Archive for the ‘Marine Conservation’ Category

Ireland’s Sea Fisheries Belong to All its Citizens

Monday, January 18th, 2016

My Grandfather Willie Redmond built clinker design boats in his shed behind Killians Hall a stones throw from the harbour in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, which was a great benefit to yours truly an outdoors loving young lad who gained access to a boat from a very early age. In my tenth year dad taught me to row, initially in and out between the moored boats in the harbour only letting me leave the confines of the pier head when I could show him that I could maneuver the craft to his satisfaction. The litmus test being that I could row between the said moored boats without touching them.

A young Ashley Hayden at the harbour Greystones in 1984 with his first born daughter Emma - Claire.

Around the same time I helped dad construct a long line out of heavy cotton line imported from Hong Kong to which were attached 100 mustad spade end hooks on two foot snoods at 12′ intervals. Dad’s modus operandi became clear in the late summer of 1971 when in early September we shot the line in a zig zag pattern off St David’s school, me rowing with the last of the ebb tide while dad payed out the baited hooks before two hours later as the flood tide commenced roles reversed dad rowed and I hauled, a series of large red spotted plaice flapping over the gunnels. The boy was hooked.

Today 45 years later I would be hard pressed as a young 55 years old grandfather of two wonderful grandsons to repeat the above exercise such is the decline that has occurred in Ireland’s inshore sea fisheries. If this decline had occurred due to natural causes one would not lament so, however the damage is solely man made. In 2007 I wrote a piece, “An Angler’s Tale” about that first day off Greystones in 1971 and considered how we all could work towards improving our sea fisheries so that my Grand Children might experience in some way the marine wonders that I saw, smelled, heard and felt as a young boy and latterly teenager.

Given that my first born grandson Myles is now three and second born Dillan is two months old that day is well nigh upon us and sadly Ireland’s marine fisheries have not improved, in fact things have only gotten worse. In the early 1980′s I considered the idea of artisan sea fishing out of Greystones but buried the notion very quickly as the writing was on the wall even then with regard to sea fisheries decline and I was only going to enter the industry if I could run a stand alone operation with no reliance on state or EU subsidies, what I caught governing whether I would sink or swim.

Would that other people had thought like that because today the Irish Government props up a failing industry due to political ignorance of how to manage effectively Ireland’s marine resource, political cowardice when it comes to the acceptance that the marine stakeholder brief is far wider than just those who choose to sea fish commercially and through State/EU funding continues to fuel an industrial sector that is mining itself into oblivion while stoking the raging bush fire of marine fisheries decline. By supporting the grossly undemocratic present marine fisheries development and management status quo the Irish Government and its servents are  denying my grandsons Myles and Dillan and their peers what is their natural heritage and birthright.

The industry talks about “Grandfather Rights”, well my two Grandsons have great great grandfather rights and it is about time that they were recognised. At this juncture there is little chance that either Myles or Dillan will be able to forge a career in marine sea fisheries either as commercial fisherman, charter skippers or sea angling guides such is the Irish Governments inadequate response towards rectifying the wanton destruction of what is arguably Ireland’s greatest natural resource. Myles, Dillan and their peers deserve better………….

Sea Kayaking off Dalkey

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Enjoyed a fine day out sea kayaking with Des Keaney and the team at Deep Blue Sea Kayaking, along with a group of invited marine scientists and staff members of Pew Charitable Trusts, in Ireland for the Pew Fellows annual conference based in the Grand Hotel, Malahide. Three days of presentations on marine environmental issues, to include an overview of the Irish sea with particular reference to fish stocks and the influence of commercial fishing by Professor Callum Roberts and Ed Fahy. Not for the feint hearted, a damning indictment of sea fisheries mismanagement, the science does not lie, its the politicians that do not listen.

Sea kayaking in Dalkey sound.

I digress, pre trip our group was fueled with a slap up meal of beef bourginon followed by chocolate fudge cake and cream all washed down with mulled wine at Deep Blue Sea’s base in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Onwards to Bulloch Harbour, a safety check, assessment of experience and we were off paddling with the tide towards Dalkey Island. Des’s team of Sue, Sonja, Tom, and Padraig, were first class keeping tabs anonymously always feeling like they were just part of the group.

Group picture on Dalkey Island.

Circumnavigating Dalkey Island we were joined by a family of grey seals who bumped our kayaks, played with the loose toggles, and dived with a whoosh of spray and foam. Taking time out on the island Des gave the group a brief history of St Begnet, the martello tower and fort. Standing for a group photo, it was nice to think that people from Australia, British Columbia, Mexico, France, Mauritius, California, and Chicago would go home with pleasant memories of a wonderful afternoon spent paddling in Dublin Bay.

EU Discards Deal Looks Like A Fudge

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Sir,- Having witnessed over my lifetime (I am 52 years of age) a national resource plundered, the positive headline “EU agrees ban on fish discards” (Breaking News, February 27th), reads like a damp squib based on the detail outlined in the subsequent report.

With many hard pressed whitefish stocks on the brink of economic if not actual collapse, why a phased delivery to begin January 2016?

Also, what are the management plans for zero total allowance catch (TAC) species such as spurdog (rock salmon) and species that are restricted or commercially banned like bass are to Irish commercial fishers?

In principal it looks like these fish could be targeted and landed legally by default.  Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney described yesterday’s agreement as an “historic milestone”, unfortunately it reads like a fudge.

The failed history of EU and Irish sea fisheries management looks set to continue.

Yours etc,

Published in Letters to the Editor, Irish Times, 28th February, 2013.

Fish For the Future

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The EU fisheries policy may seem complicated, but it is actually pretty simple: we must fish less now so we can fish more tomorrow. The infographic below explains the Common Fisheries Policy in five minutes.

Important discussions are taking place in the European Parliament right now and there are divisions between MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) across all national delegations and political groups.

Fish For the Future is a cross-party group of MEP’s who want to end over fishing and rebuild fish stocks. They are fighting against those who prefer the short term benefit of allowing fishermen to catch the last remaining fish over ensuring European fishermen a long term future.

The following graphic explains quite clearly the present state of our marine fin fish resource, and offers real solutions for rehabilitation and future management.

Beginners’ Guide to the Common Fisheries Policy – Fish For the Future
Courtesy of: Fish For the Future


Fish Fight

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The Irish Sea has lost 90% of its cod stock due primarily to commercial overfishing and the wasteful practice of discards. The worst offenders regarding discards are “Dublin Bay Prawn” Nephrops trawlers where the percentage of discarded marine life can top 50%+ of the overall catch.

Trawlers in harbour, Castletownbere, Co. Cork, Ireland.

BIM will say that there is a ban on cod fishing in the Irish Sea, however immature codling, whiting, slip sole, plaice, and a host of other key species are being hoovered up and dumped on a daily basis due to the wasteful practice of discarding, so limiting further necessary recruitment of juvenile stock.

A campaign to lobby against the practice of discards at sea has been set in train by River Cottage main man Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. To register your vote please log on to Fish Fight and further the cause for sustainable fishing and a rejuvenated and bio-diverse marine environment.

Click on: Marine Conservation