Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wexford Harbour Heritage

Mapping the Heritage of Wexford Harbour and Charting the Navigation Channels A Heritage Week talk by Brian Coulter and Niamh Sheridan based on Heritage Council granted project: “Interactive heritage map and chart for Wexford Harbour”.

Venue: Wexford Town Library

Cost: Free

Organiser: Wexford Library


Telephone: 0539196760


Booking Required: Yes

Dates: 26th August 13:00 PM to 14:00 PM

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Once it was just binoculars. Then hidden cameras and infrared video. Today, keeping an even closer eye on nature, computerised mini electronics and spies in the sky track the travels and habits of creatures great and small.

Bulky radio collars are just about tolerated by lions, tigers, wolves and bears. Miniature lightweight transmitters are stuck to the backs of birds, bats and even butterflies. Now deep-ocean animals report on their wanderings by attachments that pop up to the surface, on command, and send radio packages of data to satellites. These trace the course of long journeys, the nursery and feeding grounds, the depths of dives, the temperature and salinity of the water, and levels of light.

Around Ireland such “tags” have been fixed to basking sharks, porbeagles and blue sharks, bluefin tuna, leatherback turtles and sunfish. Some of these tags have tracked transatlantic migrations. But some species can be less accommodating. Leatherback turtles, for example, need to be captured first – often rescued from entanglement in nets or ropes – and fitted with a harness to carry the tag.

But how do you engineer a 50cm fish to report on its travels? This summer has seen more tracking of the movements of sea bass, Ireland’s most prized catch of inshore angling and a fish in dire need of conservation. A collaboration of the Marine Institute andUniversity College Cork mounted a study that began in Cork Harbour and has since widened to the coast of Co Wexford. Implanting the bass with tiny acoustic transmitters, it tracks their signals by receivers mounted on buoys around the southeast and retrieved, once a fortnight, by computer at UCC.

The fish are caught by the region’s many bass enthusiasts – the sort of angler found in winter braced waist deep in tables of windblown surf to cast a lure beyond the third wave. In summer, however, bass move into estuaries to chase shoals of sand eels, which makes catching them a more comfortable challenge.

Fitting the tiny transmitter involves delicate surgery, with a preliminary anaesthetic bath and fresh seawater piped through the gills. An incision in the belly implants the transmitter, the skin is stitched up, and the bass, after recovery in a bucket of oxygenated seawater, then swims strongly to freedom (so I am assured), its progress marked by electronic pings.

This silvery, muscular, but slow-growing fish – a five-kilo female might be 16 years old – was once prolific around the southern coasts of Ireland. Commercial overfishing through the later 20th century concentrated on Wexford Harbour, the estuary of the River Slaney, but was halted by government order in 1990, with a two-fish-a-day bag limit also extended to anglers.

That protection was echoed this spring by an EU ban on commercial fishing of bass around most of Ireland and Britain, and a recreational-angling limit of three bass a day from the top of the North Sea around the south to Dingle, including the Irish Sea.

The Irish conservation laws did indeed produce a local rise in bass numbers, as young females grew to maturity, and a new influx of tourist anglers to Wexford and the southeast. But the good years have not held up since 2007. Among delegates to a conference at Dublin Castle last September was the Wexford angling writer and bass enthusiast Ashley Hayden. After 24 years of conservation, he declared, “estuaries, headlands, beaches and tide races from Carnsore Point to Galway Bay should be alive with midweight bass in the four- to six-pound bracket. Sadly and mysteriously they are not.”

Source – Michael Viney – Irish Times News Review – Saturday August 22nd

Sunday, August 02, 2015

To leave or not to leave

During summer and Autumn months some fish like bass will choose not to leave the estuary when the tide is exiting. Instead, sometimes, they will ‘lie up’ within the remaining water that stays in the estuary when the tide is out. These fish are often lying in deeper pools created where current has created ‘waves’ of sand. They may often lie along edges of bends where water is deeper and drop-offs exist. They are resting and maybe digesting and are very shy. One of the most exciting ways to catch these fish is with surface poppers. Now its often not easy to cast a bass popper with a long…….

