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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a recent fish kill incident recorded on the Ballinagh River in Co Cavan.

Environmental and fisheries officers from the North-Western River Basin District were alerted to the incident by a member of the public on the evening of Tuesday 19 July.

Water samples were taken at the location and removed for scientific analysis.

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats estimates that in excess of 150 fish were killed in the incident, including brown trout, stickleback and minnow.

IFI adds that as investigations are ongoing, it is not in a position to comment on the cause of the fish kill at this stage, pending further analysis of samples taken.

Dr Milton Matthews, director of the North-Western River Basin District with IFI acknowledged the ongoing support of the public in reporting suspected cases of water pollution and fish kills.

“We are grateful to the member of the public who reported this incident to us so promptly, which enabled our team to take immediate action and start our investigation without delay,” he said.

“Early notice is very often critical in determining the underlying cause of fish kill events, such as this one on the Ballinagh River.”

Members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s new confidential 24-hour hotline number on 0818 34 74 24 to report any sightings of fish kills or suspected water pollution.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the Loughs Agency has confirmed a fish kill on the River Mourne in Strabane, Co Tyrone where a number of dead adult salmon were discovered in the river’s lower stretch.

“Fishery officers are currently attempting to recover a number of dead fish to allow investigation,” the agency says.

“The cause at this moment is unknown. Officers at this time do not wish to speculate, but high-water temperatures and ambient air temperatures can result in conditions in our rivers that may be unfavourable to fish.

“Anyone recovering a dead fish should contact the Loughs Agency 24-hour response number on +44 287 134 2100.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it carried out 3,000 more patrols in 2021, boosted by its new Mobile Support Unit and Delta seagoing fleet.

Out of a total of 36,379 patrols, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats initiated 103 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences last year and seized 1,261 illegal fishing items, including nearly 14km of illegal nets.

Officers also issued 293 fixed charge penalty notices and gave 715 cautions under fisheries legislation.

IFI’s new Mobile Support Unit (MSU) started patrols in June last year and is made up of specially selected crews who travel across the country in response to incidents. Its role is to support protection and enforcement along rivers, lakes and coastlines where the threat of illegal fishing is deemed high, based on local intelligence and reports from the public.

In its first six months the MSU undertook 127 patrols, seizing over 2km of illegal nets, IFI says.

Meanwhile, the new Delta seagoing fleet undertook 232 patrols along Ireland’s coastlines last year and is credited with an increase in illegal nets being seized at sea — 60 sea nets seized in 2021, compared with 45 sea nets seized in 2020.

To enable the Delta fleet to be deployed for more night-time patrols, nearly 40 fisheries officers have been trained as coxswains.

In line with other years, IFI says the peak months for seizure of illegal nets in 2021 were June, July and August. Crucially, this coincides with peak salmon runs as they enter rivers and start to move upstream during the summer months.

Type of patrols for Inland Fisheries Ireland in 2021Types and number of patrols carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland in 2021

Wild Atlantic salmon continues to be the most ‘poached’ fish in the country and IFI says it is concerned at the persistently high level of illegal fishing activity. 

“We’re in the middle of a biodiversity crisis and Ireland’s freshwater fish are in real danger from illegal fishing activity,” IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell said. “To combat this, Inland Fisheries Ireland has increased the number of enforcement patrols in the last year, boosted by our new Mobile Support Unit and Delta seagoing fleet.

“Our protection programme protects stocks of vulnerable fish species, such as wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, as well as promoting biodiversity and sustainable angling for the benefit of future generations.”

Officers from IFI undertook 36,379 patrols of different types last year, an increase of 10% over the previous year. The agency credits higher patrol figures with the introduction of its specialist Mobile Response Unit, the increased use of its Delta seagoing fleet as well as the relaxation of travel restrictions following the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The most common methods for patrolling river banks, rivers, lakes and coastlines in 2021 were:

  • Vehicle and foot patrols (33,409 patrols)
  • Bicycle patrols (1,564 patrols)
  • Boat patrols (797 patrols)
  • Drone patrols (406 patrols)
  • Kayak patrols (161 patrols)
  • Personal watercraft patrols (33 patrols)
  • Quad patrols (5 patrols)
  • Irish Air Corps patrols (4 patrols)

Meanwhile, members of the public are being encouraged to continue reporting any suspicions of illegal fishing activity directly to IFI by telephoning its new 24-hour confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

A farmer in Co Monaghan has been convicted of allowing silage effluent to enter a local river, following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Thomas McEnaney, from Ardragh in Carrickmacross, pleaded guilty to charges, was fined €400 and ordered to pay an additional €5,273.15 for costs and expenses.

