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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats has launching a funding call of up to €1 million to support vital conservation projects around the country.

Since 2016, more than €5 million in grants have been awarded to over 250 projects throughout Ireland under funds administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Now eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders are invited to apply for funding to support fisheries conservation projects in their local areas through the 2022 Habitats and Conservation Fund scheme, which was launched this past Tuesday 9 November.

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

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has welcomed the funding call and is encouraging eligible groups and stakeholders to apply.

“The Habitats and Conservation Scheme is a great example of how we can encourage and support the stewardship role of managing our natural resources across the country,” he said. “This important environmental scheme supports angling clubs, fishery owners, and stakeholders — in helping them to improve damaged habitats, water quality and fish passage.

“The works and studies supported by the scheme in the future will also result in wider benefits for the environment. As the funding call is now open, I would encourage any eligible group or stakeholder to contact Inland Fisheries Ireland and express their interest in applying for this grant before the deadline.”

In 2021, a total of €785,604 in funding was approved for 18 projects, based in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Wexford, Westmeath and Wicklow.

Examples included the construction of rock ramp passages, to make it easier for fish to migrate upstream and downstream of impassable weirs and the installation of fencing to improve water quality. This was done by stopping livestock from entering the river and providing them with alternative sources of drinking water.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, said that protecting and conserving fish species like Atlantic salmon and sea trout was critical to the overall health of the country’s eco-system.

“Damaged riverine habitats can lead to poorer water quality, climate change can lead to rising water temperatures and invasive species can mean even more threats to biodiversity,” she said. :These are having a damaging impact on our rivers and lakes and on all species that depend on them for survival.

“Under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme, made possible through fishing licence income, groups can now apply for grants to fund projects and measures that benefit the conservation of freshwater fish and habitats.”

As part of a new two-step process, all applicants must firstly complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ application on IFI’s online grant management portal before 5,30pm on Friday 17 December.

After the expression of interest has been completed, full applications must then be submitted to IFI via the online grant management portal by 5.30pm on Friday 28 January 2022.

An information guide about the Habitats and Conservation Funding Call 2022 is available to download from the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

A new report published by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) shows that more wild salmon are now being ‘caught and released’ than ‘caught and kept’ by anglers in Ireland, to help conserve declining fish populations.

For the first time since records began in 2001, the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Statistics Report 2020 shows that the number of salmon caught and released by anglers (51% of salmon caught) now outstrips the number of salmon that are kept (49% of salmon caught).

In all, 14,138 wild salmon and sea trout licences were issued to recreational anglers in 2020, while 78 public licences were made available to commercial fishermen.

IFI’s newly published report is based on the logbook returns of these licence holders, which shows that recreational anglers caught an estimated 78% of all salmon and sea trout last year, compared with commercial fishermen’s catch of 22%.

‘Catch-and-release angling by itself won’t solve the problem of declining fish populations, such as wild salmon or sea trout’

IFI chair Fintan Gorman praised the conservation efforts of anglers, clubs and federations around the country, saying: “Looking at statistics from the 2020 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Report, it is encouraging to see anglers practicing ‘catch and release’ to a greater extent than ever before. Anglers released 51% of their wild salmon catches in 2020, compared with 47% in 2019 and that’s a very positive development.

“However, catch-and-release angling by itself won’t solve the problem of declining fish populations, such as wild salmon or sea trout. That’s why Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue implementing other important measures too, such as fish barrier mitigation, water quality monitoring, ‘invasive species’ control and enforcement patrols of fisheries.

“We will also keep promoting the sustainable stewardship of our precious salmon fishery through our schools and marketing programmes. These are all crucial factors in protecting and conserving our fish populations and their habitats for the benefit of this generation and future generations to come.”

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme provides the state agency with data to assist with the protection, management and conservation of wild salmon and sea trout.

IFI chief executive Francis O’ Donnell has also welcomed the positive conservation efforts being made by citizens across the country to protect Ireland’s salmon and sea trout resource.

“Atlantic salmon and sea trout are facing a very uncertain future due to habitat degradation, water quality issues, unacceptable levels of poaching, marine migration issues and the effects of climate change,” he said.

“As always, our staff are deeply committed to executing our statutory role to enforce, protect and conserve our native fish stocks and in particular salmon and migratory sea trout. This is very much aligned with our new corporate plan and vision as the statutory agency charged with protecting the inland fisheries Resource.”

