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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a funding call of up to €1 million to support vital conservation projects around the country through the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund.

Since 2016, more than €6 million in grants have been awarded to over 280 projects throughout the country under various funding schemes operated by IFI.

From now until Friday 16 December, eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders are invited to express their interest in applying for funding to support fisheries conservation through IFI’s Habitats and Conservation Scheme.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on habitat rehabilitation and conservation, such as rehabilitating damaged river habitats, improving water quality and helping fish overcome physical barriers like weirs.

In similar schemes in 2022, a total of €1,123,000 in funding was approved for 35 habitats and conservation projects based in Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Wexford, Westmeath and Wicklow.

A rock ramp fish pass on the Burren River at Ballinacarrig, Co Carlow | Credit: IFIA rock ramp fish pass on the Burren River at Ballinacarrig, Co Carlow | Credit: IFI

Suzanne Campion, head of business development at IFI said that the scheme’s focus is on protecting and conserving fish species and their habitats for future generations.

“Since 2016, projects under the Habitats and Conservation Fund have delivered approximately 29km of in-stream maintenance works and 37 kilometres of habitat restoration works. As well as that, 83km of spawning and nursery habitats have been made more accessible to migratory fish species, through five fish passage projects,” she said.

“Under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme, which is made possible through fishing licence and permit income, groups can now apply for grants to fund projects and measures in 2023 to continue this vital environmental work.”

In addition to the €1 million in funding available through the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund, up to €50,000 is available through the Midlands Fisheries Fund.

An information guide about the funding call is available to download. As part of the two-step process, all applicants must firstly complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ application on Inland Fisheries Ireland’s online grant management portal before 5.30pm on Friday 16 December.

After expressions of interest have been completed, full applications that align to fund objectives can be submitted via the online grant management portal until 5.30pm on Friday 27 January 2023. Decisions on applications and grants will be announced by IFI in May 2023.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is working on a new Customer Charter and Action Plan for 2023 to 2025 — and welcomes public input on its drafting.

Customer charters are short statements describing the level of service that you can expect from a State agency.

IFI is currently conducting a quality assurance review of its existing customer charter and is seeking feedback and suggestions via an online survey.

The State agency for Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources says: “Your views can really help shape our new Customer Charter, so please take a few moments to fill out our short survey to share your views with us. It will only take between five and 10 minutes to complete.”

The survey closes on 9pm on Monday 5 December.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is progressing its plans to develop a new modern fish farm facility in Co Tipperary based on ‘recirculating aquaculture system’ (RAS) technology.

The new aquaculture project will be located in Roscrea and it will shortly enter the design and planning permission phase.

It is expected that the new fish farm will become operational in 2026, says the the statutory body responsible for inland fisheries in Ireland.

In the meantime, IFI says it expects to continue its current fish farm operations as normal, supplying brown trout and rainbow trout to its angling stakeholders.

IFI has has placed a Prior Information Notice (PIN) on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Any businesses or individuals that are interested in this public procurement process can register for email alerts on the eTenders website.

Published in Aquaculture

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is now inviting applications from oyster fishers seeking a licence to operate an oyster dredge for the 2023 season.

The licence fee for 2023 is €94 and applications will only be accepted from applicants with boats on the sea fishing boat register of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Completed applications for next year’s season — addressed to the relevant IFI office and stating which fishery for which the application is being sought — must be received before noon on Monday 5 December.

For more information, the procedure and application form, see the IFI website HERE.

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is now preparing a draft Irish Language Scheme for review by An Coimisinéir Teanga following a public consultation this past summer.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the initiative aims for accordance with Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003, which has the goal of ensuring better availability and a higher standard of public services through the Irish language.

IFI says one public submission (from Conradh na Gaeilge) was received during the six-week consultation process, which concluded on 6 July, and it has made that submission available to download in English and Irish.

Published in Angling

Three Mayo men have been convicted of false imprisonment, assault and obstruction as they attempted to evade fisheries officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) at Belderrig Pier on the North Mayo coast two years ago.

At a sitting of Ballina District Court on 12 July this year, Judge Fiona Lydon also convicted the men of possessing illegally caught wild Atlantic salmon and nets, in charges brought by IFI. The charges of false imprisonment were brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Daniel McHale, with an address of Belderrig Mor in Ballina, was sentenced to six months in prison, which was suspended for two years. Liam McHale of Carnrock in Belmullet was sentenced to four months in prison, also suspended for two years. Joachim McNulty, with an address of Belderrig Beg in Ballina, was sentenced to four months in prison, which was suspended for two years. The three men were also ordered to pay €2,500 each to charity.