Sitting at Carrickmacross District Court on 23 May, Judge Raymond Finnegan convicted McEnaney of a breach of the Fisheries Acts for allowing silage effluent to enter a watercourse.

Ailish Keane, a senior fisheries environmental officer with IFI, gave evidence that the silage pit was not fit for purpose when it was inspected, as effluent — which is a highly toxic substance — was escaping through a surface water system and into an open watercourse.

According to water samples taken by IFI, the silage effluent from McEnaney’s property subsequently polluted a tributary of the Annalee River, an important watercourse for brown trout angling in the Erne River catchment.

Following the conviction, IFI is appealing to the farming and agricultural community to ensure that silage pits are fit for purpose and are regularly checked whilst in use to prevent accidental runoff to rivers and lakes.

Dr Milton Matthews, director of the North West River Basin District with IFI said: “Good water quality status in our rivers and lakes is vital for the preservation of healthy fish stocks and the aquatic habitat.

“Silage effluent is a highly polluting substance which can have severe and long-term impacts to aquatic ecosystems due to de-oxygenation and nutrient enrichment. Streams, rivers and lakes are particularly prone to any silage effluent discharges which may occur during the summer months when water levels are low which can result in major fish kill events.

“Regular inspection and maintenance of silage pits and slurry storage facilities is essential to ensure that accidental leaks or overflows are prevented.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland are appealing to the farming and agricultural community to ensure that silage pits are fit for purpose and are regularly inspected and maintained to ensure Ireland’s water quality, fisheries and aquatic biodiversity are protected.”

Published in Angling

July and August are typically the busiest months of the year for angling, so Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is issuing a timely reminder about the national regulations that are in place to protect pike and coarse fish.

Angling is a hugely popular leisure activity and sport in Ireland, with IFI-commissioned research revealing that over 325,000 adults enjoy it.

According to an Amárach Research omnibus survey in 2021, 18% of adults who have not tried angling before are “likely” to try it in the future.

IFI is the State agency with responsibility for the promotion of angling, as well as the protection, conservation and management of inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

“Historically, Ireland has been known for its salmon and trout fishing, but the country is also being hailed internationally for its pike and coarse fishing,” IFI’s head of business development Suzanne Campion says.

“However, the national regulations around pike and coarse fishing might not be as well known.

“There are conservation measures in place to protect pike and coarse fish under national byelaws. It is very important that every angler, including first-time anglers and experienced anglers, becomes familiar with these pieces of legislation to avoid any potential fines or prosecutions.”

Pike are one of largest freshwater fish species in Ireland and can reach over 15kg (33lbs) in weight, while coarse fish include species such as roach, bream, rudd, tench and perch.

Important Bye Laws

Under the national Pike Bye Law (no. 809/2006), there’s a ‘bag limit’ of one pike in any one day. This means that an angler can only keep and take away one pike and must carefully return any other pike caught to the same waterbody, safely.

The same bye law also prohibits the killing of any pike that measure longer than 50 centimetres. In these cases, the pike must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody.

Under the Coarse Fish Bye Law (no. 806/2006), there’s a bag limit of four coarse fish in any one day, meaning that if an angler catches more than four course fish, those must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody. In addition, any coarse fish that measure longer than 25 centimetres cannot be killed.

Meanwhile, there are other regulations that apply to all anglers, regardless of what type of species they are fishing for. For example, it is illegal to fish in Ireland with more than two rods; it is illegal to transfer live roach from one waterbody to another and finally, the use of live bait when angling is prohibited.

Breaches of fisheries legislation could result in fixed penalty fines, seizure of fishing equipment or criminal prosecutions.

Catch and Release

‘Catch and release’ is a conservation practice that is supported by IFI, whereby a fish is handled responsibly and put back into the same waterbody, safely.

When fishing for coarse fish, the use of large keep nets is encouraged; it is also recommended that pike and carp sacks are used to weigh the fish, before returning them safely to the same waterbody.

