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Marine Committee Considers Steps to Develop Ireland’s Fisheries with BIM

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine heard of the need for more targeted investment in Ireland’s fisheries sector to ensure sustainability of both fish stocks in Irish waters and rural coastal communities that fish them.

The Committee was engaging with BIM on their 2013 Annual Report, which outlines the progress towards achieving Ireland’s ambitious Food Harvest 2020 targets.

Committee Chairman Andrew Doyle TD says: “We thank Bord Iascaigh Mhara representatives for an upbeat assessment of Ireland’s fisheries industry. The Fisheries Sub-Committee report on sustaining Ireland’s rural and coastal communities, launched last year, was raised by a number of Members, who expressed concerns that its detailed recommendations are struggling to gain traction.

“The Committee remains concerned about the sustainability of the inshore fleet. While the renewed dialogue with stakeholders in the past year is to be welcomed, Committee Members pointed out that smaller operators may have to move towards greater collaboration in order to survive.

“In forthright exchanges, Committee Members pressed the BIM representatives on the scale of aquaculture projects that are being planned, amid considerable local opposition. Committee Members question BIM representatives on whether smaller projects might afford local people more ownership of the projects, particularly if they were to be run along cooperative lines, which has proven to be a successful model in Scotland.

“Reflecting on recent discussions with a Committee delegation and the European Commission, Members asked whether Ireland was collectively doing enough to avail of funding on Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs). We were told that, while the Groups were divided geographically to give every rural coastal community an opportunity to access EU funding, careful consideration must be given to seeking funding strategically, in a manner that realises projects of sufficient scale that will achieve the maximum benefit to the coastal communities.”


This Island Nation - 23rd March 2015 by Cry104fm on Mixcloud

Marine Minister Forecasts Revival Of Wooden Boat Building

Marine Minister Simon Coveney is confident that wooden boat building in Ireland is going to be revived. Traditional skills have been lost and there are fears that they will disappear forever, but the Minister sounds a confident note about preserving them on the current edition of my maritime programme, THIS ISLAND NATION.

"This project is going to reinvigorate wooden boat building in Ireland again. It is going to open a new chapter for us," he says. "Hopefully multiple ports around the country will be able to build projects like this in the future. We still have great skill sets of wooden boat building available to us in Ireland which we must not lose. It is projects like this that will keep them alive and encourage a new young generation."

I recorded Mr.Coveney at Liam Hegarty's boatyard at Oldcourt near Skibbereen where the Ilen, the last traditional sailing boat of its kind, is being restored. It is the boat which the legendary Conor O'Brien had built for the Falkland Islanders who so admired his previous vessel, Saoirse, when he sailed it into those islands during his round-the-world voyage in 1923-25. Liam Hegarty's yard at Oldcourt on a bend of the road from Skibbereen to Baltimore in West Cork is one of the few remaining that specialises in wooden boat building.

The Falklanders asked O'Brien, the first Irishman to sail a round-the-world voyage to emulate the boat on which he arrived in Port Stanley. He did as they asked, having the Ilen built in Baltimore, where Saoirse was also constructed. With two Cape Clear Islanders as crew, he sailed it to the Falklands in 1926 where it worked for 70 years until Limerickman, Gary McMahon, had it brought back to Ireland in 1997:

I was the only reporter on the quayside in Dublin when it was landed there from the deck of a cargo ship, looking every bit her age of 71 years at the time. So it was a great feeling to stand on her deck in Liam Hegarty's boatshed where the restoration work has been carried out, in conjunction with the AK Ilen boat building school, initiated by Gary McMahon, the driving force of the project Such a change from the condition in which I had seen her in the Dublin docks 18 years ago.

Gary McMahon, Liam Hegarty and Minister Coveney tell the story on the programme. Gary and Liam are both confident that Ilenwill be back in the water, sailing once again. She may provide opportunities for effective sail training. Several sources have provided restoration funding. More is needed for a project which, as the Minister said, can restore Ireland's resource of traditional skills.

Also on the programme you can hear the story of a submarine which sank not once, but twice, which will make you wonder whether superstition about changing the names of boats is correct. And did you know that the Dubs beat the Kingdom … Not in football, but fishing…??

Tune into the programme here to hear more.


