----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----


How 30,000 seabirds spend the Winter in the the biggest commercial port in the country is told on this edition of the maritime radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, which also recounts how the Aran Islanders succeeded in their long campaign to preserve the island's ferry service - and got cheaper fares in the process! These are amongst the topics of this edition of THIS ISLAND NATION, the maritime radio programme produced with the support of the Marine Times and presented by Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, reporting on the culture, history, tradition and developments of MARITIME IRELAND.

Breaking News: KFO welcomes Fisheries Council deal

Brexit remains ‘elephant in the room’ for extremely concerned Irish fishermen

13th December 2017: The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation has welcomed the outcome of the Council of Fisheries Ministers, which finished early this morning, as generally positive but stated it again underlines the imperative to have fisheries and the wider trade inextricably linked in the phase two Brexit negotiations.

ISWFPO Congratulate Minister on Mixed Outcome

The Irish South and West Fish Producers' Organisation congratulate Minister Michael Creed and his team on the mixed outcome of the Council of Fisheries Ministers, which concluded at 7.30 this morning.


Once again the State has lost its legal battle against fishermen over the system of imposition of penalty points to which the industry has fought the Government, claiming that the system is unfair to fishermen and pointing out that no other section of the community was being subjected to a system where, even if proved innocent in Court of any offence, the State still imposed penalty for an alleged offence.

The Supreme Court has made two judgments related to the fishing industry and to procedures in the EU's Common Fisheries Policy 2014 regulations for imposing points on a fishing licence. The first case - O'Sullivan v the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority - related to a fishing vessel owner who was charged with under recording his catch. The High Court found the regulations were invalid as they breached Article 15.2.1 of the constitution which states that the only authority that can make law is the Oireachtas. In the second - Crayden Fisheries v the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority - the High Court found the procedures for imposing points on a licence were contrary to fair procedures.

The Supreme Court ruled the 2014 regulations did not afford fair procedures to the fishing licence holders. The Minister for the Marine had announced the introduction of a new, slightly amended, system without awaiting the Supreme Court decision. It appears that the Minister and his Department will now have to reconsider their attempts to introduce a penalty points system. The industry has said that it accepts that there has to be a system to meet EU requirements, but that it should not unfairly penalise fishermen in a manner in which no other citizen is treated.


With so much else going on right now - the Brexit negotiations - the 'Battle of Britain' as it might be called and that other annual 'battle' - as it might also be called - over fishing quotas, it is, the talk of the fishing ports and the industry that Minister Michael Creed has indicated he is determined to reintroduce a Penalty Points system which is again being strongly criticised on the grounds that it will deny fishermen equal treatment with other Irish citizens.

It is practically certain that there will be a legal challenge and that what he is doing will cost the State, the taxpayers, money and will also cost fishermen financially.

Our Marine Times columnist, Art Kavanagh, wrote in this month's December edition that he had been told by a Marine Department official that penalty points were an EU Regulation but, as he observed, so were water charges and the Government found a way around them.

The industry has recognised that there has to be a system, but the objection is to the method by which fishermen are held guilty before proving themselves innocent and, even when judged innocent in Court, the penalty points still apply. There would be outrage if the same attitude was adopted to motorists, so why are fishermen singled out to be treated differently?

This controversy could have been avoided if the Minister and his Department had discussed the issue with the industry, before problems are created.

"Has Minister Creed got some strong dislike against the fishing industry or is his action motivated by the advice of Department officials or the Attorney General's Office?" I have been asked.

Away back in the year 2000 a socio-economic study of the industry concluded that its potential of fishing was seldom appreciated on any significant scale by the Government, its officials or by politicians.

That still hasn't happened…..

Arthur Griffith, the only Statesman who, at the foundation of this State, emphasised the economic importance of fishing, summed it up in a way which Minister Creed might consider.

· Listen to the Podcast to hear more about this issue and the relevance of what Arthur Griffith said.

