Clare Local Development Company has approved the allocation of a €48,000 grant towards the refurbishment of the ketch.

The work will be carried out by Cathal Blunnie and several sub-contractors, and involves stripping down the main cabin and removing the bath and shower to increase space for crew berths.

While the ship's clock will be retained, the ship’s wheel in the main cabin will be removed and presented to the Haughey family as a gesture of appreciation.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 52-foot yacht - which was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work - entered dry dock last November in preparation for the refit work, after relocating to its new berth at Kilrush, Co Clare in July.

This followed its last jaunt at sea in its former guise, completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland.

The cost of refurbishing the yacht for research and training purposes is expected to top €60,000, with an annual running cost of some €20,000, for which the IWDG is seeking ongoing financial assistance.

The group aims to get the Celtic Mist back at sea before the summer.

Published in Tall Ships

#ANGLING - Inland Fisheries Ireland's Salmon Conservation Scheme has been extended into 2012, with funding increased to a total of €200,000.

The pilot scheme will facilitate the rehabilitation of salmon stocks, giving priority to rivers below their conservation limit which have the greatest prospect of recovery.

Applications are now being invited for salmon conservation projects, to a maximum value of €10,000 per project. Applicants must outline the benefits of the project, the ability to plan and complete the project, and value for money. Any statutory approvals necessary, such as planning permission, must be in place.

Examples of schemes that can be funded include: fish passage improvement; spawning enhancement, instream structures such as weirs and deflectors; river bank protection; tree pruning and planting; and removal of invasive species.

Minister for Communiations, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, commented: "This scheme has been proven to enhance habitat, knowledge and ultimately the wonderful angling and commercial fisheries we enjoy in Ireland adding benefit to local economies."

Application forms are available from the Inland Fisheries Ireland website HERE.

The closing date for applications is 31 March 2012.

Published in Angling
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 14 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea are among the network of planned marine wildlife sanctuaries around the UK that has been postponed.
The Liverpool Echo reports that the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shelved plans to create the conservation areas by the end of 2012 after pressure from "groups that use the coastline frequently including fishermen, yachting enthusiasts and seaside villagers".
There will now be a six-month delay while and impact assessment on the network of well over 100 proposed sites is presented to the British government.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, conservation groups have raised concerns that fewer than a quarter of the proposed sites around the UK will receive official protection.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 14 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea are among the network of planned marine wildlife sanctuaries around the UK that has been postponed.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shelved plans to create the conservation areas by the end of 2012 after pressure from "groups that use the coastline frequently including fishermen, yachting enthusiasts and seaside villagers".

There will now be a six-month delay while and impact assessment on the network of well over 100 proposed sites is presented to the British government.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, conservation groups have raised concerns that fewer than a quarter of the proposed sites around the UK will receive official protection.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conservationists in the UK have voiced their concern that Westminster will enact fewer than a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones in British waters.
The Press Association reports that some 127 such zones - including parts of the Irish Sea - have been earmarked by regional conservation groups as areas requiring special environmental protection.
All 127 proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and government committees before they were to go on public consultation.
But it is now feared that a mere 23 of the total will get the go-ahead, due to a perceived lack of evidence to support the case for the rest.
"To only designate 23 marine conservation zones is equivalent to switching off the life support for our seas," commented Joan Edwards of the Wildlife Trusts.
The Press Association has more on the story HERE.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conservationists in the UK have voiced their concern that Westminster will enact fewer than a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones in British waters.

The Press Association reports that some 127 such zones - including parts of the Irish Sea - have been earmarked by regional conservation groups as areas requiring special environmental protection.

All 127 proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and government committees before they were to go on public consultation. 

But it is now feared that a mere 23 of the total will get the go-ahead, due to a perceived lack of evidence to support the case for the rest.

"To only designate 23 marine conservation zones is equivalent to switching off the life support for our seas," commented Joan Edwards of the Wildlife Trusts.

The Press Association has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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