BIM Donate Funds from New Lobster Gauge Sales to Charity ‘LAST’
BIM raised funds for the charity ‘LAST’ (Lost at Sea Tragedies) through the sale of the new lobster gauge at the recent Skipper Expo in Galway. The gauge incorporates the current Minimum landing size of 87mm with the new Maximum landing size of 127mm. The new gauges have been brought in following new conservation measures introduced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in December in January. Under the new protection measure for lobster, a maximum landing size of 127mm was introduced to support the reproductive potential of the stock. BIM are delighted to announce a total of €800 was raised for this very worthy charity which aims to support and offer guidance to the families of those lost to fishing tragedies.

Pictured at the Skipper Expo with BIM’s Fisheries Development Manager Ian Lawler is the Founder of LAST and Chair of the South-East Fisheries Local Action Group, Noel McDonagh.

Dail Committee Challenges Department of the Marine About Operations in the Main Fishery Harbours
The Department of the Marine is being challenged by the Dáil Public Accounts Committee to account for the manner in which it has been operating the country’s major fishery harbours. The Chairman of the PAC has revealed that it is compiling a report, following complaints from various sources and an investigation visit to Howth. The Marine Times has been reporting problems and complaints from individuals and businesses at several of the harbours for several months. After a report about the case of a young engineer who claimed he was denied a premises at Howth by the Department, despite several unused buildings owned by the Department there, the Dáil Committee visited the County Dublin Port, saying that it wanted to “assess first-hand the extent to which strategic assets owned by the State are being used.”


Full report in our March issue

The Need for Local Management
The desire by the State to permit a leisure pot fishery is almost inevitably going to destroy the newly announced National Inshore Fisheries Forum as fishermen’s groups have found that they are not being listened to ..... The members of the Galway Bay Inshore Fishermen’s Association held a meeting in Galway on the 10th Feb. The shrimp season was winding down and the members felt the need to agree appropriate management measures so that the fishery would continue to provide a reliable income to the 26 members of the association into the future.

Full report in our March issue

MFV “Carmarose” at the mackerel. Photo courtesy Martin Doherty.

Water Is Best When Seen Widely
Amidst the huge national controversy about water charges, not a single politician, not a single section of the national media, or any of the parties on any side of the debate has drawn any connection between the rivers and lakes of Ireland which provide this essential sustenance for human life and the seas around this island nation. It is by virtue of travelling those pathways to the sea that human life gets access to this vital commodity. Its importance has been highlighted by the controversy, as has the waste of the resource.

Full report in our March issue "Forum"

A Lifetime Fishing:
Memory Lane - Pat Nolan Recalls

In January 2006 Marine Times Newspaper Editor, Mark Mc Carthy, kindly invited me to pen a monthly column. Originally the articles were based on my BIM 50-footer research, but later changed to A Lifetime Fishing. Acquiring content saw me arranging interviews and travelling around coastal Ireland to meet up with fishermen, shipwrights and others associated with yesteryear seagoing. Initially I wasn’t sure about how it would go but I needn’t have worried because I was welcomed into homes, met wives and families, and indeed enjoyed endless hospitality. Many thanks to men, around one hundred in number, who took time out to recall their lifetime experiences! It was my great pleasure to record their memories.

Read Pat's final chapter of "A Lifetime Fishing" in our March issue

Irish Rugby coach Joe Schmidt pictured being presented with a hamper of West Cork seafood by Finbarr Harrington and John Crowley representing Castletownbere based company Shellfish Ireland. Photo by Declan Forrest.

Proposals to Solve Nephrops Problem on Aran Grounds
Fishermen lead with proposals that will be economically difficult but they may yield some advantages in terms of improving the stock biomass
According to the Marine Institute, for the last number of years prawn densities have been declining on the Aran grounds. Producer organisations were made aware of this problem in October of last year. The IFPO (Irish Fish Producers Organisation) committed to have a meeting in early 2015, first of all to see if there was a problem and secondly to see if there was a way forward to solve the problem minimising the long term economic impacts where possible.

Full report in our March issue

Dredging of Dunmore East Harbour
Is the Long Wait Finally Over - This Time?

As we go to press the response deadline for the Tender notices for the dredging of Dunmore East Harbour will have passed. The decades long wait and oft promised dredging should be completed by August 2015 - that is if this tender process is taken up by the Department ... this time! If Dunmore East has to wait any longer it will soon be impossible for any vessel of any size to make use of the harbour - at the moment vessels are sitting on the ground during low tides (see photo courtesy of John Colfer).



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