Campion added: “For anyone interested in angling or trying it out, there is an extensive network of very active clubs, associations and federations all over the country that organise coaching, events and competitions. There’s also a dedicated website for angling in Ireland at www.fishinginireland.info with very helpful information about regulations and bye laws, directories and resources.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has appealed to landowners to consult with it before carrying out works on or near watercourses after a Longford man was fined or disturbance of spawning beds.

Colm Ginty from Dunbeggan, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford was convicted and fined €1,000 and ordered to pay a further €1,727.91 towards costs and expenses at Longford District Court on 12 April following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Judge Bernie Owens convicted Ginty under Section 173(1)(d) Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for carrying out works on the Aughnacliffe River on 30 June 2021 that involved the removal of a substantial amount of gravel from the channel of the river and causing the destabilisation of the bank.

These works were carried out in an area of spawning habitat for wild brown trout and disturbed and injured sensitive spawning beds and bank where the spawn or fry of trout may be.

The court heard evidence from senior fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane as to the adverse impacts caused by the actions, which occurred along a 90-metre section of the river.

Keane also outlined the negative long-term impacts that the works would have on the lifecycle of the brown trout for years to come.

She explained that IFI staff frequently consult with farmers who want to carry out works in rivers and outline the way works should be carried out to avoid potential damage to fish life.

The Aughnacliffe River is a tributary of the Erne River Catchment which contains a prime spawning habitat for wild brown trout.

Milton Matthews, director of the North West River Basin District at IFI said: “Unauthorised and unplanned instream works put undue pressure on our native fish stocks through loss or degradation of fisheries habitat and spawning areas.

“It is a landowner's responsibility to get in contact with their agricultural advisor or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works in or along on watercourses. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary and damaging impact to fisheries habitat and may be liable to prosecution.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a serious fish kill incident at the River Rye in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Environmental and fisheries officers from the Eastern River Basin District in Dublin were alerted to the incident on the evening of Wednesday 8 June.

Water and fish samples were taken from the scene and removed for scientific analysis at an independent laboratory.

IFI estimates that there could be in excess of 500 mortalities of brown trout plus other fish species in the impacted area covering approximately 2km of river.

Investigations are ongoing and IFI, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, says it is not in a position to comment on the cause of the fish kill at this stage, pending further analysis of samples taken.

The River Rye (or Ryewater) is an important spawning river for brown trout and a key spawning channel for a highly sensitive population of Atlantic salmon within the River Liffey catchment area.

To report fish kills, members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s confidential 24-hour hotline number on 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

The State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish, habitats and sea angling resources is asking angling enthusiasts who have fished the Currane catchment in Co Kerry for their views.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) new online survey aims to gather anglers’ knowledge via the FLEKSI method, which was developed by IFI to help give a deep insight into the status of fisheries.

Over recent decades populations of sea trout and salmon throughout Ireland are facing serious challenges from various ecological changes.

IFI’s Currane STAMP programme is already assessing fish populations within their freshwater and marine phases, to report current status and provide scientific advice to support the development of appropriate conservation management measures.

The data gathered in the FLEKSI survey has the potential for citizens to get involved and provide important insights to guide fisheries management in the future.

This survey is for all anglers who fish in the Currane catchment for various species. IFI says all responses will help to build an understanding of the history and ecological status of your fishery.

FLEKSI — which stands for Fisher’s Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators — aims to capture anglers’ knowledge and hands-on experience to help track changes in fish stocks and ecosystems.

Dr William Roche, a senior research officer with IFI and manager of the STAMP project said: “Anglers are keen observers of nature and are aware of changes within their fisheries. We are looking for anglers to share their knowledge and contribute to the conservation and management of this important sea‑trout and salmon fishery.

“The Currane fishery is particularly highly regarded by anglers, but there is grave concern about the health of its fish stocks in recent years.

“By capturing these observations, which inevitably span an individual angler’s entire angling career, we believe their unique insight into the fisheries environment will help us to track and understand changes in Currane’s sea trout stocks and the ecosystem as a whole.”

The Currane catchment in Co Kerry is Ireland’s most important sea trout fishery, with a long history of high-quality fishing, particularly for larger sea trout. The fishery is renowned internationally and has been the cornerstone of sea trout and salmon fishing in the southwest of the country since the 1900s. 

