15th October

Budget 2015: environmental bodies 'cautiously' welcome marine measures

Cautiously welcoming the marine measures of Budget 2015 (see below), the Environmental Pillar warns that increase in the 'blue economy' must not come at the cost of small fishermen and the environment.

It claims the proposed marine tax review was an opportunity to focus tax support on smaller specialist fishing vessels that could fish sustainably and provide local employment.

Roundstone final

Rural villages such as Roundstone, Co Galway, depend largely on inshore fishing and marine tourism. Photo Gillian Mills

"By targeting tax breaks on small vessels, jobs can also be provided in high quality, high value, fish processing. Artisanal industries that add value to locally caught fish will have an added benefit by boosting Ireland's clean green image, which will also boost our tourism potential, remarked Karin Dubsky.

Read more: Budget 2015: environmental bodies 'cautiously' welcome marine measures

Angling development funding for the Midlands

Angling clubs and organisations in the Midlands are set to benefit from a €50,000 Midland Fisheries Fund (MFF), introduced by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) earlier this year and announced by Joe McHugh, Minister of State with special responsibility for gaeltacht affairs and natural resources.

 

IFI angling-funds

Mary Harkin, Rory's Fishing Tackle Shop, Dublin, with a 6lb trout caught and released on Lough Sheelin

The fund comprises angler contributions set aside from the Permit income received by the IFI in the Midland Fisheries Group permit area. Applications were received from various clubs and organisations in June in the Westmeath, Roscommon, Offaly and Cavan county catchments.

Read more: Angling development funding for the Midlands

Merger of State agencies EPA and RPII

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) merged today (01/08/14). RPII staff transfer to the EPA and RPII functions will now be carried out by a newly established Office of Radiological Protection within the EPA.

Lough-Dan

 Lough Dan, Co Wicklow. Photo Gillian Mills

The merger brings together the staff of the EPA and RPII to create a strong scientific organisation that will continue to  promote environmental and radiological protection.

Read more: Merger of State agencies EPA and RPII

Illegal aquarium releases threaten native wildlife

The recent discovery of decaying remains of an exotic fish specimen in the River Suck at Correen Ford in the Midlands has raised concerns of the threat to native wildlife from aquarium releases by 'otherwise well-meaning individuals'.

IFI Dragonfish

Six inch sharp-toothed dragonfish Photo: Oisin Naughton, IFI

This latest discovery follows that of a yellow-bellied slider turtle on the River Maigue, Co Limerick, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland. The six-inch sharp-toothed dragonfish or Violet/Dragon Goby) is native to North and South America and can be purchased in Ireland for private aquariums. Many non-native, exotic species to Ireland are sold for the aquarium trade.

Read more: Illegal aquarium releases threaten native wildlife

Economic assessment underway of 'Irish environment' produce

National Capital Forum will be establsihed 'to advance a comprehensive economic assessment of the whole range of resources, goods and services produced by the Irish environment,' conference delegates were told.

More than 100 representatives of businesses, investors, State agencies, landowners, environmental NGOs and academics were attending Natural Capital: Ireland's Hidden Wealth. The two-day event at the National Botanic Gardens focused on ways to accurately measure in economic terms, the 'natural capital debt - the unacknowledged cost of environmental degradation and its impact on human wellbeing.'

Pictured with Minister Jimmy Deenihan (centre) are left to right: Brendan Dunford; Micheal O’Briain; Declan Little; Hannah Hamilton; Cara Augustenborg; Paddy Woodworth; Jane Stout; James Aranson; Matthew Jebb and Catherine Farrell.

Pictured with Minister Jimmy Deenihan (centre) are left to right: Brendan Dunford; Micheal O’Briain; Declan Little; Hannah Hamilton; Cara Augustenborg; Paddy Woodworth; Jane Stout; James Aranson; Matthew Jebb and Catherine Farrell. Photo Paddy Rowland.

"Contemporary tax-payers, future generations and the world's poor all pay this debt, whether we realise it or not," remarked Dr Rudolf de Groot, a lead author of The Economics of Ecology and Biodiversity TEEB report. "We may think of nature as priceless, but we must learn to recognise all its value," he added.

Read more: Economic assessment underway of 'Irish environment' produce

Low level public awareness on strategy to protect Ireland's marine environment

Shay Fennelly

Delegates attending a cross-border workshop organised by the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) on implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) heard that Ireland submitted its progress report without consulting the public and that few people were aware of the Directive. 

Inisbofin. MSFD came into force in 2008 aims to achieve 'good environmental status' in the waters around Ireland by 2020. Photo Gillian Mills

Inisbofin. The MSFD which came into force in 2008 aims to achieve 'good environmental status' in the waters around Ireland by 2020. Photo Gillian Mills

The Directive requires the adoption of the ecosystem-based approach as a means of tackling threats and managing human activities while allowing sustainable use of marine goods and services.

In March 2012, the Marine Institute appointed RPS consultants as expert advisor and project partner in a €3m contract to ensure Ireland meets its obligations regarding implemention.

FULL STORY: APRIL/MAY ISSUE

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