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Regular news and views from Ireland’s leading maritime newspaper. The printed April edition is in all good shops and available online now as a digital download, covering all the major developments as reported by Ireland’s leading maritime newspaper. Click on links above to purchase your annual subscription!

Tom MacSweeney's MARITIME PODCAST - April

On the April edition of Tom MacSweeney's Maritime Podcast, Ireland’s only maritime broadcast, an interview with the President of Irish sailing, the national organisation for the sport, discussing the changes in the organisation “not a revolution – an evolution” – and the current state of the sport in Ireland and its reputation internationally; How the City of Ragusa made history on the Atlantic Ocean and 200 small boats which have sailed across it unmanned; and also my view of the RNLI in Ireland, drawn from my years of reporting on the lifeboat service

News 12th April:
High response rate to latest BIM National Seafood Survey for Fisheries

The latest National Seafood Survey for fisheries launched in October 2023, (collecting data for 2022) closed at the end of January with 500 surveys completed by vessel owners, more than double the survey returns from last year and the highest response rate achieved for the fleet yet.

Survey returns from the inshore fleet, in particular, were significantly higher this year. 2022 was an extremely challenging year for the sector due to soaring energy costs, high inflation linked to the war in Ukraine and ongoing quota reductions as a result of Brexit. High response rates to the survey this year have helped BIM to gain insights into the impacts these challenges have had on the economic performance of the fleet at a national and segment level. Full story here

News 26th March:
Fishermen implore urgent access to mackerel fishery

KFO calls on Minister to prioritise Council quota outcome

The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to distribute the additional mackerel quota negotiated at the December Fisheries Council as a matter of urgency. The KFO was highly appreciative of the efforts made by Minister McConalogue and the Department in securing this extra quota. However, three months into 2024, the pelagic vessel owners who lost up to 25 per cent off their bottom line following from the quota transfers of mackerel to the UK under Brexit, have still not seen the benefits of this additional quota. Full story here

News 24th March:
Castletownbere RNLI to feature in popular documentary series as Saving Lives at Sea returns to the screen

As the RNLI marks 200 years of lifesaving, the volunteer lifeboat crew at Castletownbere are set to take to television screens on Tuesday 2 April at 8pm, as they feature in the ninth series of popular TV show Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two and iPlayer.

Group shot of RNLI volunteer crew member, shot in Lyme Regis for Series 9 of the BBC / Blast programme Saving Lives at Sea ( SLAS ). Left to right: Neil Sutor (Portishead), Janet Iqbal (Largs), Angharad Masson (Porthcawl), Maria Bull (Dungeness), Dave Fenton (Castletownbere).

The new series comes in the wake of an incredible milestone for the RNLI, as the charity marked two centuries of lifesaving on 4 March 2024. It began with a special first episode, guest presented by long-time RNLI supporter Dermot O’Leary, taking a closer look at RNLI crews’ involvement in the Second World War. Full story here

News 11th March:
Legendary Dublin Painting and Sketching Club Celebrates 150th Anniversary in The Substation at Dublin Port

New Exhibition ‘Shorelines’ to Open on Life of the Sea

Artist Dave West with his piece Low Tide, Balbriggan Harbour, featuring in Shorelines, an exhibition at The Substation at Dublin Port chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin. It marks the 150th anniversary of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club, which counts Nathaniel Hone, John Butler Yeats and Bram Stoker among its past members.

Shorelines, a vibrant new exhibition chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin, will come to The Substation at Dublin Port, courtesy of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club (DPSC) and Dublin Port Company (DPC). The exhibition will contain brand-new works from some of Ireland’s most exciting and dynamic artists, who will bring an immediacy to the life of the sea across paintings, etchings and sculpture. Full story here

News 9th March:
Major Rescue in Irish Sea as RNLI lifeboats Respond to Fishing Vessel Mayday

RNLI lifeboats from St Davids, Fishguard, Newquay and Kilmore Quay stations launched to a Mayday distress call from a fishing vessel taking on water on Friday 8 March.

Kilmore Quay lifeboat Victor Freeman begins escorting the fishing vessel. Photo Courtesy of St Davids RNLI

The 24 metre Irish trawler had five crew onboard and was some 21 nautical miles North West of Strumble Head when HM Coastguard tasked our charity's Welsh lifeboats just before midday. Full story here

News 5th March:
TG4 follows the fishing community of the Dingle peninsula in new series: Meitheal Mara Chorca Dhuibhne

In this series we meet the fishing community of Corca Dhuibhne, their families and community, as they carry out their work over the fishing season from March to October.

The Dingle peninsula has always had a strong reputation for its fishing culture and the sea has nourished the people of the peninsula as they have passed their tradition on from generation to generation. People are still make their livelihood from the sea and in this series we meet the fishing community of Corca Dhuibhne, their families and community, as they carry out their work over the fishing season from March to October. Between challenging weather and government regulation, the ups and downs of life at sea, join us and experience the working crew of the sea. Full story here

Irish Pelagic processing sector hits record low levels in 2024

Factories ending processing weeks earlier than normal as trends worsen

The Irish pelagic fish processing sector has recorded historical low levels of fish landings in Q1 of 2024, and with the mackerel landings effectively concluded; indications are that 2024 is set to be the worst year in the history of pelagic processing that Ireland has ever experienced stated Brendan Byrne CEO of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association. Full story here

News 24th February:
Wicklow RNLI assist fishing vessel with rope fouled propeller

Three fishermen were brought to safety by Wicklow RNLI on Thursday afternoon (22 February), after their vessel developed mechanical problems three miles southeast of Wicklow Head.

