15th October

Research project to boost Irish freshwater aquaculture

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMMF) is backing research at NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology to improve production efficiencies and management of farmed fish at freshwater sites in Ireland. The ‘ECOAQUA’ project, which is administered by BIM through the ‘Knowledge Gateway Scheme’ on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has received almost €350,000.

EcoAqua project

The research programme aims to test and optimise innovative technologies and processes developed through the linked MOREFISH project.

Read more: Research project to boost Irish freshwater aquaculture

Funding package for angling initiatives across Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland has launched its Sponsorship Fund for 2018 to support angling events and initiatives across the country. In 2017, a fund of €30,000 supported 79 events and initiatives across 19 counties with a particular focus on growing Ireland’s angling tourism product and supporting novice anglers. Recreational angling contributed over €800m to Ireland’s economy in 2017, and supported upwards of 11,000 jobs.

IFI fund 2018 carton house

Angling at Carton House 

The sponsorship fund (financial or resource) supports international competitions that showcase Irish angling and contribute to local economies, along with events that increase novice and development participation. It also supports seminar, workshops and training that promote conservation and protection of inland fisheries and sea angling.

Read more: Funding package for angling initiatives across Ireland

Native woodlands protect and enhance water quality but cover just 1% of the Irish landscape

Described as Ireland’s ‘richest and most important natural habitats’, native woodlands are key to wider countryside biodiversity, water protection, landscape and heritage. They also provide the basis for eco-tourism enterprises and represent an ‘invaluable resource for local communities and school children’ to enjoy and to learn about their local heritage and the wider natural world.

Irelands Native woodlands killarney

Killarney National Park Co. Kerry contains the largest area of native woodland in the country. It sustains a wide range of plant and animal species that require extensive areas of native woodland. (Photo DAFM)

These and other sentiments were voiced at the launch of Management Guidelines for Ireland’s Native Woodlands — a joint initiative of the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, written by Dr John Cross and Kevin Collins, who together combine woodland ecology and forestry expertise.

Read more: Native woodlands protect and enhance water quality but cover just 1% of the Irish landscape

Irish world medalists row in behind water safety awareness campaign

Approaching the last bank holiday weekend in 2017, Irish Water Safety reports twenty-seven fewer drownings against this time last year. They warn however that an average five people drown per fortnight - and appeal to the public to be vigilant this weekend, and every weekend.

IWS water safety Oct 2017

Paul and Gary O'Donovan, Ireland's world rowing silver medalists, promote water safety message

Forcasted dry weather on Saturday 'aqua enthusiasts are likely to be enjoying our waters in various ways and in different types of craft, and people tend to  be more at risk as they can become complacent and put themselves and their families in dangerous situations,' they warn.

Water-related tragedies can happen in seconds and with an average 133 drownings every year, John Leench, CEO of Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to take personal responsiblity to ensure no loss of live - and to comply with best practice:

  • always wear a lifejacket when on or near water and ensure that it has a correctly-fitted crotch strap
  • surfers, kite boarders, divers, kayakers and sailors should wear suitably warm and waterproof clothing
  • shore walkers should stay away from the edge, and beach walkers should remain vigilant to the dangers of being stranded and should always carry a mobile phone
  • ensure you are fully trained and competent for your aquatic activity
  • children should be constantly supervised 
  • anglers should be extremely vigilant  of dangersour swells and always wear a lifejacket 
  • alcohol should be avoid before or during any aquatic activity. ( On average, one third of victims have consumed alcohol)
  • sea and freshwater swimmers should take all necessary precautions, never swim alone and be aware that jellyfish are still in Irish coastal waters  
  • In emergency situations, immediately call 112  and ask for the Coast Guard

Government must expedite process to enable public access to justice for environmental cases

The Environmental Pillar coalition of 26 national organisations has welcomed the comments of the new Chief Justice on the practical difficulties and barriers to accessing justice in Ireland.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke’s comments ‘underline the urgent need for Government to speed up its work in adopting genuine access to justice rules for environmental cases which should have been solved through Ireland’s ratification of the Aarhus Convention’, it contends. ‘According to the government’s latest legislative programme “work is underway” to update our legal provisions to fully comply with the Aarhus Convention.’

IEN 2017

The Pillar adds however that five years after Ireland’s ‘belated ratification of the Convention' there is 'abject failure' to adhere to the access to justice provisions in the Convention.

Read more: Government must expedite process to enable public access to justice for environmental cases

Deterioration in ‘pristine’ status of Irish waters

Ireland has failed to meet a planned national target of 13% improvement in water status and has failed to prevent deterioration of water status overall at hundreds of water bodies, despite improvement at some locations. 

Maam River

The Maam river feeds into Lough Corrib, Co Galway 

These finding and more are revealed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Assessment of Water Quality in Ireland covering 2010-2015 — the first six-year assessment on the status of Ireland’s waters, under the Water Framework Directive.

Read more: Deterioration in ‘pristine’ status of Irish waters

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Native woodlands to protect water and aquatic ecosystems
Seashore stress from prolonged heatwave
Majority of Ireland's bathing waters are  of high quality
Plan ‘lacks ambition’ to improve Ireland’s water quality