According to IFI’s 2020 report, five rivers accounted for over half of all salmon caught by anglers and commercial fishermen last year: the River Moy in Co Mayo, the River Blackwater in Lismore, Co Waterford, the River Laune in Co Kerry, the Corrib in Co Galway and the Lower Lee in Cork.

A total of 27,829 wild salmon were caught collectively by commercial fishermen and recreational anglers in 2020, including salmon which were later released. For sea trout, the total catch recorded last year was 1,394 when figures for commercial fishermen and anglers are combined.

‘Atlantic salmon and sea trout are facing a very uncertain future’

Meanwhile, between now and 1 December, IFI is running a public consultation on the future management of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The State agency is encouraging anyone with an interest in the area to submit their views on how the tagging system can be improved and modernised. It is especially keen to hear from salmon and sea trout anglers, angling clubs, commercial fishermen and those businesses that distribute salmon and sea trout licences, such as fishing tackle shops.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a public consultation on the future management of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats is encouraging anyone with an interest in the area to submit their views on how the tagging system, which started in 2001, can be improved and modernised.

It is especially keen to hear from salmon and sea trout anglers, angling clubs, commercial fishermen and those businesses that distribute salmon and sea trout licences, such as fishing tackle shops.

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme was set up 20 years ago to record the issuing of wild salmon and sea trout licences, gill tags and logbooks to both recreational anglers and commercial fishermen and to process details of fish catches on a database for further analysis.

It was part of a series of measures introduced to help with the management and conservation of Ireland’s wild salmon and sea trout populations, which have been in decline.

Figures from the 2020 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Statistics Report show that 14,138 salmon and sea trout licences were sold to recreational anglers in the state last year, which were a mixture of virtual licences sold online and hard copy licences sold over the counter in shops. In addition, 78 public commercial licences were made available to commercial fishermen in 2020.

IFI is now carrying out a review of the whole tagging system, to see how it can be made more user-friendly in the future and to ensure that it can provide the agency with real-time, accurate data to assist with the protection, management and conservation of wild salmon and sea trout.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, said:“The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme was first introduced two decades ago and since then, we’ve seen a seismic shift towards buying and selling online, with many technological advances along the way that we’d like to harness.

“As we’re undertaking a review of the tagging system, we see this as the perfect opportunity for the public, especially those involved in the angling sector, to have their say on the management of how licences, tags and logbooks are issued and distributed in the future. In other words, how can Inland Fisheries Ireland make the tagging system as user-friendly as possible in the future and a better service for all?”

The public consultation for the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme closes at 5pm on Wednesday 1 December. Submissions can be made via a short online survey.

Alternatively, written submissions can be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Wild Salmon & Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Consultation, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, D24 CK66.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a public consultation on the proposed introduction of a conservation byelaw prohibiting angling for Arctic char.

The glacial relict fish species is native to Ireland and is currently classified in the Irish Red Data Book as “vulnerable”.

This is due to a range of anthropogenic and environmental pressures such as water abstraction, eutrophication, climate change and introduction of non-native fish species.

The proposal currently under consideration is:

to request the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, to introduce a conservation byelaw prohibiting any person from taking, or attempting to take, an Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus), by means of any fishery engine or rod and line from the waters of the State and to prohibit killing, retention or possession of Arctic Char.

All submissions must be marked ‘Public consultation - Proposed prohibition of angling for Arctic Char’ and must be received in writing by 5pm on Tuesday 16 November.

Written submissions can either be emailed to [email protected] or can be posted to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Station Road, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, F94 WV76.

All valid submissions will be published on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website at www.fisheriesireland.ie

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging salmon and sea trout anglers to return their angling logbooks, setting out their fishing and catch record, and any unused gill tags from 2021 licences.

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 IFI office address that is displayed on their licence or logbook.
  • Scanning and emailing logbook and licence documents to [email protected] (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 Inland IFI within seven days of licence expiry and no later than next Tuesday 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. hey must enter details of their catch and/or gill-tag used into their logbook.

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

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland has expressed concern over a shark carcass that was found in the River Erne in Co Cavan earlier this month, as BBC News reports.

