15th October

An untapped potential laps our shores

Senator David Norris has been a member of the Trinity College Dublin University Panel in Seanad Éireann since 1987 and is a founding member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was Senior Lecturer in the Department of English in Trinity College Dublin from 1968 to 1996.

 He is one of Ireland’s leading Joyce scholars; was the Founding Chairman of the James Joyce Centre; the North Great George’s Street Preservation Society and Friends of the Library (longest serving Chairman) TCD. His main areas of concern are national and international human and civil rights, equality issues for gay and lesbian people and conservation of Dublin architectural history. He studied the piano with the late Lily Huban at the Reade Pianoforte School in Harcourt Street.

Senator David Norris

One of the powerful influences on my life was my aunt who being a midlands woman distrusted and was fearful of the sea. She was my mother’s older sister and my mother and she reared me after the death of my father when I was six. He was an English man, John Norris, lover of the sea, a sailor and a holder of Lloyd’s Medal (The Marine VC) from the First World War.

Like all his forbears before him he felt that strong pull of the ocean tide. The name Norris in fact just means ‘Norseman’ or ‘Viking’ so it is just as well that the genetic balance was rescued by this infusion of Norse-English blood which gave me my own love of the sea.

I sometimes think we in Ireland don’t often realise we are an island, and should indeed in the words of Dominic Behan’s ironic song: Thank God We’re Surrounded be Water. Of course James Joyce in his novel Ulysses and in Finnegan’s Wake gives us a wonderfully musical evocation of the sea and its moods and movement but it is only a lingering glance.

Read more: An untapped potential laps our shores

A new hand at the helm of the marine sector

& Gillian Mills

One of the youngest members of the new government, Simon Coveney displays a genuine interest in his portfolio, and above all for the marine sector, based on personal interest and experience of things maritime.

Whilst only a few short months as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, he brings a sense of urgency that just might see an end to bureaucracy and logjams that have stymied development across many elements of the marine sector.

Minister Simon Coveney

Inshore Ireland spoke to Minister Coveney to tease out his ambitions for a sector that has long since sought Cabinet recognition to achieve its full potential.   

Read more: A new hand at the helm of the marine sector

Guidance to compliance for the Irish inshore fleet

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority’s Guide to Compliance for the Irish Inshore Fleet is a concise guide that summarises the principal requirements applying to Irish fishing vessels under 15 metres operating in Irish inshore waters. The guide is available in both Irish and English language versions from SFPA port offices, which are located in the Main Fishery Harbour Centres. Typically the inshore fleet comprises fishing vessels under 15m, representing approximately 87 per cent of the entire Irish fleet in terms of vessel numbers.The inshore fleet at Dunmore East. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

The inshore fleet at Dunmore East. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

The guide was developed through ongoing cooperation between the SFPA and the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation, the Kilmore Quay Harbour Users Group in conjunction with the Ministerial appointed SFPA Consultative Committee and other industry stakeholders.

Read more: Guidance to compliance for the Irish inshore fleet

Review to bring parity of crawfish minimum landing size underway

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has asked BIM to review current conservation measures for crawfish by July 29 because the current prohibition on landings below 110mm “present difficulties for Irish inshore fishermen as smaller crawfish are preferred by European markets”.

He added that a range of technical conservation measures were in use internationally.

Crawfish

“I want to see if we can find a management strategy for this species which will allow Irish inshore fishermen to compete in international markets, while stabilising the stock and ensuring its long-term sustainability and bringing to an end undesirably by-catch.”

Read more: Review to bring parity of crawfish minimum landing size underway

Ireland’s fishing industry today

Ashley Hayden

A passionate seafood consumer with roots firmly embedded in the marine, I read with interest the interview with BIM’s Michael Keatinge in the February issue of Inshore Ireland. Both sides of my family hail from Greystones in Co. Wicklow. My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Willie Redmond, a master craftsman, built wooden clinker design boats, and along with his sons fished the inshore grounds south of Bray Head side-by-side with my father and his brothers. Using traditional methods they long-lined, trammel netted, and potted what were prolific fishing grounds for a host of whitefish species that included large cod and plaice, mackerel, crab, and lobster.

Read more: Ireland’s fishing industry today

Is the Commission’s stance on fish discarding a kneejerk reaction?

At a specially convened meeting of EU member states, Maria Damanaki,  European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, starkly  told delegates she considered the practice of fish discarding ‘unethical, a waste of natural resources and a waste of fishermen’s effort’.

And she added that if 2004 FAO estimates of 7.3  million tonnes or 8% of the total fish catches being discarded was not striking to some members, ‘European fisheries are doing much worse than the global average,’ where discarding in the whitefish fishery is up to 50 per cent and 70 per cent in the flatfish fishery.

The practice of 'slipping' at sea. The net is never taken from the water - it is simply opened to release the fish, the majority of which are already dead. These fish are not accounted for and the extent of the damage is unknown

The net is never taken from the water - it is simply opened to release the fish, the majority of which are already dead. These fish are not accounted for and the extent of the damage is unknown

‘If we continue with our policy, then we will soon face a situation where the production capacity of marine ecosystems is at risk,’ she warned.

Outlining her basic ideas, Commissioner Damanaki said the approach should be gradual, ‘starting with pelagic fisheries and then to cover a few important demersal mixed fisheries after a short phase in period. The list of species covered could be enlarged year by year,’ she explained.

Read more: Is the Commission’s stance on fish discarding a kneejerk reaction?

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