Centuries-old tradition re-enacted at
Hook Lighthouse on New Year’s Day 2018

5th December 2017: A centuries-old tradition will take place on New Year’s Day at the 800-year-old Hook Lighthouse as the archers, both expert and amateur, will take part in a traditional “arrow ceremony”.

The Dunbrody Archers and the Chairman of New Ross Council will participate in the ceremony. The age-old tradition dates back to 1687, when the Mayor and the corporation of New Ross Town Council claimed their authority over the Tower and waters by travelling to the point of the Hook and shooting an arrow into the sea from Hook Head Lighthouse. On New Year’s Day 2018 The Dunbrody Archers will assist the Mayor of New Ross in an ‘arrow ceremony’. The Mayor will cast an arrow into the sea symbolising the Ports authority over the estuary.

Members of the public are invited to come and watch the free historical event at 3pm on New Year’s Day.

Commenting on the up coming event, Ann Waters Manager at Hook Lighthouse said, “We are delighted to host the ‘Taking of the Waters’ ceremony here at Hook Lighthouse, it’s an age old tradition and a wonderful opportunity for an ancient element of history to continue to be relived here annually in Ireland’s Ancient East.”

Hook is renowned as the oldest intact working lighthouse in the world and was first used by monks who lit fires to keep ships safe over 900 years ago. The Hook Lighthouse tour incorporates 115 steps to the top of the lighthouse tower featuring holograms illustrating the ancient history of the tower and the Hook area and spectacular views of the southern coast.

Hook Lighthouse Visitor Centre and Café closes on December 16th and re- re-opens on St Stephen’s Day at 11am and will remain open throughout the holiday season. The visitor centre opened in its initial form 16 years ago and, since then, hundreds of thousands of people have passed through its doors and climbed its many steps. For further details see www.hookheritage.ie

Jimmy’s Take Away running year long fundraiser for Skerries RNLI

Dec 1st 2017: Skerries RNLI volunteers visited Jimmy’s Take Away and Pizzeria in Skerries last week, for the launch of a generous 12 month long fundraising campaign.

As well as being the owner and manager of Jimmy’s Take Away and Pizzeria in Skerries Point, Jimmy is well known in the town for his spectacular aerial and landscape photography. As he spends a lot of his time near the coast capturing his images, Jimmy is very aware of the work that the lifeboat volunteers do and wanted to do something to help Skerries RNLI continue saving lives at sea. After some brainstorming he came up with a plan to donate 50c for every single meal deal sold for an entire year.

Speaking about the fundraising campaign, Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: ‘The RNLI is funded entirely by voluntary contributions, and we have a team of fundraisers working really hard behind the scenes to keep things moving. It’s really appreciated when people from the community approach us to offer their support. Jimmy is well known around Skerries, not just for his great food and excellent photography, but for his community spirit. He is always looking for a way to give back to the community and this is just another example of his generosity’

Skerries RNLI volunteer crew with Jimmy from Jimmy’s Take Away and Pizzeria. Front row (Left to right): AJ Hughes, Marian Kennedy, Steven Johnston. Back row (Left to right): Ian Guildea, Paddy Dillon, Xhemajl Abdullahu(Jimmy), Conor Walsh.

Pictured at this year's BIM Seafood Retail Awards are Lar McCarthy, winner in the Independent Seafood Specialist award category BIM Seafood Retail Business Award 2018; Anne Stephens, The Fish Market, Maynooth, winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger 2018 (Independent Seafood Specialist); Scott Smullen, Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt, winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger 2018 (Supermarket Seafood Counter) and Daniel Drwal of Tarpey's Super Valu in Cavan winners in the Supermarket category for the Seafood Retail Business Award. The Awards are designed to celebrate seafood retail managers that can demonstrate successful business models, excellent understanding of seafood, coupled with outstanding business and sales acumen.

