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Concerns Over Dumping Proposal in Donegal Bay

At a meeting in Killybegs today aquaculture producers and members of IFA expressed serious concerns with a proposal published in December by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine to apply to the EPA for a licence to dump almost 100,000 tonnes of fine peaty silt in Donegal bay, threatening the health of millions of fish and shellfish farmed along the Donegal and Sligo coastline.

Executive of IFA Aquaculture, Richie Flynn, said that producers had voiced serious concerns “We are all in favour of coastal economic development and the extension of facilities in Killybegs which require dredging, but the consequences of the Department’s proposals to dump the spoil in a site which was previously associated with fish kills would outweigh the benefits by ruining the livelihoods of oyster, mussel and salmon farmers in the bay. The site is too close to our members, too close to Natura 2000 sites and the level of monitoring proposed is totally inadequate given the scale of the potential losses involved. The models used for dispersion are out of date and most significantly the peaty nature of the silt has not been taken into account. This material will drift and spread throughout the bay. Potentially causing damage to up to €50 million of our stocks and threatening 150 jobs.”

The IFA man said the EPA must find an alternative site far away from any aquaculture or fishing grounds. “The proposed site was the subject of a report which could not show definitively that dumping spoil in that area was not responsible for the death of 2 million fish in 2003. To return to this site now to re-commence dumping is highly irresponsible, especially with such volatile material. The industry requires security in terms of dumping that any material will be washed westwards into the Atlantic by way of brand new modelling. It is also very important that monitoring of the operations at the dredge site, on board ship and at the dump site are carried out independently to ensure no toxic material is carried out into the bay and that all dumping occurs exactly where it can do no harm.”

Inside our January issue this month:

Justice Minister Admits Raids on Fishing Fleet Found No Evidence of Human Trafficking
Complaint Made Over Breaches of Data Protection Act During Raids

The Minister for Justice has admitted that “no evidence of human trafficking or labour exploitation was found in any location” during the Garda, Revenue, Customs and Workplace Relations Commission joint raids on fishing boats in Howth, Castletownbere and offshore in October.

Anger in the Coast Guard - Dismissals of Volunteers
“It seems that anyone who queries or raises an issue suffers dismissal.”

“I find it utterly incomprehensible that a voluntary member of the service should have been treated in such a fashion…” Strong words from a Junior Minister in a Government Department to a senior manager in another Department. John Halligan is the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation in the Department of Education and was blunt in his letter to Eugene Clonan, Assistant Director of the Irish Coast Guard who is also Chief of Operations.

New Years Resolutions

Right so, it hasn’t been an easy road satisfying the latest addition to compliance in fishing. The implementation of the newest rules surrounding the A-typical Workers Scheme which is being managed by the Work Relations Commission (WRC) not to mention all the existing compliance required by the other agencies like the Sea Fisheries Protection agency (SFPA), the Marine Survey Office (MSO), etc encompasses an array of rules and regulations that requires a myriad of paper exercises now needed to run a trawler. We are just short of needing a full time secretary sitting in the corner of every wheelhouse, filling out all the forms in order to prove to the outside world that everything is being managed properly on board our fishing boats. That said and in fear of sounding like a broken record 2017 needs to be where we bring it back to basics and re-adjust the focus back to the practical and vital issue of ‘Safety’ within our hard working and much maligned industry. We all know how dangerous life at sea can be and so, as necessary as proving compliance is, surely saving lives is a lot more important than dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

RNLI Appeals for Supporters to ‘Opt In’ Before End of Year Deadline

From 1 January 2017, the RNLI will be the first major charity to move to an opt-in only approach for communicating with its supporters. The charity will then ‘close the doors’ on its current supporter database, only contacting those who have expressly given permission to be contacted.
The charity’s decision, made in October 2015, to stop communicating directly with supporters without permission, applies to all forms of communication, not just fundraising appeals, and to all methods of contacting supporters. The RNLI will be the first major charity to operate in this way.
The RNLI has the greatest respect for supporters, from volunteer lifeboat crews and community fundraisers, to the public who respond to appeals. The RNLI has decided to strengthen its already strict procedures and has pledged only to contact people who wish to hear from the lifesaving charity.

The shaking of herring returned to Rosbeg Pier in Donegal this month after a forty year gap. Following the tradition of Patrick McLoone’s father and grandfather his boat “Dawros Bay” SO730 was granted a quota for herring. Thanks to this the pier became the focal point for the small village for both helpers and visitors alike. Pictured are Pj Johnston, Jimmy Boyle, JP Johnston, Patrick McLoone, Danny Johnston,Tony Docherty and Ross Classon. Photo by Susie Harkin.

