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Displaying items by tag: River Erne

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

Waterways Ireland advises masters of all craft that the public mooring jetty and slipway at Bellanaleck in Co Fermanagh will be closed from this Monday 30 November until the end of March next year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this closure is to facilitate the construction of a new 16-berth public mooring and slipway at the site on the River Erne south of Enniskillen.

Masters are requested to navigate the inland waterway with care around these works over the coming months, and heed instructions from safety stewards in the vicinity.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland says it is undertaking a “significant programme” of maintenance works on inland waterways in Northern Ireland over the winter period.

On the Lower Bann, which connects Lough Neagh to the sea north of Coleraine, works will focus on maintaining safe access to and navigability of the river channel.

Dredging has already been completed downstream of the Cutts Lock in Coleraine, with more than 1,000 cubic metres of material removed.

A similar dredging programme is taking place this month in Movanagher to remove 200 cubic metres of material, while the mouth of Toome Canal will be dredged in early 2021.

Dredging of river-deposited material ensures the locks gates can operate and the channel remains clear enough for boats to pass, Waterways Ireland says.

Elsewhere, new upstream lock gates will be installed at the Carnroe lock, which last had its gates replaced more than 50 years ago.

Next year, Waterways Ireland will begin work on a two-year project to repair the weir at Carnoe and install a fish pass after planning permission was granted.

Winter is also when the Waterways Ireland team undertakes the removal of fallen trees and trims bank foliage along the navigation. This work will take place from Carnoe to the Cutts and at Toome.

The Toome Canal Walk, which Waterways Ireland says has seen a significant increase in users this year, will also be resurfaced.

Regional manager Joe Gillespie said: “These maintenance works are essential to maintain the heritage assets of the Lower Bann and ensure they are accessible to the widest range of users.”

Bellanaleck in Co Fermanagh on the River Erne (Photo: Waterways Ireland)Bellanaleck in Co Fermanagh on the River Erne | Photo: Waterways Ireland

Meanwhile, this month Waterways Ireland will also commence an extensive works programme to improve Bellanaleck Quay on the River Erne.

The works, planned to be completed in time for the new boating season next March, are being undertaken to improve access and increase year-round mooring capacity near Bellanaleck village in Co Fermanagh.

Waterways Ireland’s design team will work with contractors on a plan to widen the existing slipway and construct a new quay wall with one fixed mooring as well as a 16-berth floating mooring.

“Waterways Ireland continues to invest in increasing access to Lough Erne for recreational and tourism activity,” says director of technical services Joe McMahon.

“Bellanaleck is a key lakeside location with a range of services which visitors enjoy and improved access will increase the duration and spend of visitors in the local area.”

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland is seeking submissions from angling enthusiasts and other interested parties in relation to a proposal to introduce a byelaw to:

  • Introduce a minimum takeable size limit for trout of 30cm (12”).
  • Introduce a bag limit of two trout per angler per day.

The proposed byelaw would apply to all waters of the River Erne upstream of Derryheen Bridge, west of Butler’s Bridge, Co Cavan, including the waters of the Cavan River, Annallee, Dromore, Laragh, Bunnoe and Knappagh tributaries.

Submissions should be marked ‘Public consultation – Annallee-Dromore (River Erne)’ and sent by email to [email protected] or by post to:

The Director,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Station Road,
Ballyshannon,
Co Donegal

All submissions must be received in writing and will be published on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Thursday 2 March.

Published in Angling

#Angling - The National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (NCFFI) will host its annual Senior Canals Championship on the Grand Canal at Daingean, Co Offaly in two weekend's time on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 May, just before the bank holiday.

Sponsored by Waterways Ireland, the championship and the biggest canal angling event of the year, attracting participants from all over the country and the UK who will be welcoming the warming inland waters with eager anticipation of some fantastic catches.

For more information see the NCFFI Facebook page HERE.

In other news, the River Erne in Enniskillen will be the venue for Waterways Ireland's Junior Angling Classic series, running over three successive Saturdays from 26 April.

Organised by the Erne Anglers Club in partnership with Waterways Ireland, NI's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Fermanagh District Council, the series gives ing children aged 11 to 19 the change to test their mettle in competitive angling.

Fishing in Ireland has more details about the initiative HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Pike anglers in Fermanagh have taken to social media to campaign against what they call the 'illegal' commercial netting of pike in Lough Erne - but the story isn't all what it seems.

According to The Impartial Reporter, the pike nets men are licensed by Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) to catch pike during the open season from 1 December to 28 February annually.

A DCAL spokesperson said the commercial fishery is in place "to manage pike stocks and reduce their impact on trout stocks", a practice that is "in keeping with management practices elsewhere, including in high value large trout lakes in the West of Ireland".

It's reported that only five of seven licensed pike nets men took out the necessary permits to net pike on the Erne system in the most recent season.

But this hasn't stopped some anglers from threatening to break the law and tamper with pike nets in what appears to be misguided anger fuelled by online allegations.

The Impartial Reporter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

Irish anglers showed their dominance at the Waterways Ireland World Open Pike Fishing Classic on the River Erne at Enniskillen recently.

Bothers Eddie and Frankie Roofe from Enniskillen came tops in the boat fly event, claiming the top three spots in the standings with their catches.

In the bank event, which featured a record 103 entrants, Lisburn angler Alan Foye took top prize with a 20lb 6oz monster.

But even that catch was overshadowed on day two of the boat event, when local angler Nick Seddon caught a 25lb 15oz whopper - the biggest fish in the history of the contest.

Seddon claimed first place and a £3,000 prize, followed by Darryl Curry in second and Joe third-place McDermott, both of whom caught fish over 24lb.

The team event was taken by Team Shannon, comprising father-and-son duos Joe and Jason McDermott and Barry and Finian Darby, with a total catch of 112lb.

A turnout of 363 competitors from 17 different countries caught between them a total of 227 pike over the weekend, five of which weighed over 20lb.

Published in Angling

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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