The Fisheries Podcast

Tom MacSweeney

The new MARINE TIMES Podcast Service
(click on photo to listen)

With so much else going on right now - the Brexit negotiations - the 'Battle of Britain' as it might be called and that other annual 'battle' - as it might also be called - over fishing quotas, it is, the talk of the fishing ports and the industry that Minister Michael Creed has indicated he is determined to reintroduce a Penalty Points system which is again being strongly criticised on the grounds that it will deny fishermen equal treatment with other Irish citizens.

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast here

THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme is produced with the support of the Marine Times and presented by Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, reporting on the culture, history, tradition and developments of MARITIME IRELAND. Listen to the latest programme here.


How 30,000 seabirds spend the Winter in the the biggest commercial port in the country is told on this edition of the maritime radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, which also recounts how the Aran Islanders succeeded in their long campaign to preserve the island's ferry service - and got cheaper fares in the process!

As always, intriguing and interesting stories on THIS ISLAND NATION, the maritime programme for MARITIME IRELAND.

The programme is presented here by
Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney

Salmon losses at Connemara Fish Farms caused by Jellyfish

Claims by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages that Cardiomyopathy Syndrome was responsible for salmon mortalities earlier this year at three Connemara aquaculture sites are false.

8th December 2017: While this non-listed disease was diagnosed on a salmon farm in the south- west of the country earlier this year, it was not responsible for mortalities at sites in Connemara. This disease has no impact on human health and is not listed as a disease which should be subject to control measures either under EU Regulations (Council Directive 2006/88/EC) or by the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). Clinical cases of Cardiomyopathy Syndrome have only been reported in farmed Atlantic salmon.

Earlier this year, during August and September, stinger jellyfish swarms resulted in significant mortalities at three aquaculture sites in the West, and one in the south-west of the country. Such jelly fish incursions are natural phenomena, which occur without warning and which can result in significant mortalities of both farmed and wild fish. Appropriate veterinary intervention occurred on each site which was affected by these jelly fish swarms and dead fish were removed and disposed of in compliance with Animal By-Product Regulations.

The Marine Institute is monitoring the situation as the Competent Authority for the implementation of Council Directive 2006/88/EC and as the designated National Reference Laboratory for finfish diseases under that legislation.

Scientists uncover important habitat of elusive beaked whales

1st December 2017: A team of scientists on board the RV Celtic Voyager during a recent survey to understand the habitat use of elusive beaked whales, got more than they bargained for when they encountered four separate groups of breaching whales within a couple of hours survey effort near the Rockall Trough.

Ní Riada raises pulse fishing concerns in Europe

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has once again raised her concerns about the unknown effects of pulse fishing.

29th Nov 2017: The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, was speaking after the committee voted to allow electric pulse fishing to be used by a small percentage of ships, under strict conditions as an innovative gear on a trial basis. Ms Ní Riada was also able to table an amendment which will ensure small-scale low impact fleets can fish in closed fisheries through joint recommendations by Member States.

“The fact of the matter regarding pulse fishing is that we simply don't know the long term effects it will have on stocks or the environment,” she said.

“All we have are anecdotal, and often conflicting, reports from various proponents from the industrial sector, many who have vested interests in the practice.

“It would be highly irresponsible at the best of times to allow any such practice to go ahead unfettered without first thoroughly researching it but with Brexit posing the biggest threat to our fishing industry in history we have to be more protective of Irish waters than ever.

“My amendment ensures that local fishermen and organisations will have a much more significant say in what practices can and cant be used in their area.

“There is nobody I trust more to ensure that Irish waters are kept safe and sustainable than Irish fishermen.

“I certainly have no desire to stand in the way of sustainable fishing and if a thorough assessment shows pulse fishing not to be unselective, unsustainable or catastrophic then so be it, but that is not what fishermen are saying on the ground.

“There are too many reports about the damaging effect it can have from around the world to allow it to go ahead unchecked.