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Jan 2017 Issue - Vol 29 No.08

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"We must work to preserve our island heritage and culture, but more importantly, strengthen the future of our island communities." So says the Secretary of Comdháil Oileán na hÉireann, the Islands' Federation, Rhoda Twombly, reporting the latest news from the offshore islands on the new edition of the maritime programme, THIS ISLAND NATION. She reports good and bad news about transport issues from the Aran Islands and from Sherkin, amongst other matters happening on the offshore islands.

"I hope that in 2017 more work will be done towards the sustainability of our islands through greater communication and co-operation between island development and community groups, County Councils and Government Departments," she says.

The programme also hears why Ireland is involved in a worldwide programme to preserve seabirds and why it is one of the most important countries in the world for seabirds. A Galway sailor explains the bad New Year start he had as he tried to race alone around the world and the programme reports that young people can be encouraged to take an interest in maritime matters through becoming involved in angling.

Read more here

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Inland Fisheries Ireland Investigates Major Fish Kill in Owentaraglin River, Cork

Inland Fisheries Ireland are investigating a major fish kill on the Owentaraglin River on 8th December, a tributary of the Munster Blackwater River, in North West Cork. Fisheries Officers discovered more than 1,200 fish mortalities over a two kilometre stretch of the river near the village of Kiskeam.

Inland Fisheries Ireland immediately commenced investigations following discovery of the fish mortality and is following a direct line of enquiry. The cause of the fish kill is believed to be a large discharge of raw slurry into the river.

Fish species affected by the pollution in this important spawning river include salmon, brown trout, eel and stickleback. In particular, significant numbers of gravid hen salmon were among the mortalities. Aside from the large number of fish killed, there was significant damage to the spawning beds and wider aquatic habitat, which will have implications for the fish population in the area into the future.

Sean Long, Director of the South Western River Basin District said: “It will take years for River Owentaraglin to recover to its former condition as a result of this pollution. Inland Fisheries Ireland is reminding farmers of the importance of complying with EU Regulations on the storage or movement of slurry.

Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the public to report incidents by telephone 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species..

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Positive Outlook for Quotas in 2017

For the South and West coasts and the Irish Sea, a 9% increase in the €74 million prawn fishery which benefits the ports of Clogherhead, Howth, Union Hall, Castletownbere, Dingle and Ros a Mhil. For the South West, a 9% increase in hake, reversal of cuts proposed for monkfish - important for the southern ports of Castletownbere and Dingle. For the Celtic Sea fisheries: 21% increase in whiting (from a possible 27% cut); 7 % increase in haddock, 15% cut in cod (reduced from the 68% proposed cut). For the Irish Sea, a 25% increase in haddock; retention of cod and sole quotas. In the North West, a 20% increase in monkfish quota; a 9% increase for the megrim quota, a near doubling of the Rockall haddock quota and no change in whiting benefiting the ports of Greencastle and Killybegs. Cuts in line with scientific advice were applied to haddock in the North West and megrim in the Celtic Sea..

Drawing the Battle Lines In EU Fisheries Negotiations

Marine Minister Michael Creed writes about his first experience of “red-eye” negotiations at the December EU Fisheries Council .... The December Fisheries Council has a reputation as being one of the last remaining “red-eye” Councils where tough, all-night negotiations are conducted until a final agreement is eventually hammered out. This was my first time attending so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my experience with your readers.

Read more in our January issue

Passage East Fisherman James Mason Purchases MFV ‘The Morning Lark’

Waterford fisherman James Mason has recently purchased a new boat, MFV The Morning Lark. This boat was originally owned by Castletownbere fishermen Brendan O’Neill and Denis O’Regan. It is 13.86m boat and has had a polyvalent licence. Its new owner James Mason is a native of a fishing village in County Waterford situated on the west bank of Waterford Harbour. Passage East is 12 km from Waterford and 10 km from Dunmore East.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara Enable Irish Seafood Companies to Build Innovation Capability Through Seafood Innovation Academy

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, recently hosted the last in a series of ‘Seafood Innovation Academy’ workshops in the BIM Seafood Development Centre, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. .

Minister Appoints Independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group

Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. has announced the appointment of an independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group to review the process of licensing for aquaculture and its associated legal framework in keeping with actions identified in Food Wise 2025 and Ireland’s National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development.

Read more in our January issue

Marine Times - Rogues Gallery

In every issue of the Marine Times we feature great photos of crews from around the coast that make a living in our seas in the Irish fishing fleet:
See more crew photos in our current issue in shops now!
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