The court heard evidence from Lonan O’Farrell, an inspector with IFI that on the evening of 15 July 2020, the men were approached by fisheries officers as they recovered their boat at Belderrig Pier on the North Mayo coast.

The fisheries officers suspected that the men had illegally caught wild Atlantic salmon and illegal gill nets on board but were obstructed and assaulted when they lawfully attempted to board the vessel.

A fisheries officer was subsequently assaulted and knocked overboard by one of the men, but two colleagues managed to board the vessel. When the fisheries officer swam safely back to the pier, the court heard that emergency services were contacted and An Garda Síochána quickly arrived on the scene.

With two fisheries officers still on board, the men took the boat out to sea and refused to obey orders to return the boat back to port. A short time later, the men agreed to bring the boat back to port and the fisheries officers were able to get back to the pier safely.

The boat, An Deiseach, was later detained in Porturlin Harbour where forensics and salmon scale samples were taken as evidence for the subsequent criminal prosecution. Fisheries officers, along with An Garda Síochana, seized three vehicles on the night belonging to the men in question.

Inspector Pat Armstrong, officer Brian Flannery and assistant inspector Michael Wilson, all with IFI, also gave evidence during court proceedings providing their accounts of the incident to Judge Lydon.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell welcomed the convictions, saying it was one of the most serious incidents that the agency has come across.

“Thanks to the brave actions of our fisheries Oofficers, a major illegal fishing gang has been stopped and brought to justice,” he said. “However, in the course of doing their job to protect vulnerable fish species, such as wild Atlantic salmon, they were obstructed, assaulted and falsely imprisoned. This is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated in Irish society.

“This very serious case sends out a clear message to those involved in illegal fishing — we will use our full powers under the law to protect people doing their jobs and to prosecute offenders through the courts.”

O’Donnell also thanked An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of IFI for their assistance in the case.

Fisheries Officers have nominated three charities — the Charlie Bird Fund, Western Alzheimer’s Association and the RNLI — to receive the three €2,500 donations.

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened a new footbridge over the Owenea River near Glenties in Co Donegal.

In a welcome boost for angling access on the Owenea fishery, the new steel footbridge was commissioned by IFI to replace the former ‘Green Bridge’, which was constructed in the 1970s but had fallen into disrepair.

The new steel footbridge is now officially open to anglers and the public.

Funded through the National Strategy for Angling Development, the custom-designed footbridge will provide safe access to both banks of the Owenea fishery between Beats 4 and 5, near Glenties.

The Owenea fishery, which is directly managed by IFI, remains one of the most productive salmon rivers in Co Donegal.

The fishery has a good run of salmon and sea trout as well as a resident stock of small brown trout and is popular with local anglers as well as visiting sport fishers travelling from abroad.

Milton Matthews, director of the North-Western River Basin District with IFI, announced the opening of the bridge, saying: “The Owenea fishery in Donegal is a popular destination for both local and visitor salmon anglers to the area.

“Installation of this new bridge is the culmination of over four years of work in terms of completion of the various safety, engineering and associated environmental reports and planning permission requirements needed.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of various local landowners, contractors, Donegal County Council, local angling clubs and dommunity development groups, who have all contributed to and welcomed the successful delivery of this project.”

IFI has an ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading of angling access along the Owenea River, including the improvement of angling infrastructure such as stiles, footbridges and walkways.

Constructed in the 1970s, the Green Bridge was used extensively over the years by anglers, recreational walkers and local residents.

However, following safety audits conducted by IFI, consultant engineers were commissioned in 2021 to conduct a full examination of the structural integrity and suitability of the structure as a pedestrian footbridge. The report confirmed that the steelwork of the existing bridge was severely corroded and no longer fit for purpose.

Although IFI didn’t own or manage the Green Bridge, the State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish and habitats — and the development and promotion of angling — undertook responsibility for its removal and installation of a replacement galvanised footbridge to ensure safe access to both banks of the Owenea River for the angling community.

Before the old footbridge could be removed however, IFI had to commission several reports and surveys, including Appropriate Assessment Screening, a freshwater pearl mussel survey and Natura Impact Statement (NIS). Planning permission was then sought through Donegal County Council for removal and replacement of the old bridge.

Following a public procurement process, Source Civil Ltd was appointed as the contractor to remove the original Green Bridge and to prefabricate and install a new custom-designed footbridge from W.D. Buchanan & Co Ltd. This necessitated a temporary road closure and traffic diversion whilst the Green Bridge was removed and the new bridge was lifted into place by Quinn Crane Hire.  

Matthews added: “Completion of this new footbridge is a vital element in the overall management and development of the Owenea salmon fishery and a welcome addition for angling access and the local community.”