The remains of what’s thought to be a small spurdog shark were found at Belturbet on Friday 17 September.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources believes the shark was caught at sea and later dumped in the river.

“The incident is a cause for concern for Inland Fisheries Ireland as the body advocates a ‘catch and release’ approach with shark species,” it said.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed that it is seeking a judicial review into the granting of an aquaculture licence for Atlantic salmon at in Bantry Bay.

As the matter is due before the High Court tomorrow, Tuesday 28 September, and the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats says “it will not be possible…to make any further comments at this stage in the process”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a licence was granted by the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board this summer — following a protracted appeals process over several years — to Mowi Ireland for an 18-pen facility at Shot Head in Co Cork.

Published in Aquaculture

Two men in Dundalk have been convicted of illegally killing pike and have been ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Ernestas Gaska, with an address on Riverside Drive, received a €300 fine following his conviction at Dundalk District Court on Thursday 2 September.

Also in Dundalk District Court on the same date, Arturas Bagvilas, with an address on Bothair Na Carraig, received a €300 fine following his own conviction.

IFI fisheries officers — who had been on routine patrol in the area of Drumcah Lough, some 8km west of Dundalk — outlined the facts of the case before Judge Eirinn McKiernan of how Gaska and Bagvilas had been observed in the act of illegal fishing on the lake, taking and killing pike on Sunday 11 October 2020.

The pair’s boat was seized and as a statutory consequence of their conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the vessel is now automatically forfeited.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in 2020, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019.

It also seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before.

Published in Angling

Waterford inshore fisherman Sean Doherty will share his knowledge of eels with primary school children in Passage East, Waterford to mark World River Day this week.

The students will be given a demonstration on nets and eel tagging at Cheekpoint harbour, where the rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir - the so-called “three sisters” – meet.

They will also participate in a search for eels under stones and will be shown how eels are released back into the water, according to Coastwatch coordinator Karin Dubsky.

World Rivers Day takes place annually on the fourth Sunday of September, but this event is being held on Thursday to allow students to mark the occasion.

World Rivers DayWorld Rivers Day

It is being hosted by Coastwatch and Inland Fisheries Ireland, with the support of the Local Authorities Water Programme.

The focus is on eels, as they are now a “red-listed” species at risk throughout Europe, due to a collapse in numbers, Dubsky said.

“All eel fishing in the Republic of Ireland has been closed for a number of years,” she said.

Pupils will hear how the “diachronous” species spawn in the Sargasso Sea and how they arrive on European shores where they mark several live stages.

“We will look at where eels live, monitoring and what might be done to restore eel habitat and increase survival in Ireland,” she said.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced details of 31 locations prioritised for river habitat enhancement works in the wider Lough Corrib catchment area.

Each of the 31 river channels has been prioritised for enhancement works based on its hydromorphological condition, which considers how far the state of the river had departed from its natural condition.

The prioritisation follows extensive consultation by the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats with stakeholders, including local angling clubs, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Office of Public Works.

In addition to surveys of the river channels, a review of the physical and ecological characteristics of the watercourses in the catchment were carried out, including water quality and fish status analysis.

A high priority was given to channels with moderate and good water quality; as well as those with low fish status.

Speaking about the announcement, Barry O’Connor, director of IFI’s Development Programme, said: “Following significant research and consultation by IFI, this prioritisation list of 31 river channels sets out where the most urgent habitat rehabilitation works are required in the Lough Corrib catchment area, and will allow us to focus our resources on the areas that are in most need of help.

“This is in addition to the annual maintenance of priority salmonid habitats being conducted by IFI staff throughout the catchment, along with stock management, and weed control operations.

“All prioritised works will be included in our medium-to-long-term management plan for the Great Western Lakes, which is currently under development.”

It is proposed that the enhancement works will be completed over a five-year period, with some already underway at a number of top priority habitat sites.

Extensive preparations will take place for the remaining sites, subject to the availability of resources. These include:

  • Landowner consultation and securement of consent.
  • Preparation of a development plan for each site, followed by appropriate assessment to ensure that sensitive species and habitats are not adversely affected by the proposed works.
  • Undertaking of fish surveys before works are undertaken and in the year after the works are carried out. Further monitoring surveys may also be carried out.
  • Application for consent to the relevant authorities, followed by procurement of contractors and materials.
Published in Angling
Page 6 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.

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