A post from 2008 – Bass Fishing Estuaries - you can read more here

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Bass tide approaching

A near perfect set of opportunities to catch bass on opening day or close to it presents itself this year on the south coast – current conditions might be considered difficult but that’s fine, it just adds positivity to the equation. It’s the sudden change around the 15th / 16th to south westerly that’s just perfect but not only that this is combined with an incredible set of NEW MOON tides too. A chance to catch em...the text below is from this post on Probassfisher - from a while back - expect an 'elastic to snap' on the 16th June.

The forecast was for the big blow to arrive quickly on the south coast on Friday late morning or early afternoon corresponding to a rising spring tide approaching the top of its cycle. What this would do and depending on the arrival time of the system would be to generate ideal fishing conditions for bass. Coastal water would be clear and break white in the increasing wind strength; the sudden wave activity generated would provide cover to hunt and also create feeding opportunities that haven’t existed for a number of days. All this was happening over a single rising tide on a spring cycle. It was a perfect short bass fishing storm that was visible from as early as the 10th of October – 12 days previously; this was the stretching of the elastic. It snapped on Friday somewhere around midday of the 22nd.

See latest forecasts here

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Further extensions

Published on Wednesday 20th May 2015

Coveney welcomes proposed ban on fishing for sea bass in waters around Ireland

The new regime will extend Ireland’s ban on seabass fishing to all EU vessels
Minister Simon Coveney TD, today strongly welcomed an EU Commission proposal for a comprehensive prohibition on commercial fishing for seabass in the Irish & Celtic Seas which underpins the conservation actions already taken by Ireland with regard to this vulnerable stock.
The Minister said “Ireland has had stringent measures in place for the protection of seabass, a very important angling species, for a long number of years. However, those measures only applied to Irish vessels. I have been very active over the past six months, lobbying the EU Commission and relevant Member States, on this issue. I am delighted that the EU finally recognises the lead taken by Ireland by extending our ban on commercial fishing to all EU vessels operating in the waters around Ireland.”
Minister Coveney added “The scientific advice for seabass is very worrying and we must all do our utmost to protect this stock. Ireland has been to the forefront in being the only EU Member State to afford maximum protection to this stock and today’s proposal will enhance that protection by making the Irish model obligatory for all EU vessels in the Irish & Celtic Seas.”
Once the measures are approved by the Council of Ministers, all commercial fishing for seabass will be prohibited in the waters around Ireland.

- See more at:

Second amendment of the Fishing Opportunities Regulation fixing for 2015 the fishing opportunities in the North Sea and in the Atlantic

(20/05/2015) The European Commission has today announced a further proposal aimed at halting the decline of sea bass in the Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, Channel and North Sea.
The Commission’s proposal is the third of a series of proposals in relation to this stock this year. This proposal is addressed to the Council of Fisheries Ministers and will enable the ministers to decide about catch limits for particular fishing gears in order to protect sea bass. The Commission's proposal would also allow extending a prohibition, currently applied to Irish fishing vessels, to all Member State vessels in waters adjacent to Ireland.

Sea bass is a high value, iconic species for recreational and commercial fishermen; we need to act to address the declining state of the stock, to protect jobs and livelihoods. If the EU does not act decisively now, the risk for greater and long term losses to this valuable fish stock and to coastal communities will be increasing.

Scientific advice has clearly identified the need to drastically reduce catches of this species, following an increase in the fishing pressure and a reduction in reproduction.
Previously the Commission has implemented a short term ban on pelagic trawling until 30th April, preventing the targeting of this species during spawning aggregations. A previous amendment of the fishing opportunities regulation has already introduced a 3 fish bag limit for recreational fishermen.

This latest proposal envisages a maximum catch per month by gear type, limiting the targeting of the vulnerable stock but allowing for incidental catches.
Ireland in the 1990’s introduced a ban on commercial fishing for its flag vessels. This prohibition is proposed to be extended to other Member States in the Waters adjacent to Ireland outside of the UK 12 nm limit by the latest.
It is now up to the Council of Ministers to decide on the Commission's proposal.