Wicklow RNLI team post call out

The all-weather lifeboat RNLB Bridie O’Shea slipped its moorings at 2.50pm from the South Quay and put to sea under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh. Full story here

News 16th February:
Government has not acted in the best interest of Ireland’s fishing communities

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said Government has not acted in the best interest of Ireland’s fishing communities, as he expressed concerns for the future of the fishing industry.

Addressing the Dáil on Thursday, Deputy Pringle said: “For those who aren’t from a fishing community, it can be hard to understand how much of a negative impact the EU and Brexit have had and the devastating downturn these communities have experienced in recent decades. Killybegs was once known as a very prosperous town, with ‘the herring running free’, as the famous song goes. Full story here

News 14th February:
Minister announces Public Consultation on a Review of Trawling Inside the Six Nautical Mile Zone and the Baselines

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, has launched a public consultation today on fishing with trawls inside the six nautical mile zone and the baselines and is seeking the public’s opinion on the matter.

Minister McConalogue said: “Five years ago, in December 2018, a transition to a ban on vessels over 18 metres trawling in inshore waters, inside the six nautical mile zone and the baselines, was announced following a previous public consultation. This ban had a strong support base but was overturned following legal challenge. In view of changes in activity and issues concerning the marine space since then, I think it is important that this issue is reviewed and reflected on in an open, inclusive process.” Full story here

Baltimore lifeboat crew honoured by RNLI for eight-hour rescue that saved the life of a sailor who capsized

Three volunteer lifeboat crew with Baltimore RNLI were honoured recently, at a local event, for their part in a rescue that saved the life of a single-handed sailor, after his catamaran capsized off the coast of Baltimore, in West Cork. Coxswain Aiden Bush, Helm Brendan Cottrell and crewmember Brian McSweeney, received individual framed Letters of Thanks, signed by the Chair of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. RNLI Council member Ian Venner presented the awards, which was held at a station dinner, in Caseys of Baltimore.

Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Tom Bushe, Lifeboat Helm Brendan Cottrell, Coxswain Aiden Bush, RNLI Council member Ian Venner, Baltimore RNLI crew member Brian McSweeney with Baltimore RNLI volunteer Declan Tiernan

The lifeboat callout began at 5.40pm on 19 July 2022, after the Coast Guard requested Baltimore RNLI, go to the aid of a sailor onboard his capsized catamaran, 70 nautical miles off the coast of Baltimore. The sailor was participating in a single-handed yacht race from France to the south coast of Ireland and back to France. The Coast Guard helicopter from Shannon was also tasked but due to the rough seas, gale force conditions and a tangle of wires and netting on the vessel, it was deemed too dangerous to attempt a rescue from the air. Full story here

News 6th February:
Arranmore RNLI bring fishing crew to safety after 26-hour rescue mission

Lifeboat crew from Arranmore RNLI finally got to their beds at 1.20am this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) after spending over 26 hours at sea to bring a fishing vessel, with five people onboard, to safety. The Coast Guard requested the Donegal lifeboat to launch on Sunday evening at 10.50pm, after the vessel, which was 48 miles north of Arranmore, reported being in difficulty.

In challenging conditions for the lifeboat crew, with swells of up to five and half metres and winds of up to 60kph, a decision was taken, when on scene, that the safest option would be to establish a tow to bring the fishing vessel to a suitable safe port. Full story here

News 25th January:
Union Hall RNLI volunteer reflects on community loss and a personal challenge in West Cork

In the latest edition of 200 Voices, the RNLI podcast, Pamela Deasy has vivid memories of January 2012 and the loss of five crew on a fishing trawler in Glandore Harbour and the subsequent establishment of a lifeboat station at Union Hall.

In My Lifeline, Pamela, who is volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Union Hall RNLI remembers the morning the 'Tit Bonhomme’ floundered on Adam Island at the entrance to Glandore Harbour with the loss of five crew. She recalls the month-long search to recover the bodies of the lost fishermen and a letter she wrote to the RNLI appealing for a lifeboat station at Union Hall. Full story here

News 22nd January:
Freeze Iceland Bid for Irish Blue Whiting
Ireland Must Show Teeth at EU-Iceland Talks and Demand Reciprocal Deal

The Government must seriously ‘up its game’ at EU talks on Iceland’s bid to access Irish fishing waters, say fishing leaders. They must fight for our fishing industry the way other EU Member States do, says Aodh O Donnell of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO).

“The Irish Blue Whiting quota is worth around €15 million for 2024,” says O Donnell. “If this new deal goes ahead, Iceland can catch almost the same amount of blue whiting in Irish waters as we do. They have a population of less than 380,000 compared to our population of over 5.2m. They are not an EU member. How is this a fair deal?” Full story here

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