“The practice simply has too many unknowns and as our fishermen face into the greatest crisis their industry has ever seen I am not minded to begin taking risks with their livelihoods.”


On this week's FISHERIES PODCAST, Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, says that it's not only in times of tragedy that RTE, other national radio stations and the national press, should recognise the value of coastal communities.

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast here

On this FISHERIES PODCAST, Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, suggests that you take a test to see how you would feel about being held to be guilty by the State even if a Court found you innocent and no - it's not happening in a foreign despot State. This is what the Minister for the Marine is proposing to do to Irish fishermen.

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast here

On this FISHERIES PODCAST, how much real interest does the Government have in preserving the offshore island communities? The Secretary of Comhdháil Oleán na hÉireann, Rhoda Twombly, tells Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, that it hasn't enough commitment to even use the word 'Islands'.

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast here

Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, recommends a book to the Minister for the Marine, his Department officials and politicians who made decisions which so heavily and badly affected coastal fishing communities. Preserving fishing and coastal communities does not get enough official support from Government and State. This book tells of the short-sighted policies and maritime blindness inside national agencies and how they rejected the cultural importance of fishing communities..

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast, by Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney.

Is The Sea Fisheries Amendment Bill Incoherent?

This week the Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed, made a major attack on the British Government, describing its approach to Brexit negotiations as "incoherent."

The Minister was very strong in his comments about the official British attitude. The Government there had "no coherence" around their strategy, he said.

His comments have not been particularly well received in British Government circles. They came at the same time as his policy towards the fishing industry in the context of the Sea Fisheries Bill was described as "unbelievable" as he continues with efforts to try to get it through the Seanad where it is at the Committee Stage.

"It is unreal that this is still going ahead," said the Irish Fish Producers' Organisation.

Could this be an "incoherent" policy approach by the Minister, or is it being forced upon him by his officials?

Those questions are being raised within the fishing industry because of the widespread repercussions which are feared as a result of the content of the Bill which, according to legal advice, could widen considerably access by all EU vessels within the 0-6 miles territorial limits. With British withdrawal from the EU and though the Government maintains that the Bill is an agreement only with Northern Ireland, that could be successfully legally challenged and used to apply to all other EU boats as the Irish Government will have no rights to make separate agreements with the UK and what is now being done in the Bill could be used to demand widen access to Irish waters for all EU fishing vessels.

This FISHERIES PODCAST examines the term "incoherent" as it might apply in the context of the Sea Fisheries Amendment Bill.


Returning Irish holidaymakers impressed by European seafood, but did it come from Irish waters and could it be part of BIM's figures for increased landings, but not by Irish boats?

The topic of this edition of the FISHERIES PODCAST by Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney

Ireland Could Learn a Spanish Lesson

The Marine Time's Deputy Editor reports that when the Spanish don't like Irish boats fishing off their coast, they don't hesitate to make it difficult for them. Ireland could take this as an example of how to control Spanish boats in Irish waters.

Listen to this edition of the Fisheries Podcast here.


BIM - Taste the Atlantic - 2017 from Bord Iascaigh Mhara on Vimeo.

December 2017 Issue - Vol 30 No.07

December 2017 issue in all good stockists

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Carmarose fishing mackerel - Photo by Paul Dirrane

Dermot Conway

The Danger of Spin
Fisheries Solicitor Dermot Conway writes that it is “nothing short of appalling to watch TD’s accept at face value all sort of nasty assertions being peddled about the fishing industry, without any questioning” and “a disgrace to see public representatives forming opinions based on ‘fake news’.

Art Kavanagh

Unity is the Key
BIM held their Annual National Seafood Conference in Galway on 29th June and there was a good attendance. Overall it was a good day and there was general agreement at least from those I spoke with that the atmosphere was good and positive.