IFI says the FLEKSI survey will give anglers on the Currane catchment an exciting opportunity to share their knowledge as citizen scientists and to make a valuable contribution towards fisheries management on the fishery.

If you fish the Currane system, you are invited to fill out the online survey HERE.

Each participant also can opt to enter into a prize draw for angling tackle, with one €200 voucher and one €100 voucher to be won.

Published in Angling

A Cork city man convicted of strokehauling salmon received a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years at a sitting of Cork District Court on Tuesday 17 May.

Shane Heaphy (27) of Templeacre Avenue, Gurranabraher pleaded guilty to committing four fisheries offences on the River Lee on 25 July 2020.

The court heard evidence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) protection officers that Heaphy entered upon a several (private) fishery at the Cork Waterworks weir on 25 July to strokehaul salmon.

Strokehauling is an illegal method of catching fish that involves ripping weighted hooks along the flank of a fish to try and impale it and causes horrific injuries to the fish.

Judge Marian O’Leary, hearing that Heaphy had previous convictions for strokehauling, responded by stating that “strokehauling was cruel” and that the court took a “dim view” of the practice.

Heaphy was also convicted of possession of a fishing rod and line, fishing within 50 yards of the downstream face of the weir and using a strokehaul. He was fined €300 and ordered to pay €350 in expenses.

IFI director of the South West River Basin District, Sean Long welcomed the judges’ comments: “The practice of strokehauling is barbaric and fuelled by a small black-market for illegally caught fish.

“We will not tolerate any kind of illegal fishing and our protection staff carry out covert and overt operations to safeguard our fisheries resource.

“Anglers and members of the general public are urged to report illegal fishing to IFI in confidence through our 24-hour hotline number 0818 347 424.”

IFI reminds the public that angling is prohibited in the Waterworks Powerhouse area under the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Article 4 of the River Lee (Cork Waterworks Weir) By-Law No.453 of 1943.

Published in Angling

The deadline to enter the third online lottery for ‘brown tags’ for wild salmon angling on the Lower River Lee is 5pm on Thursday 9 June.

A further 38 brown tags will be issued on Monday 13 June by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), following the second lottery for 38 tags on 11 April, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Under brown tag regulations, an angler who wishes to ‘harvest’ a wild salmon and keep it must attach a brown tag as well as a standard blue tag to the fish.

To help conserve stocks of wild salmon within the Lower River Lee, No 5 or Cork District, a total of 152 brown tags are available for the season and have been distributed to anglers with a 2022 rod licence through a series of online lotteries since January.

Anglers interested in entering the third draw are being asked to apply online between now and 5pm on Thursday 9 June. Only one entry is permitted per licence holder into the draw. Entries will not be accepted by email in this draw.

Anglers with a 2022 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

In addition, anglers who received a tag in either of the previous draws may enter this draw only if they have used that tag. Anglers must be able to provide evidence of using the tag by supplying a photo of the double tagged salmon and the relevant entry in their angler’s logbook.

Further details and conditions are available from the IFI website, by phoning its Macroom office on (026) 41221 or emailing [email protected]

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) proposes to draft a scheme in accordance with Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003, which aims to ensure better availability and a higher standard of public services through Irish.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats now wishes to invite representations in relation to the preparation of the draft scheme from any interested parties.

Submissions should be addressed to [email protected] Alternatively, they may be posted to: Irish Language Scheme Public Consultation, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, D24 CK66.

Information in relation to the mandate and role/services provided to the public by IFI is available on www.fisheriesireland.ie.

The latest date for receipt of representations is Wednesday 6 July.

IFI asks those making submissions to hindly note that:

  1. Everyone who takes part in an IFI consultation will be notified of the final document emerging from the consultation process.
  2. The names of respondents and their submissions will be published on IFI’s website at the end of each consultation process (ie at the time the document arising from the consultation is published). Any further information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘Personal data ‘as defined under Article 4 of GDPR) will be redacted prior to publication on the IFI website.
  3. IFI is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and therefore has to consider any request made to it under that Act. IFI will provide advice as follows: ‘If you consider that any part of your submission would be subject to any of the statutory exclusions under that Act please so indicate in your submission, specifying under which exemption you believe the content should be excluded.’

All personal data that IFI may use is collected, processed and held in accordance with the provisions of EU Regulation 2016/679 General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

A version of this notice in Irish is available on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling
Page 3 of 37

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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