Published in Angling

Salmon and sea trout anglers who fished during the 2022 season are being reminded to return their logbooks and any unused gill tags at the end of the season.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging such anglers to return their angling logbooks — setting out their fishing and catch record — and any unused gill tags from 2022 if they have finished fishing for this year or once the season has closed.

Under the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers can return these in one of three ways:

  • Using the postage pre-paid business return envelope that was supplied at the time of licence purchase (preferred option).
  • Posting the logbook and unused gill tags to the Inland Fisheries Ireland office address that is displayed on their licence or logbook.
  • Scanning and emailing logbook and licence documents to IFI at [email protected] Important: if you are choosing this option, please scan all sides of documents, including continuation pages, to ensure that the licence names and number can be correctly linked to the logbook.

On average, 70% of anglers in Ireland return their logbooks and these returns provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout stocks into the future.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers in Ireland are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office of IFI within seven days of licence expiry, and no later than Wednesday 19 October.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) harvested, immediately on landing. They must enter details of their catch and/or gill tag used into their logbook.

Questions or queries should be directed to [email protected]d.ie and IFI says it will respond as quickly as possible.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is hosting an online webinar this  Thursday evening 15 September as part of the public consultation process for the Great Western Lakes Management Plan.

Since the public consultation was launched in August, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, IFI has organised six in-person open evenings where members of the public had the opportunity to drop in and meet an IGI representative, discuss the draft plan, seek clarification or ask questions.

In particular, IFI has urged the angling community and anyone who uses the lakes or lives near them to make a submission.

Those with an interest in the draft plan, who weren’t able to attend an open evening, are now being invited to register online to attend the webinar from 7pm to 8.30pm on Thursday 15 September, five days before the public consultation closes at 5pm next Tuesday 20 September.

Those planning to attend this webinar are being advised to familiarise themselves with the contents of the draft plan and the associated FAQ.

Published in Angling

More has been shared about plans to attract Ireland’s community of up to 250,000 recreational sea anglers to take part in a large-scale citizen science project and play an active role in helping to conserve marine fish stocks.
 
Leading geographic information systems company Esri Ireland recently announced that its digital mapping system is being used by Inland Fisheries Ireland (FI) to help safeguard fish populations and protect marine ecosystems, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
 
Esri’s ArcGIS system supports the Irish Marine Recreational Angling Survey (IMREC) which aims to estimate sea anglers’ catches along the 3,000km of Irish coastline.

Whether they are shore anglers, small boat anglers or charter boat anglers, each member can sign up to access Esri’s Survey123 web-based app where they can record their catches and angling successes with a personalised dashboard.
 
IFI is the State agency for protecting, managing and conserving inland fisheries and sea angling resources. To meet its EU data collection requirements around species, locations, and volumes of fish caught annually in European waters, IFI saw a need for a collaborative approach to collate its own data with self-reporting by recreational sea anglers.
 
Turning anglers into citizen scientists, the easy-to-use app enables anglers around Ireland to gather and upload real-time information from any device about the fish they catch and release.

This anonymised information is then automatically transferred to a shared repository, where it can be easily viewed by the anglers and monitored by IFI to identify patterns in the species distribution, volumes and weight of fish caught, and estimated catch rates. In turn, IFI has greater control over and confidence in the accuracy and consistency of the data collected.

The EU is particularly interested in data on cod, pollock, sharks, rays, sea bass and highly migratory species such as tuna, but the solution can be configured to capture data on other species too.
 
Sea anglers of all experience levels can sign up via the IFI website, and can also watch a quick and easy video guide on how to use the app on YouTube.

September is one of the busiest periods for sea angling around the Irish coast, so it’s a great time to start recording your catch, according to William Roche, a senior research officer at IFI.
 
“With more anglers collecting data, we will be able to build up a better picture of the state of fish stocks off Ireland’s coast,” he said. “ArcGIS will enable us to work with anglers as citizen scientists and crowdsource the large volume of data that we require for EU and national reporting.

“The personalised dashboards will help to make the recording of data a habitual activity for anglers, and we hope they will enjoy entering their catch data and take pride in their roles as stewards of the sea.”
 
Schalk Van Lill, customer success manager with Esri Ireland added: “We are delighted to work with Inland Fisheries Ireland on this project and enable the ongoing monitoring and safeguarding of fish populations.

“Citizen science like this provides broad spatial coverage all around the coastline of Ireland, enabling Inland Fisheries Ireland to efficiently comply with requirements. The solution can be easily scaled up to accept data uploads from more and more participants, allowing Inland Fisheries Ireland to expand the scheme over time.”

Published in Angling
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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