We need to talk about super trawlers ...
Liadh Ni Riada, MEP

"In an effort to highlight the seriousness of what may be about to happen as a result of the “so called” public consultation on reviewing our fishing boat licence policy, a number of us fishermen have decided that we can no longer remain silent while PO’s, governments and state agencies continue to mismanage Ireland’s fishing industry for the benefit of a small number of players in return for political advantage."

Rogues Gallery - see page 35 of our December 2017 issue to see if you made the cut ;0) Photo above courtesy of William Power

Union Hall RNLI to be formally established on a permanent basis

4th December 2017: Volunteers at Union Hall RNLI are celebrating the news that their lifeboat station in West Cork is to be formally established following a successful trial. The recommendation subject to the provision of a long term shoreworks solution was approved at a recent meeting of the RNLI Trustees.

Dunmore East RNLI invites all to attend
Christmas Tree of Remembrance ceremony

Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat crew and fundraising branch will erect a special Christmas Tree of Remembrance outside the Waterford lifeboat station to honour those no longer here. The tree will remain there throughout the festive season and will be decorated with ribbons which will have specially written messages on them.

Scientists Discover Tsunami Not the Cause of Boulderite Deposits in the Northwest of Ireland
NUI Galway and University of Oxford study proves centuries-old giant boulder deposits in the Northwest of Ireland were caused by high Atlantic storm waves

1st December 2017: Professor Paul Ryan from NUI Galway and Professor John Dewey from University of Oxford have carried out research that proves the spectacular boulder deposits of Annagh Head in County Mayo were caused not by an unknown tsunami but by Atlantic storm waves of up to 30 metres breaking against the shore for hundreds of years. The findings were published this week in the leading journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Minister Michael Creed TD receives Marine Institute Fish Stock Book 2017

29th Nov 2017: The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD has received the Marine Institute Annual Stock Book. The Stock Book, which is one of the principal annual publications of the Institute, provides the latest impartial scientific advice on commercially exploited fish stocks of interest to Ireland. The Stock Book is used by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at the annual quota negotiations with the EU in December of each year and throughout the year at fisheries management meetings. The publication provides the latest scientific advice for 61 fish stocks.

Minister Creed said, “The information presented by the Marine Institute in the Stock Book is critical to the preparations for the annual fisheries negotiations which are coming up in the next fortnight. The detailed stock by stock guide ensures we have the most up to date scientific advice at our finger tips. The fishing industry is a vital part of Ireland’s coastal economy, with Ireland’s quotas worth approximately €226 million in 2017”.

Dr Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute CEO said, “The seas around Ireland are among the most productive and biologically sensitive areas in EU waters. Our fisheries scientists spend collectively over 1000 scientific days each year at sea on the Marine Institutes two research vessels, surveying fish stocks and habitats so that we can have the best available information on the state of our stocks. Throughout the year our scientists also participate in and lead ICES working groups on international fish stocks in order to maintain healthy ocean ecosystems and sustain Ireland’s important blue economy.”

Throughout the year the Stock Book also serves as a valuable reference to a wide audience, including the fishing industry, managers, marine scientists, environmental NGO’s, third level institutes, financial institutions and those with an interest in the status and management of marine fisheries resources in the waters around Ireland.

The Stock Book is available electronically on the Marine Institute’s web site at www.marine.ie

Clean Coasts Ocean Talks and Ocean Hero 2017

29th Nov 2017: The Clean Coasts programme was delighted to host Ocean Talks with our Ocean Hero Awards on 21st November 2017 at the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin. The presence of marine litter in our oceans is a global concern that requires action. Adequate measures are needed to address the impacts of litter in the marine environment both at sea and on land whereby public awareness and community action plays a vital role. The Clean Coasts Ocean Talks and Ocean Hero Awards will bring together key stakeholders in the area of marine litter such as coastal communities, NGOs, tourism bodies, the science community, business and the fishing industry.

Donegal school takes first place in national ‘Something Fishy’ Competition 2017


Gartan National School of Churchill, Letterkenny, wins out over 113 schools and 9 Education Centres nationwide.